We Care a Lot Part 21: Back in Black to the Future

April 18th, 2010 Posted by Gavok

Sorry for the long break there. For the past few months I was more busy writing about Eddie Guerrero and Brock Lesnar than Eddie Brock, so I had to let the whole We Care a Lot thing fall to the waysides. Now, then. Where were we? Ah, yes. I was talking about alternate reality versions of Venom for the sake of completion. Now it’s time to look into the future.

I was originally going to call this installment “Brock to the Future”, but I noticed that no matter what alternate future you look at, Eddie’s days are almost always numbered. Even in the futures where he could still be theoretically alive, he’s not only dead, but they don’t feel the need to explain how he bit the dust. Same goes for Mac Gargan, except for when he appears as Scorpion in Spider-Man: Reign.

I’ll go farther out into the future and inch my way back towards the present. That means starting with All-New Savage She-Hulk, a miniseries by rocking writer Fred Van Lente. The new She-Hulk is Lyra, who has come to Earth from an alternate future, hundreds or thousands of years from now. Her mother is Thundra, a warrior leader in the never-ending war between barbarian men and amazon women. Thundra went back to the present, scraped some DNA off the Hulk’s face during a fight, went back to her time and created Lyra. Lyra is the bane of her people for having a father, despite her great strength. That strength, by the way, comes from a zen mentality. If she gets angry, she becomes increasingly weaker.

So what does she have to do with Venom? In her time, the men are mostly split into tribes that worship the long-dead superheroes. Since her reality seems to be based on Osborn never being dethroned, the tribes are mostly copycats of different Dark Avengers. They have the clawed Howlers, the Goblinkin, the Men of Gold, the War Gods and, of course, the Crawlers.

Not only that, but the Venom symbiote still exists in her time. Man, what kind of life expectancy do these creatures have, anyway? The women warriors have their home protected by a moat with the creature now known as “The Black Bloom” residing. The women are treated with a pheromone that renders them invisible to the symbiote, meaning that when the tribes of Crawlers, Goblinkin and so on chase Lyra, they end up getting devoured by the hungry pool of black.

Later on the story, when Lyra is in the present, she fights the Dark Avengers. She’s amused that Venom wears the Black Bloom and easily disposes of him. After all, her pheromones make her into Venom’s kryptonite.

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Venom vs. Sandman: Three Stories of Living Grains and Eating Brains

November 14th, 2007 Posted by Gavok

Spider-Man 3 on DVD came out recently. I think I’ll wait off on it for the eventual Spider-Man 3.1 release. In honor of this movie, let’s look at the two debuting villains: the Sandman and Venom.

Venom made complete sense. I think most everyone with a brain knew how this was going to play out from the beginning. First movie would have to be Spider-Man’s top nemesis the Green Goblin. Second movie would have to be Doctor Octopus, who, while doesn’t have all that much of a personal connection to Spider-Man, is such a persistent villain that the public equates him as one of the other top bad guys. The third movie had to have Venom. Who else?

Yes, there are a ton of unused Spider-Man villains out there, but does Mysterio really have the star power of Venom? Do you really see 14-year-olds getting all giddy because they heard the next Spider-Man movie will have the Vulture? No. He may not be the most popular villain among the comic writers and especially Sam Raimi, but he certainly plays the third corner in the Big Three for Spider-Man’s rogues gallery.

The Sandman is a sensible addition because of his classic nature, trademark street clothes appearance and the potential of how his powers would look on the big screen. That and Thomas Hayden Church looked so perfect for the role it was impossible to say no to.

They are two very different villains. One is one of the originals, the other is a product of the late 80’s. One is a team player, the other is a loner. One is an overly-milked cash cow, the other isn’t known for starring in any major storyline. But they are mainstays in the comics and will remain so for some time. That begs the question, how often do Venom and the Sandman meet up in the comics?

As far as I can tell, there are three stories about the two of them butting heads. I won’t count minor appearances, like Mark Millar’s Marvel Knights Spider-Man run. Sure, Venom and the Sandman were both in it, but they had no real interaction. This also goes for any illusion or dream sequence or what-have-you for Spider-Man seeing an army of villains running towards him.

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Spider-Man Reign Preview/Spider-Thoughts

December 4th, 2006 Posted by david brothers


Ten page preview for Spidey: Reign at Newsrama. It drops this Wednesday, so be sure to get your copy!

The Newsaramites (man, those sound like insects, huh?) break out the DKR card early on, as if that’s a bad thing. Also, apparently any talk about broken bones is Frank Millerish? These kids need to get out more!

These ten pages (we’ve seen a total of… 15 out of 48 now?) look and read well. It puts the “My cupboard is bare” bit from the other preview into perspective, and the idea of nursery rhymes teaching children about pain? That’s a completely new angle to me.

To me, Spidey is the greatest hero out in pop culture. I like that he didn’t become a hero because it was the right thing (Superman) or for revenge (Batman). He became a hero because he screwed up and someone got hurt. However, he stayed a hero because he realized it was the right thing to do.

I like that. I’m not exactly in the “Heroes have to be DARK and depressing and RARRRR” camp, but I do think that when you have a great character it isn’t a bad idea to drop them into the gutter every once and a while. The contrast between how the character should be and how he is can sometimes be a powerful one.

Spider-Man: Return of the Goblin is a great example. Gobbo pushes Spidey to the edge. He taunts him about Gwen, he’s ruined Flash Thompson’s life, and then he even goes so far as to threaten the life of his own grandson, just to screw Peter over. Peter’s response? “I’ll kill you.” Spider-Man is one of the last heroes I could see killing someone (save for very specific circumstances), but in this case, I absolutely believed it. This was the dark Spider, and the dissonance between the wise cracks and “I’ll kill you” is deafening. It reminds you that he’s only human, despite his heroic actions, and humans are not perfect. They can be pushed.

Good stuff, I figure. Reign, judging from the previews, looks to be more than up to the task of making me believe in this Spidey.

But, oh man, Peter’s off-hand remark about his wife makes me think that MJ is sick or in a coma or something! Gavok did a pretty good job during his What-If articles of proving that if Reed Richards loses Sue Storm, he goes crazy and the universe ends.

What if Peter loses Mary Jane? The only thing I can think of is that you’ll end up with a very, very broken and angry Spider-Man. Good thing/bad thing? Time will tell.

Anyway, links to Marvel.com’s Spider-Man: Reign section: Issue One, Issue Two, and Issue Three. Doc Ock, the Sinister Six, Spidey back in black? Count me in.

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