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

April 18th, 2010 by | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

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.

Next stop is the 2099 reality. Venom actually has an awful lot to do with this world. Most of it, naturally, has to do with Miguel O’Hara, otherwise known as Spider-Man 2099. He’s a scientist who worked for a scientific organization called Alchemax under the corrupt Tyler Stone. He tried to quit, so Stone tricked him into taking a drug that only Alchemax produced, making him forced to stay with the company to feed his unfortunate addiction. He tried an experiment on his own biology to fix his jonesing, but there was a sabotage and now he has claws and all that. A dude who worships Thor had come to him with the prophecy that Miguel is one of several who would be popping up and taking the roles of heroes long gone, setting up for the eventual return of Thor. Miguel is nicknamed the “Harbinger of Thor”, which leads to a really fantastic twist that ends the 2099 line years later.

So with all that exposition out of the way, let’s see how he relates to Venom. First step is Spider-Man 2099 Meets Spider-Man by Peter David and Rick Leonardi. The story involves both Spider-Men switching places in time due to some kind of time rift experiment going on during their two points of history. There’s a part where Spider-Man 2099 is racing towards the source of the problem when somebody compliments his outfit and swats him out of the sky.

Ah, regular 90’s Eddie. I missed you. Venom taunts the new guy until being kicked to the streets below.

“Strong silent type, huh? After all this time with Mr. ‘Not-Half-As-Funny-As-He-Thinks,’ you’re a pleasant change of pace.”

They continue to brawl until making it into the complex where the time craziness is coming from. Venom has Spider-Man 2099 pinned down and they continue to slug each other, but then Venom sees something and bolts. Spider-Man 2099 looks over and sees that the time rift has flashed the image of an army of superheroes. That’s pretty much all Venom has to show for the story. The rest includes some fun moments between Spider-Man 2099 and his predecessor, including an appearance by Spider-Man 2211, who would return years later in Peter David’s Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man. Plus Miguel completely owns Jameson by telling him that Spider-Man is revered in his time while Jameson isn’t even a footnote.

Another role of Venom’s comes in the form of Spider-Man 2099 #29-30. Spider-Man’s dealing with this apocalyptic cult of guys who worship Mr. Ed reruns and finds out that they have what appears to be a dormant Super-Adaptoid robot under their ownership. It has files on all kinds of heroes of yesteryear, but looking at regular people doesn’t cause it to function. When it’s introduced to Spider-Man 2099, something begins to stir. It doesn’t recognize the hero, but it tries to make up for it by taking the two he resembles the most – Spider-Man and Venom – mixing their files together and transforming into Flipside.

What’s really funny is how the next cover features the blurb, “This is Not a Clone of,” over the comic’s logo. What we get is a being that has Spider-Man’s acrobatics and jokey behavior mixed with Venom’s bloodthirst, healing factor and poor mental health. That’s right, you guess it: Flipside is practically Deadpool 2099.

He greets Spider-Man 2099 by hugging him a little too hard until being shoved off. He overreacts and starts weeping over this rejection until one of the cultists tries to cheer him up. Flipside reacts by slashing his throat out and screaming that he didn’t ask him and adding that he just ruined a moment they were having. He wants to befriend Spider-Man 2099, but is violently paranoid and jumps at him the first time he suspects he’s being plotted against. Miguel bases it on the tech being decayed from time, but I personally figure that having a robot transform into a Spider-Man/Venom hybrid is bound to lead to tremendous mental problems.

He grabs Spider-Man 2099 by the head and shoves it into the gaping hole in his chest as a way to suffocate him. Seriously, look at that above scene and imagine it’s Deadpool instead. It’s pretty easy, isn’t it?

Spider-Man 2099 tears out a power cable from inside Flipside, strangles him with it and uses it to whip him into the wall and smash him to bits. Spider-Man 2099 leaves and the cult plan to hunt him down in moments. That’s when the leader finds Flipside crouched over a pile of dead bodies, agreeing how much he loves a good chase. Pointing with a blood-drenched finger, he tells him to run.

Taking a break from this futuristic Spider-Man, let’s look at the introductory issues to the hilariously over-the-top Punisher 2099. Surely, it’s more entertaining than Robert Kirkman’s overly whiny Punisher 2099 comic from a couple years ago. Seriously, that was the antithesis of fun.

Momma Punisher: Hey, son. I’m old as dirt and my parents were Frank Castle and Elektra Natchios. I’ve been the Punisher and now you must be the Punisher. Let me train you.

Kid Punisher: BUT I DON’T WANNA!!

Momma Punisher: Seriously, scum needs to be dealt with.

Kid Punisher: BUT I DON’T WANNA!!

Momma Punisher: Great, now I’m dying of cancer. Hope you’re happ—

Kid Punisher: I STILL DON’T WANNA!! So I won’t.


So in the year 2099, Jake Gallows is a police officer when the whole police concept has taken a turn for the corrupt. Money is everything, in that you have to pay for the police’s help and if you can’t afford it, you’re shit out of luck. Not only are the poor powerless against crime, but rich people can commit crimes with little repercussions. There are no jails, so you have to pay a fine or get special brain surgery when convicted.

Jake meets with his mother, brother and sister-in-law at the zoo and they celebrate Thors-Day together. Then this guy shows up.

Kron Stone.
Meet the Kron Stone.
He hates every single family.
From the distant future,
He’s a page right out of history.

Kron is the son of Tyler Stone, the guy who runs Alchemax. He has a real hate-on for families and slaughters the Gallows family for being a bunch of hypocrites who don’t truly love each other. Accompanied by his own little gang, he kneecaps Jake and ices everyone else. Jake begs to be killed, but Kron calms down and says he no longer has a beef with him because Jake is no longer part of a family.

Kron is quickly caught, put on trial and convicted. His conviction means absolutely nothing, since his dad is rich. His complete lack of empathy drives Jake into a violent frenzy and we find that Jake and his friend Matt not only own a shitload of guns, but the bloodstained War Journal that belonged to Frank Castle. On the last written page, you see the penmanship of a dying man as Frank wrote, “You who find this – I charge you to carry on my work.”

Jake becomes Punisher 2099 and starts his war on crime, beginning with Kron Stone. He finds him at a futuristic Chuck E. Cheese type establishment, preparing to kill a bunch of kids to save them from the harsh world. Jake appears and guns down Kron’s friends. Kron escapes the scene thanks to special armor that deflects all rapid objects – such as bullets. Later on, Jake hunts him down with an invisibility device and a kickass new bike. When backed against a wall, Kron explains his way of thinking. His parents only had him because having a kid was fashionable. They didn’t care and his robot nanny mistook him for a dog.

Jake stabs him in the stomach and leaves him in heap. Jake’s family is avenged, but his mission has just begun.

Now, what the hell does this have to do with Venom? Read on.

Various issues of Spider-Man 2099 feature backup stories about Miguel O’Hara going to Tyler Stone’s school, possibly what used to be Xavier’s academy. Kron bullies Miguel on a regular basis and even makes several attempts to outright kill him, building Miguel up from a coward to a kid who stands up for himself. Kron is eventually expelled from the school and we see that Tyler Stone is strangely strict against his spoiled son Kron for going after Miguel, especially when Miguel’s mother becomes vocal. Why? Because as we discover through a discussion between Miguel’s mother and Kron’s mother, Tyler is Miguel’s real father. The plot thickens!

Spider-Man 2099 #35-39 is the main event here. Miguel’s been having a ton of problems. President Doom (two words that go great together) is heavily pressuring Miguel to be part of his cabinet, Miguel’s in the middle of a love triangle with former girlfriend Xina and new girlfriend Dana, and Tyler Stone’s been shot. Miguel is asked to take over at Alchemax, but first he chooses to check up on Tyler.

As a couple barbarian types talk over the idea of rampaging Alchemax now that it lacks leadership, a black ooze crawls out of the sewer and transforms into a humanoid figure. It had overheard the discussion about Tyler Stone’s assassination attempt and demands details. One of the goons tries to hit him with a mace, but the goop covers the mace, engulfs the attacker and burns him alive. All that’s left is a pile of bones as Venom 2099 threatens the dead man’s companion.

What’s really awesome is how the artist Andrew Wildman adds to the tension. Starting from the moment the symbiote crawls to the street, the otherwise white space bordering the pages is constantly splattered with black liquid. Venom 2099 pours out of a sink in the hospital and surprises a plumber before making his way to Tyler’s room. It’s there that he finds Miguel and Dana.

If you make him really bulky, that’s pretty much what I imagine Rick from Splatterhouse would look like with the alien costume. Miguel punches him in the stomach, but his hand burns from the acid touch. He runs off and Dana is smacked aside. Venom 2099 transforms his hands into a mace and a whip and prepares to kill Tyler. Spider-Man 2099 shows up and webs his arms.

“You? We… I… know you… Back when we are another… and you were another… The players have changed… but the game’s the same… Who wins… Who dies… And this time… This time… The winner will be… VENOM!!”

Venom 2099 tackles Spider-Man 2099 through the window and ends up falling to the concrete below. To Spider-Man 2099’s surprise, the black ball of goo splatters, but reforms like the T-1000. Seeing that Spider-Man 2099’s trying to lead him away, Venom 2099 decides to lure him back by jumping back into the hospital and slaughtering some doctors. Spider-Man 2099 comes back and gets his ass handed to him as Venom 2099 jokingly wears a doctor’s coat. Upon throwing the webslinger of the future out the window, Venom 2099 yells, “NEXT!”

By the time he gets to Tyler Stone’s hospital room, he finds that they’ve moved him. A small army of SHIELD soldiers open fire, but the bullets whiz through him. Venom 2099 steals a couple guns and goes to town.

Save that picture and put it in your folder of “things that sum up the 90’s”.

Venom 2099 leaves and Miguel is left to deal with his love triangle stuff while trying to do some Venom research. Venom 2099 finds him and shows himself by holding both Dana and Xina and giving Miguel the choice of leaving only one alive. Miguel surprises him by using his spider powers to cut off the arm holding Dana. He gets Dana to safety and tries to go after Venom 2099 again so he can save Xina. Instead, Venom 2099 finds Dana first and he hijacks a car. Venom 2099 grows bored as the two women bicker back and forth about Miguel until SHIELD guys show up in helicopters and cause an action clusterfuck. The car goes off the road, saved by some of Spider-Man 2099’s webs. Venom 2099 steals the girls and runs off into a nearby club.

Dana argues at Venom 2099 about how little Xina means to Miguel enough that Xina is able to sneak off. More SHIELD soldiers bust in and fire on Venom again. The bullets go through him and – oops – riddle Dana instead.

Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

As Venom 2099 escapes, Spider-Man 2099 holds Dana’s body in his arms for a few minutes, then acknowledges one of the SHIELD boys.

“Where is he? Where’s Venom?”

“I… don’t know. He escaped into the—“

“He’s dead. Wherever he is, he’s dead.”

Miguel puts together some of the best minds in Alchemax to work on a sample of Venom they found in his office. They can’t find any weaknesses worth mentioning until Miguel freaks out and screams at the alien sample and sees it back off. He knows it isn’t the negativity that’s scaring it, so they experiment on loud noise.

The rematch is excessively easy. They track down Venom 2099 and blast him with as much loud noise as they can as Spider-Man 2099 beats him to a pulp. People watch on TV and cheer him on to kill the alien monster and Spider-Man 2099 has nothing stopping him, until he sees the symbiote retract and he realizes that there’s a human host underneath. He still wants to kill him, but is surprised to find out who is really underneath the black slime. Cliffhanger!

Okay, so it’s Kron Stone. He’s kept separate from the symbiote in Alchemax and continues to act like an asshole to Miguel. Miguel makes a deal with him. He’ll let Kron out so they can fight. If Kron wins, he can leave. If Miguel wins, Kron has to spill the beans on what the hell all this Venom 2099 business is about. Kron accepts and gets the holy hell beaten out of him. He says he’ll talk, but Miguel isn’t interested in that just yet. He spends minutes or even hours pounding on him.

Kron says that when he got stabbed by Punisher 2099, he wasn’t totally dead. He was tossed into a sewer and his dying body drifted until coming across a cocoon of sorts. The Venom symbiote had been dormant and mutating for about a century and needed a fitting host to come near it. Even though he was nearly dead, he still fit the bill and became the new Venom. And that’s the end of that. The rest of the issue is fallout for Dana’s death.

Venom’s story isn’t completely over yet. The penultimate arc in the book features Spider-Man 2099 fighting an Atlantian terrorist named Sub-Mariner who bases his style on Namor. Sub-Mariner 2099 is captured and placed in Alchemax for… study, I guess? The wheelchair-bound Tyler Stone returns to retake his company from Miguel and sees Kron imprisoned. He responds to seeing his son by claiming that the moment he gets his company back, he’ll have him killed. He doesn’t, in the end. Miguel tells him to fuck off and reveals that he’s known for quite a while that Tyler is his father.

Sub-Mariner 2099 escapes captivity and goes on a rampage. The crossfire from the guards causes the release of the Venom symbiote, giving us this image.

And that’s the last we ever see of him and this tongue teeth.

Let’s move on to Old Man Logan a story by Mark Millar and Steve McNiven based on the concept of, “What if there was a world without superheroes?” I mean, that’s 70% of what Mark Millar ever writes. Old Man Logan, Red Son, Nemesis, Kick-Ass, Wanted and even Civil War if you look at it the right way. They’re all based on the idea of a world without superheroes.

In this alternate future, it’s because all the villains got together and killed off all the superheroes and every country that isn’t the United States. For some reason they’ve let Hawkeye and Wolverine live, but Wolverine has been a whiny baby who hasn’t popped his claws in 50 years. He ends up going on a journey with Hawkeye to deliver a package and get the money needed to keep the inbred Hulk family from killing his family. As they travel, there’s a random shot of the Venom symbiote oozing around the mountains, watching over them.

As they travel through the territory where the Savage Land dinosaurs have been relocated, the symbiote latches onto a new host.

Black Bolt is sent to take care of it. Wolverine and Hawkeye are completely unaffected by Bolt saying, “stop,” but whatever. That’s the end of Venom. Millar being a big idea man doesn’t really make this sequence too special, considering they just did symbiote dinosaurs a few months earlier in Cable/Deadpool #50 and the idea of Black Bolt talking Venom down has been used before too.

Spider-Man: Reign is another future with Venom in it and he even gets the role as the main villain. I’ll do the short version, since I’ve already covered it here. Several decades into the future, Spider-Man is no more because of the death of Mary Jane. The mayor has New York City blocked off from the rest of the world through the use of some lasers called “the Web”. In actuality, the mayor is a puppet for his assistant Sachs. Sachs is insinuated to be Eddie Brock, completely taken over by the symbiote. This whole situation is the costume’s own little way of getting back at Spider-Man for rejecting it and stranding it on a world it doesn’t understand. The returning Spider-Man ends up killing Venom and his army of symbiotes by detonating the bombs implanted into the bodies of the Sinner Six.

Next up is the trilogy of Earth X, Universe X and Paradise X by Alex Ross and Jim Krueger. The main story has to do with Uatu the Watcher being a total cockhead, Celestials coming to kill everyone and all the dead people existing in a world where everyone’s wearing the wrong color scheme. For Peter Parker, it’s hard existing in what the world has become, where everyone has powers. Mary Jane has been dead for an undetermined amount of time and his relationship with his crime-fighting daughter May is very strained. Part of this has to do with how May has ditched the Spider-Girl moniker and now calls herself Venom. The costume had latched onto her at some point, but she’s bonded with it and appears to have full control.

Peter doesn’t trust the creature and blames every instance of his daughter’s rebellion on it.

What a fucking awesome design. Too bad she doesn’t really do anything. In Earth X, she out-fights Iron Maiden, but gets her mind taken over by the new Red Skull. This evil boy then uses her as his forced moll until Captain America finally snaps his neck and removes everyone from his control.

In Universe X, nothing much happens with May and Peter until their very own issue Universe X: Spidey. This is actually a really good one. By this point, Peter is a police officer, working under Luke Cage. There’s this whole cult thing going on and Peter volunteers to go after Earth X creation Spiders Man. Spiders Man is this creepy, reptilian dude whose flesh is inexplicably almost exactly like Spider-Man’s costume. His power is that he shoots webs that cause you to experience illusions. May has a bad feeling about it and goes to follow her father.

She finds Peter and Spiders Man locked in a trance. She hits Spiders Man, but he remains still, albeit crying.

The symbiote attaches itself to Peter and links May into his mind. What’s great is how all the art within Peter’s mind is done by John Romita Sr. Venom finds a homeless man, who appears to be Spiders Man pre-mutation. He explains that Peter controls the illusion and Spiders Man is powerless. Venom leaves and goes to the Parker household. Up until this point, we’d see the middle-aged Peter with his wife Gwen, along with Harry Osborn and his wife Mary Jane. There’s a scene early on where they watch old footage of the original Spider-Man beating up Venom and Peter jokes about how he wishes Ben was there to see it. Turns out that has a different meaning…

When Peter sees Venom, he lashes out against her, thinking it’s Eddie Brock trying to mess with him and his family. She does everything she can to make him realize that this is all an illusion and who he truly is, but he won’t allow it. This is a world where he saved Captain Stacy, who went on to arrest Norman Osborn and Gwen never died. Anything else is lies. May becomes horrified once she comes to realize that this isn’t just an illusion, but Peter’s dream world. Worse than that, he chose Gwen over Mary Jane! May always expected her father was hiding something like this – which she blames for her mother losing her fight with cancer, so this sets her off.

While chasing Peter around town, Venom is attacked by Spider-Man. Spider-Man quips at her and they fight back and forth. She holds him down with her symbiote tendrils and unmasks him to reveal… a young, blond man. Peter and Gwen run up like side of the building as if it was horizontal and check up on their son Ben. This emotionally destroys May.

The symbiote melts away from her body and she tearfully looks up at her father.

“Oh God. Why did you do this to us? You don’t want me. I’m not what you want.”

She snaps out of the illusion and sees that Spiders Man has mentally escaped from it as well. She completely loses her shit and spends several pages mercilessly beating the hell out of the freak. His attempts at using illusions fall short, since she’s made of two minds and only proceed to make her even angrier. Spiders Man apologizes profusely and Venom won’t hear it. Her hand becomes a spiked ball and she prepares to finish him off. Peter Parker’s hand holds her back.

Peter tearfully apologizes to his daughter and says that he can never make things right. He talks about how he mainly chose Gwen over Mary Jane due to guilt because she died first and that he really wishes he could have given Mary Jane and May the love they deserve. The only reason he was able to escape the illusion is because he realized how much May truly means to him. He thanks Spiders Man for showing him all this and they all leave together.

The two don’t do all that much for the rest of the story, but they do have one defining moment. The Absorbing Man has absorbed New York City itself and is up and walking. Surrounded by heroes, Venom wonders what they can possibly do. Peter tells her that in times like these, they joke around to make people think they know what they’re doing. The worse the joke, the more trouble they’re in.

In Paradise X, the two do even less. A group of heroes from an alternate universe arrive and the Spider-Girl from that group sees Venom with her father and gets the wrong idea. The two Mays fight it out and Peter predicts exactly what’s going on and what’s going to happen: alternate May has the idea that Venom May is out to kill Peter and once their fight is over and they realize who they are, they’re going to act all excited about being sisters and the alternate May is going to be moving in with them.

Of course, Spider-Girl accepts the offer to stay in this world. After that, the Parkers remain background dressing.

So since I’m going in reverse order with these future stories, that means I have to talk about the regular, non-Alex Ross Spider-Girl stuff. Spider-Girl, for the three of you who don’t know, is a series by Tom DeFalco born out of a What If issue where Peter and MJ’s kidnapped daughter from the Clone Saga days is recovered and gets to grow up. Peter had lost his leg in an explosion that killed Norman Osborn for good and once the genetic spider powers kick in, May “Mayday” Parker decides to pick up where her father left off.

The fifth issue begins with a SHIELD maximum security prison, where the Venom symbiote has been sitting in an unbreakable glass prison for the past fifteen years. It keeps punching at the glass to no avail until a guard mockingly shows him a newspaper cover with Spider-Girl on it. The symbiote goes into a frenzy and shatters the glass.

May and Peter get in a huge argument when he finds out she’s still doing the hero thing despite his orders against it. She storms out, leaving Peter and MJ to talk over whether Peter was too hard on her. Peter goes off to find May and maybe spend some quality time with her, but on his walk, he’s taken over by the symbiote. May stumbles upon the discarded prosthetic leg and then sees the new take on an old formula.

Spider-Venom beats down May and proves that it’s Peter underneath by peeling back the mask. Seeing May’s reaction makes him laugh and he decides that he’s not going to kill her so quickly. He’s going to take his time torturing her as a way to punish Peter if he ever escapes again. With that, he takes off and threatens to give Mary Jane a visit.

May goes to Mary Jane to get the Sparknotes version of who Venom is. Against her mother’s wishes, she puts on the tights and goes off to find Phil Urich, the former hero Green Goblin. Why? Because he can laugh really loud. Ohhh… this is going to be sad.

Spider-Girl finds Spider-Venom dangling a man off a building for littering and saves the poor guy. The spider-folk fight it out and Phil breaks out the laugh. This annoys Spider-Venom and he throws a car at him.

The symbiote continues to blame Spider-Man for his problems, earning himself a harsh haymaker to the face. Phil reveals he ducked and rolled a moment earlier and continues to laugh at Spider-Venom. Yes, this actually works. The symbiote goes comatose and Peter is back to normal. Later on, we see that the symbiote is in a puddle at the SHIELD prison, but it slowly begins to stir.

The symbiote doesn’t appear for another 77 issues, though it gets a pretty big role in the last twenty issues of Spider-Girl’s first volume. As a little more background, Normie Osborn is the son of Harry and the first villain May had to deal with. Due to having both his father and grandfather killed by going after Peter Parker, Normie grew up readying himself for the day he’d get revenge on the Parker family. His hatred and repeated failure led him to covering himself with anti-spider tattoos all over his body and many self-inflicted knife scars. Over time, he was able to get over his destiny and realized that he couldn’t bring himself to kill someone like May. The two grew to love each other like siblings. As of this story, he’s fallen in love with Brenda Drago, the superheroine known as Raptor.

At the engagement party for Normie and Brenda, the Goblin Queen – a worshipper of all things Green Goblin who wants Normie to accept his heritage yet again – busts through the window and throws a glass orb at Normie. The orb shatters and the symbiote comes out. It latches onto Normie and Venom is reborn.

Spider guys slapping their ladies. The Spider-Girl really does borrow a lot from the Clone Saga days.

Goblin Queen and Venom escape, since there are too many hero types there for them to stick around. Spider-Girl tracks them down and gets violently beaten until the mysterious Darkdevil comes to rescue her. Venom impales Darkdevil with his fist, but the wound lets out hellfire that burns Venom. The villains escape, leaving Spider-Girl to take Darkdevil to get medical attention.

Later on, May visits Phil Urich, who has both gone back to being the Green Goblin and has his own Warriors superhero team. He goes off to meet up with the Avengers. That’s when Venom arrives, revealing that he knows about May’s friendship with Phil through Normie’s memories and has used it against them. Goblin Queen intercepts Phil-Goblin on his way to the Avengers, leading to a fight that lasts for two issues. As part of her strategy against Venom, May wears a black version of her costume (she wore it briefly issues before, but had to stop after scaring the hell out of her mother) and kills the lights. It’s a short, but definitely cool sequence where Spider-Girl uses the darkness to her advantage.

Venom simply breaks a wall and lets the dawn light in. The fight continues through the city until they end up in a bakery. Venom mentions the secrets Normie’s been keeping from May in order to psyche her out, but at the same time, Normie is able to briefly hold the creature back from within. Venom ends up absorbing Spider-Girl into himself, which ends up being his undoing. Together, Spider-Girl and Normie pool their strength and cause the symbiote to explode out of pure willpower.

Spider-Girl asks Normie to throw the dormant remains of the symbiote into an oven, but he refuses. He and the symbiote have come under an agreement. Now that Normie has proven his dominance, the symbiote will listen to him. If he can defeat the Osborn Curse, he can certainly control the symbiote. Spider-Girl definitely does NOT think this is a good idea, but Normie insists she trust him. For several issues, it seems May is right on this. Although we see the symbiote version of Normie beat up some guys trying to steal Osborn tech, there are scenes here and there that show Normie secretly forcing his employees to work on special projects. Projects that include building a new Goblin Glider. When asked about his sudden tenacity, shots would show him in a dark light and portray his shadow as looking like the symbiote. Later on, he brings Phil Urich to his lab and explains that Phil’s lack of powers and tendency to get his ass handed to him isn’t enough. Revealing his new Goblin gear, Normie insists that there needs to be a new Goblin. A pained scream is heard from outside the doors.

Sometime later, Spider-Girl sees the Green Goblin flying around, but it doesn’t seem to be Phil. She tracks him down and sees him take apart a truck. SWERVE! It really is, Phil. Normie gave Phil new Goblin powers, which caused some intense pain initially, hence the scream. Normie continues to wear the symbiote, leading to a pointless misunderstanding fight with Spider-Girl.

Once that all calms down, Spider-Girl’s uncle Kaine comes by to deliver a foreboding vision he’s had. A Scrier (a criminal organization from the Clone Saga days) will impale Spider-Girl at one point. In other news, Symbiote Normie really doesn’t want to be called “Normie” in public, since it exposes his identity and he doesn’t want to be called “Venom”, since that name represents something he’s trying to move past. He can’t come up with what he should be called, since all the good spider names are taken. Bullshit. I could come up with plenty of good spider hero names. Let’s see…

– Spider-King
– Daddy Long Legs
– Mr. Web
– Dark Spider
– Spider Fang
– Webs McGee

That wasn’t hard. Around this time, Tony Stark takes over the Avengers and has old school superheroes join, like Ant-Man, Hawkeye, Scarlet Witch and his unnamed, black Superman-like bodyguard. Scarlet Witch recently came out of status, which is the writer’s way of making sure she’s still young and hot. Finding out that Normie is harboring the symbiote, they’re sent to take care of it. A misunderstanding between Normie and Stark’s caped bodyguard causes a big fight to ensue. Scarlet Witch screws up a hex and makes the bodyguard go berserk, constantly yelling, “TONY STARK MURDERED ME!” as he beats up nearly everyone. Turns out, Stark created these healing nanites in an attempt to save the status’d Scarlet Witch and needed them tested. Rhodey took them and tested it on himself. It gave him powers, but the nanites multiplied and gradually took over his mind and body.

Stark suits up and tries to help, but the combined forces of all the heroes involved can’t stop Super Rhodey. Stark gives Spider-Girl a device that could stop Rhodey, but at the risk of killing him. Spider-Girl hesitates to use it, causing it to be destroyed as Super Rhodey blasts her. Normie’s had enough. He wraps the symbiote over Stark’s head and reads his mind on ways to stop Super Rhodey.

Despite saving the day, they still need to deal with Normie. He offers to join Kaine’s Thunderbolts knockoff team and work with his fiancé Raptor. Nothing much really happens with this, since the series is being canceled in a couple issues for the sake of restarting it at #1 and they need a big finish for Spider-Girl #100. The big showdown is set up between the good guys and the Scriers, led by the Hobgoblin, who has hospitalized several heroes, including Raptor. Like in Kaine’s vision, one of the Scriers impales Spider-Girl, which ironically is because Kaine went out of his way to prevent it from happening. Meaning the Scriers didn’t give a shit about Spider-Girl until Kaine started beating them up for wanting to kill Spider-Girl.

Normie appears and kills a bunch of them in a fit of rage, scaring the Scriers off. He connects onto her dying body with the symbiote and enters her mind, where all her villains and scorned friends yell at her for being worthless. Normie gives her an inspirational speech about how she helped save his life and he’s trying to do the same. To heal her wounds, Normie is letting her have the symbiote. She wakes up and finds that even though she was wearing her black tights earlier, the symbiote has transformed her look into the classic outfit. Not only that, but it’s cleansed Normie of his scars and hate-laced tattoos as a way of showing gratitude.

Personally, I think they should have had May wearing the Earth X outfit here, but that’s just me.

Due to the emergency and because this is the 100th issue, Peter is back in the Spider-Man tights and is fighting Hobgoblin. Symbiote Spider-Girl comes to the rescue and presses the advantage. Spider-Man obviously objects to the symbiote being involved in this, even if it did bring her back to life. Hobgoblin turns on a sonic device and hurts Spider-Girl. The symbiote leaves her and leaps onto Hobgoblin’s glider before enveloping him.

“W-what’s wrong with this thing? It should be slithering away in terror. Doesn’t it realize the danger? Get it OFF me! Take it AWAY!”

And so, the Venom symbiote dies a hero.

Hey, ever notice the whole “chicken vs. egg” thing they do about Eddie Brock and the costume being evil? Like, whenever they do a story that tries to redeem one of them, it’s always the other that corrupted them. Eddie’s really a good guy? It was that nasty symbiote! The symbiote is really a good guy? It was that jerk Brock! I notice the same thing in Green Lantern comics. Coast City didn’t blow up because of Cyborg Superman and Mongul working together. It was the sole fault of whichever one Hal Jordan’s fighting at the moment.

Spider-Girl beats the Hobgoblin, the Scriers go away, Normie marries Raptor and everything’s great. That isn’t exactly the end of the symbiote. In the following series Amazing Spider-Girl, it’s revealed that Norman Osborn created a May Parker clone out of DNA mixed with a sample of the symbiote. You know what? I’m not even going to go there. I just summed up 20 fucking issues of that comic. I’m done.

But I’m not quite done with alternate versions of Venom. I’ve gone through the Venoms from other worlds and the future Venoms, but I might as well take this time to quickly mention the alternate reality Venoms that aren’t really Venom, but sort of are. Whatever that means.

The latest volume of Squadron Supreme is dedicated to introducing characters who are reimaginings of Marvel characters, much like how most of the previous heroes are reimaginings of DC characters. This includes the patriotic Old Soldier and the billionaire, armored inventor Biogeneral. I’ve ranted about the series a couple times, but the gist of it is that it spends so much time getting to where it wants to be that by the time it becomes good, there’s nobody left reading it and it dies a quick death. Anyway, Emil Burbank – formerly the Lex Luthor of this world – has started wearing a mask and has transformed himself into more of a Doctor Doom. He puts together a handful of superpowered bad guys who don’t even get names, though they are obviously based on certain Marvel villains. One of them is a four-armed, black-skinned monster with wings and eight eyes.

He does nothing of importance and gets decapitated by Hyperion.

Also worth mentioning is Blue Beetle #20. The current Blue Beetle, for those who stay away from DC and haven’t watched the super fantastic Batman: The Brave and the Bold, is kind of like the teen version of Venom but with lasers and without the 90’s stigma attached. Jaime Reyes gets a sentient scarab from space attached to his back and it grows into a costume. Jaime’s peaceful, the scarab is violent and they fight crime. Great comic series for as long as it lasted.

During the Sinestro Corps War, Blue Beetle’s mentor Peacemaker is forced into having his very own scarab. Not only does that warp him, but it gets worse when he’s made the host for a Yellow Lantern ring. He looks just like Blue Beetle, but bulkier and with big, sharp teeth. You can’t tell me that’s a coincidence.

That’s enough of that. Next time, I’ll be back to regular ol’ 616 continuity, switch up the color schemes and go into Eddie Brock’s current goings on.

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5 comments to “We Care a Lot Part 21: Back in Black to the Future”

  1. Webs McGee needs to happen inside a year.
    Incidentally, how many stories are there where anyone treats the symbiote as its own character rather than a super-suit/part of someone else’s powers and it ISN’T eviiiiiiiiiilly coooorrrrupptttttiiing? I’ve always found it sort of funny that something that started out in-story as a relatively harmless adrenaline junkie was able to gradually warp into a thing that can turn a spineless loser into a cannibalistic monster.
    The Reign thing and Spider-Girl’s little speech above just make me think a little less “BWA HA HA HA HA eat your brains!” and a little more “I got picked up by a strange, exotic man and then ditched on the curb in another country” would be nice.

  2. @ Drakyn – Yeah, I have kind of the same impression. I get less of an “I’m evil, ohm nom nom” and more a “I just want to be loved! Everyone I meet hates or uses me! I’M GOING TO TAKE OUT MY ANGER ON THE WORLD NOW, YA BUNCH OF JERKS!”

    I’d be more sympathetic towards it if it wasn’t so violent and cannibalistic.

  3. As a fan of Spider-man 2099, the Venom 2099 and Roman the Sub-mariner storylines were pretty good. Too bad the book ended just after them.

  4. When you said you “just summed up 20…issues of that comic”, did you mean you have you covered “Brand New May” somewhere else on the site?

  5. @Two-Bit Specialist: I meant that I just covered 20 issues of Spider-Girl in general.