Dec 20, 2014

AXIS #8: Explosive Carnage

If you have been paying attention to the current Marvel event, AXIS, then you would know it has been filled with ups and downs of characters and inversions of villains you would have never expected to see turn face. Carnage recently became one of these new "heroes" and his witty comments and actions have lead him down the path of what most of us Venomaniacs love to see as a new form of the Lethal Protector. The vibe that Cletus gives puts us back into the '90s nostalgia that the limited series with Eddie running around in San Francisco made us grow to love. In my opinion, I hope they keep this inversion for Cletus for a while and we could possibly see a Venom and Carnage team up once again, or even better: a Toxin and Carnage team up.
Page from Axis #8

After considering the events in AXIS #8, I have become worried about the future of our friendly neighborhood Carnage-man. In the comic, Carnage sacrifices his life for Peter Parker—who saw this coming?—by smothering a bomb that would have caused much harm and devastation. It looks like it is the end of Cletus after the panel as Spider-Man only makes one or two comments about the incident. On the cover of the upcoming AXIS #9, we see Carnage once again which leads me to believe he somehow survived the blast. With his new, stronger healing powers, it feels as though Carnage would be one hard foe to take out. After surviving being ripped in half and thrown into space and returning, to becoming lobotomized, and even dying, the symbiote keeps re-emerging and bringing Cletus back to life.

One can only hope that this isn't the end for our symbiotic maniac. The death of Cletus would go on to hurt a lot of our fans, but with the switching of characters as of late with Wolverine, Captain America, and Thor, it wouldn't be a surprise to see a dramatic change of character in a symbiote as well.

Check out AXIS #9 next Wednesday to find out the fate of the friendly neighborhood Carnage-man.



Dec 12, 2014

Venomaniac Origins: Alex Thompson

About three years ago, I was bought a box of comics from eBay claiming that over 27 different issues of Venom were in said box. What I knew was that they were complete series which ran throughout the '90s and early millennium, and as I opened the box I found one comic that stuck out to me—and this comic happened to be the beginning of my obsession with Venom and symbiotes. The joy I gained over my college years after receiving this box lead me further into my interests in writing. Without the oozing smile of Venom, I may have never learned how exciting the world of comics could be.

Read the entire Venom: Lethal Protector series digitally on comiXologyThe foil cover made it stick out like a sore thumb and the crisp look of the art gave me a nostalgic vibe from when I had seen the Spider-Man cartoons on television as a kid. Eddie Brock was the man and this book launched what I thought to be a great start to his long adventure in Marvel comics. The Venom: Lethal Protector series gave Eddie his own town to save under the streets of San Francisco. Here they learned to accept him and his extreme ways, but what really set it out was that the reader could finally get some more depth into his ideas of being an anti-hero. As his adventure continued through the series, Eddie would encounter some interesting foes as he fought for the people of the underground world.

Later throughout the '90s, Eddie would learn and pick up different traits as his symbiote would adapt more to battle and create a better bond between parasite and host. Eddie hit his extreme, though, when his symbiote acquired a taste for brains in Venom: The Hunger. The Venom symbiote continues to live on in Guardians of the Galaxy, and currently is in a story arc right now titled Planet of the Symbiotes.

Discover the symbiote homeworld in Guardians of the Galaxy: Planet of the Symbiotes
I had never read anything about Venom before Lethal Protector, and I am happy that I was able to start here and then journey through Funeral Pyre, The Hunger, Nights of Vengeance, and many more. A lot of people consider the '90s to be some bad years for comics, but to someone like me it feels like the golden years of Marvel. Today, Eddie wanders in obscurity as Toxin and there are still no future plans for him that we can see, but we can still wish.

What were some of your first Venom or symbiote comics? Comment and let us know, and don't forget to follow A Dose of Venom every Friday for new content, as well as The Venom Site for all of your symbiote news, reviews, and point-of-views!

Dec 5, 2014

The Amazing Carnage-Man Part 2: Rise of Sin-Eater

Read AXIS: Carnage digitally on comiXology
Looks like it’s that time once again to cover what our friendly neighborhood Carnage-Man has been up to recently in Marvel’s most recent event, AXIS. First I'll cover Carnage’s cameo appearance in AXIS #4. A second-rate Doctor Octopus villain named the Squid and his gang are robbing a bank and holding a family hostage. Carnage bursts in and oddly enough shows restraint in not killing anyone. Sadly, a calamari joke is never made. Spider-Man shows up to the scene and is horrified in thinking about what must be happening inside if Kasady is in there, but what Spidey finds are the villains subdued, the family safe and sound, and a note that reads: “From Your Friendly Neighborhood Carnage!”

This was probably one of the few instances in which Spidey was completely surprised after everything that he'd been through after returning from the dead following Doc Ock's reign as the Superior Spider-Man. In the rest of the main AXIS book, Carnage is mentioned by Spider-Man in issue #5, and he appears with the rest of the inverted villains at the end of issue #6 as Cletus reaches down into his inner hillbilly to deliver the line: “I’m a good’un now, son. Y’all can count on it.”

Follow Nova's comic book series for future cameos of Carnage

Finally, we see Carnage make a brief appearance in Nova #24. Nova had successfully driven off Kluh (don’t ask) and Cletus stops by to congratulate Nova and wants to know if he can be of any help. Sam asks Carnage: “Are you one of those other Spider-Men that’s running around?” I’m surprised Nova hasn’t heard of Carnage before, but the jab that Carnage or any other symbiote aren’t involved in Spider-Verse hurts even more. Cletus leaves just as soon as he arrives and vows to “help” Nova later on back at his run-down apartment while looking over his old kill list. Carnage is set to appear in Nova #26 and #27, so this interaction was meant to serve as setup, but so far from the solicitations we aren't able to figure out if Carnage will be free of his inversion or not.

Follow the events of AXIS at Marvel.com

Now that I’ve covered the minor appearances, let’s take a look at the main attraction, AXIS: Carnage #2. The last issue left off with Carnage “rescuing” a news anchor named Alice (who had her hair dyed on the issue cover from blonde) from the Sin-Eater so that she can help him become a hero. I have to applaud the opening pages as they give a rundown of Cletus’ origin as a young orphan boy and how it also manages to keep it somewhat vague as Cletus has a tendency to “remember things wrong sometimes.” This opening scene reminds me of one particular moment from Venom: Dark Origin where Eddie is deciding whether or not to accept the symbiote and the symbiote shows Eddie visions that meld the symbiote into past memories of his own.

This issue is just as crazy as the first in terms of how Cletus goes about protecting people while also trying to listen to Alice’s advice and avoiding getting her hair wet in the process. There’s even a moment where you can’t help but feel bad for Cletus as he knows he’s killed a lot of people but is honestly trying to make up for it, besides the fact that he’s only acting this way due to a magic spell. If I had to give one minor complaint about this issue, it would have to be Emil Gregg’s cameo. Gregg was the man that believed he was the Sin-Eater and revealed this information to Eddie Brock—which would later play into him becoming Venom—but Gregg was shown to be shot and “seemingly” killed in the mini-series Venom: Sinner Takes All. After his cameo appearance in this issue, it’s a pretty moot point and can easily be brushed off.

Find out what will happen to Alice in AXIS: Carnage #3
Even Carnage knows how to catch falling women, c'mon, Spidey.
What are your thoughts on Carnage's part in the AXIS event? How do you like his treatment in his solo tie-in book? Let us know in the comments section below and make sure to follow A Dose of Venom every Friday for new content, as well as The Venom Site for all of your symbiote news, reviews, and point-of-views.

Symbiotic Holiday Giveaway Winner Announcement

Happy December, fellow Venomaniacs! It's been a fun November this year as you all tested your knowledge of symbiotes for the chance to win a Marvel Legends Infinite Agent Venom action figure and a special gift courtesy of yours truly, Orion "OrionSTARB0Y" Petitclerc. We had a great turnout and plenty of contestants in the end, but only one winner may take home the prizes. So without further ado, I give you the winner of the 2014 Symbiotic Holiday Giveaway: Hughie S. of Massachusetts!


A big congratulations to Hughie, and well played to all of our truly fanatic contestants. So besides the action figure, what was the special gift, you ask? Well take a look below and behold!

An original artist's sketch card made by Orion "OrionSTARB0Y" Petitclerc.

Wondering how you fared in the symbiote trivia questionnaire? Wonder no more, for here are the correct answers to the trivia questions:

Q: In which comic book did the Venom symbiote first appear in publication history?

A: Amazing Spider-Man #252. Spider-Man may have first bonded with the Venom symbiote in the classic Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #8, but Amazing Spider-Man #252—which followed the end of the first Secret Wars event's story—was published a whopping seven months ahead of Secret Wars #8, making it the first published appearance of the Venom symbiote—back then known only as Spider-Man's mysterious black suit!

Q: When the five Life Foundation symbiotes (Riot, Lasher, Agony, Scream, and Phage) were created, they were officially nameless. They were given names by fans associated to action figures from the "Planet of the Symbiotes" toy line released around the same time as their debut, and were officially named in Carnage U.S.A. (except for Scream, who was named in the comics years before). However, fans were divided with Phage's name, as it too closely resembled the symbiotes' only known natural predator, the Xenophage. Which alternative fan-made name was popular for the Phage symbiote?

A: Rampage. Both Phage and Rampage were originally fan-made names for the Phage symbiote. Hybrid and Mania are the names of other symbiotes in Marvel canon (the Phage symbiote is actually one-fourth of the Hybrid amalgam symbiote).

Q: Where was the Venom symbiote first discovered in the 1990s' Spider-Man: The Animated Series?

A: The Moon. In season 1, episode 8 ("The Alien Costume - Part 1"), J. Jonah Jameson's astronaut son, John Jameson, inadvertently brings back the symbiote in a lunar rock from a mission to the Moon.

Q: What was the name of the Venom host in between Mac Gargan and Flash Thompson?

A: Cal Henriksen. (Some of you may have noticed that I misspelled his last name at first as "Hendricks." I corrected this later on.) Cal was Project: Rebirth 2.0's first "Agent Venom," and mentioned by name only once in print back in Amazing Spider-Man #654's back-up story and Agent Venom's first appearance, "Rebirth." He has since remained in obscurity, though it was implied that the symbiote had taken control of him, causing the explosive failsafe secretly injected within the host to trigger and kill him while leaving the symbiote seemingly unharmed. Cullen Bunn, the last writer of the late Venom ongoing series starring Agent Venom, had revealed that he had planned to reintroduce Cal as the new Anti-Venom before the series was cancelled. Of the other names in the answer list, Brad Fury was improvised and Dan Slott is a real-life person—a major Spider-Man comic book writer for Marvel and the co-creator of the Agent Venom character.

Q: What is Carnage's original host's name?

A: Cletus Kasady. Cletus holds the record for the longest time being the only host who has retained his original bond to his symbiote since Carnage's first appearance. Unlike Eddie Brock, Cletus first appeared in comics before he became Carnage as Eddie's cellmate in prison. All of the other characters listed as answers at one point hosted the Carnage symbiote.

Q: Which symbiote did Eddie Brock first meet?

A: Krobaa. In Venom: Seed of Darkness, one of Eddie's earliest news stories as an employee of the Daily Globe (not the Daily Bugle, as the movies and cartoons would have you believe) prior to becoming Venom was of a grim wanderer of the cosmos who came to Earth, possessed a mad scientist, and rampaged through the city: Krobaa, the Living Darkness! (A symbiote for all intents and purposes, though never explicitly named such.)

Q: What chemical found in chocolate and human brains does the symbiote feed on?

A: Phenethylamine. It was revealed in the '90s limited series, Venom: The Hunger, that Venom's classic catchphrase, "I want to eat your brains," was rather literal when the symbiote—starved of phenethylamine after having drained Eddie—went mad and caused Eddie as Venom to rampage as a brain-eating monster. After briefly separating from the symbiote, Eddie learned about the chemical and its importance to the symbiote, and—once reunited as Venom—helped quell its hunger by feeding it chocolate, a humane substitute for brains.

Q: The Mania symbiote has its origins in an earlier Venom-related comic book series. In which series did it first appear?

A: Venom (Volume 1) by Daniel Way. In the second Venom series written by Bunn, Mephisto had revealed in a flashback a scene from Way's series in which Eddie's symbiote and its separated clone—which was the title character of the series that bonded to the protagonist, Patricia "Pat" Robertson—merged once more to become Venom. This implied that the symbiote that detached itself from Agent Venom and bonded with Andi to become Mania was the reabsorbed clone from Way's series. Additionally, Spectacular Spider-Man Volume 2: The Hunger may have been referring to the clone that would eventually become Mania when the Venom symbiote mentioned having another spawn.

Q: What are symbiotes' two main weaknesses?

A: Fire and sonics. Classically, fire and sonics were established as symbiotes' only weaknesses. Over time and in different continuities, all of the mentioned methods in the answer list have been added as well.

Q: Which creative team created Venom?

A: David Michelinie and Todd McFarlane. (No, Stan Lee is not a universal answer for all Marvel characters!) Every comic book creator listed in the answers save Stan Lee and Steve Ditko are major names in symbiote lore, but Michelinie and McFarlane are the definitive and credited creators of Venom. Venom made his comic book debut in May 1988's Amazing Spider-Man #300, written by David Michelinie and drawn by Todd McFarlane (though he made a cameo appearance at the end of issue #299 a month beforehand).

Thank you for participating in our first-ever Symbiotic Holiday Giveaway! Hopefully there is a next time so you can have a chance at winning some sweet symbiote loot if you didn't already. How did you fare in the trivia game? What kind of loot would you like to see in the prize list next year? Would you consider contributing to a donation pool to fund the next Symbiotic Holiday Giveaway? Let us know in the comments section below, and don't forget to follow A Dose of Venom every Friday for new content, as well as The Venom Site for all of your symbiote news, reviews, and point-of-views!

Nov 21, 2014

Is the Marvel WOH What If? Venom Card Unreasonably Priced?

As Marvel War of Heroes starts to dwindle in popularity, the prices of cards continue to increase. The ridiculousness of some of the values of the cards leaves one wondering if, to keep up, they need to sell a organ or dip into life savings. The values of some cards can go all the way up to over $1,000 and the end of the card game is nowhere in sight. A few months ago they introduced a new level of cards called Ultra Legendary, which made the regular market plummet but the ceiling for prices increase.

Also with the addition of Odin Decrees, regular cards can be boosted to new attack/defense levels but leaves the chance of theft high because you cannot trade these boosters and are forced to trade your card to a sometimes unknown seller for them to boost your card for you. The company who created the app for smartphones, Mobage, is usually not known for being very customer-friendly, but is innovative in the ways of business. With prices ever increasing, this makes it very difficult to acquire desired cards. Two new cards in particular, What If? Spider-Man and What If? Venom, are the new releases in the card pack known as What If? These new cards seem to be every symbiote geek's who play the game fantasy, but is the price point on these cards hurting Mobage or embracing the business for them?
Play Marvel War of Heroes on iOS and Android mobile devices
Leg+ What If? Venom
Collect your favorite symbiotes in the mobile digital trading card battle game Marvel War of Heroes
Leg+ What If? Spider-Man
The two new cards vary in price due to their rarity. The new What If? Spider-Man is valued around 1200 Power Packs—the currency used outside of card packs in Marvel WOH—and this roughly translates to around $240. The What If? Venom is so hard to find that I could not even find an official price point for it, but it is well over the 3k mark of Power Packs—or $630 dollars. These cards leave the average player high and dry. Hoping and wishing for an incredible pull in a free ultimate card pack is almost futile as the drop rates are low. These cards seem mythical, but who really decides the price points? No one knows, but the people willing to pay these high prices for a digital card with no physical copy leave us stuck in these high markets.

Let's give an example. Building my dream deck in the game with only 5 characters I like in comics would cost:
SS Venom-Villain boost - 650pp
M Magneto-Villain boost -1200pp
PIC Juggernaut-Villain boost -550pp
AN Dr. Doom-Villain boost - 650pp (roughly guessing)
Uleg Ck Thanos- Villain boost - 3500pp

This deck would cost me a total of 6550pp, or $1375.50. (based off $0.21 per Power Pack)
To those with the wealth to spend this much on a cyber card deck, congratulations; but to the common working class, this seems impossible.

What are your opinions on Marvel WOH? Which symbiote cards do you play with, and which ones are you willing to pay for? Let us know in the comments section below and don't forget to follow A Dose of Venom for new content every Friday. Also, if you're looking to get a free Marvel Legends Agent Venom action figure, check out our Symbiotic Holiday Giveaway and enter for a chance to win before November 30, 2014!

Nov 14, 2014

The Amazing Carnage-Man Part 1

Follow a heroic Carnage in AXIS: Carnage, a 3-part comic book miniseries Ever since the red symbiotic psychopath returned from his extended vacation in space, Carnage has been pretty busy in the comic world with multiple miniseries and appearances. The most recent event we find Cletus Kasady being tangled up in is AXIS. Marvel has gotten a lot of flak from fans with their overuse of huge events like this as of late, but since Carnage is involved, I felt pretty obligated to check it out, so let's discuss what Kasady and his symbiote pal have gotten themselves into now. Carnage makes his first appearance at the end of AXIS #2 with Magneto and his team of baddies (and Deadpool), but Magneto #11 elaborates on just what the heck Cletus is doing playing team-up. Right off the heels of Deadpool vs. Carnage, Magneto finds Carnage sulking about how chaos is nothing but lies, but Magneto convinces him to join his team of villains to defeat Red Skull because what would be more random for Carnage than becoming a hero?

Follow AXIS and its tie-ins on Marvel.com The action picks up in AXIS #3 with Cletus joining villains like Jack O' Lantern, Hobgoblin, and Absorbing Man in an attempt to take down Red Onslaught and two giant, adamantium Sentinels that are programmed to target heroes, giving the team an edge. There's some funny banter between the villains who at a second's notice would be at each other's necks if it weren't for the colossal Nazi clone with the brain of a telepathic mutant trying to take over the world. All seems to be going well until Doctor Doom and Scarlet Witch cast a spell that is intended to bring Xavier's consciousness over Red Skull's with the spell covering all of Genosha. And that is how we get to Carnage's most recent miniseries, AXIS: Carnage. The interior art is done by Germán Peralta and Rain Beredo, and the story is written by Rick Spears who (I remember from an interview) had stated that he does not like writing serial killers, so I thought of him being a writer for a Carnage book of all things an odd choice, but that was before I had known how brilliant and hilarious the book would be.

Read AXIS: Carnage on your mobile iOS and Android devices with comiXology

Sometime after the spell is cast on Genosha, Carnage and Deadpool give a disturbing, out-of-character friendly greeting to each other in Deadpool #36 before Carnage returns to New York for the miniseries' first issue. Without wanting to give away too much of the story's plot, Cletus has been affected by the spell and is now forced to be a hero, but focuses his homicidal urges to serving justice—something very reminiscent of Venom in Venom: Lethal Protector. The premise alone is a funny concept that breathes new life into a character that many people consider a painful relic of the '90s or a one-trick killer pony with no character depth, granted these are some traits that I and a multitude of others like about the character, but I'm not here to judge. The story also introduces an all new Sin-Eater—the villain that indirectly created Venom—who has a much more literal and spooky side to him now. All in all, AXIS: Carnage #1 is a gory, fun, and entertaining read that Carnage fans are sure to enjoy, but even if you aren't a Carnage fan, this issue might win you over to “Carnage-Man.” Be sure to join me next time where I catch you up on all the carnage going on in AXIS and AXIS: Carnage #2!

Discover the secret of the new Sin Eater in AXIS: Carnage #2

What were your thoughts of the inverted Carnage? Would you mind seeing him being a hero for a while longer after AXIS? Let us know in the comments section below, and keep following A Dose of Venom for new doses every Friday!

Nov 7, 2014

Symbiotic Holiday Giveaway *UPDATED*

UPDATE: Participants now need to answer within 70% to 100% accuracy on the questionnaire to qualify for the drawing! See below for details.

Seasons greetings and happy holidays, fellow Venomaniacs! It's that special time of the year again when everyone is gearing up for the coming winter holidays and to celebrate, The Venom Site and A Dose of Venom is hosting a special giveaway in the spirit of giving back to our loyal and most fanatic followers.

Celebrate the season of thankfulness and giving with a special giveaway courtesy of The Venom Site

We're not called "The Venom Site" for nothing, so what will you be competing for? How about one of the hottest symbiotic toys of 2014? That's right, we're talking about the Walgreens-exclusive Marvel Legends Infinite Agent Venom action figure from Hasbro!

Add the Walgreens exclusive Marvel Legends Infinite Agent Venom action figure to your Christmas list

This is the latest installment of Marvel's super-posable symbiote action figures and Agent Venom's second action figure after the highly popular Marvel Select Venom (Flash Thompson) figure from Diamond Select Toys. This action figure scales perfectly against its Marvel Legends brethren from the same Ultimate Green Goblin BAF (Build-a-Figure) series: Carnage and Eddie Brock as Toxin (both called "Spawn of Symbiotes" on their respective packaging, with Toxin as a variant chase to Carnage). Agent Venom was sold exclusively at Walgreens, putting him in high demand among collectors.

Collect all three Marvel Legends Infinite symbiote action figures online at eBay and Amazon
Carnage figure possesses custom painting.
The figure features four weapons including three pistols and a small machine gun, and a detachable four-tendril back piece, which has three weapon-holding hands to add to the base figure's two weapon-holding hands. The posability on this figure surpasses its Marvel Select predecessor despite its smaller stature, which gives it a higher range of flexibility in display.

Petition Diamond Select Toys to reissue the Disney Store exclusive Marvel Select Agent Venom figure
Marvel Select Agent Venom (left, possesses custom painting) vs.
Marvel Legends Infinite Agent Venom (right)
One winner will receive this must-have action figure mint-in-box along with a super secret complimentary gift provided by A Dose of Venom Lead Editor himself, Orion "STARB0Y" Petitclerc (yours truly). So how can you get your hands on these awesome gifts? Well, you'll have to have your knowledge of symbiotes tested, of course!

Below, you'll find a link to a Google Forms survey, where you'll have to complete a trivia questionnaire. The questions will range in difficulty from beginner to advanced, so make sure you're current on your general symbiote history and canon! Fill out the survey completely including your full name (real name only), mailing address (not a PO box; US and Canada residents only), and contact information to enter the giveaway. (All private information will not be shared and will remain confidential. Please provide accurate information, as it is vital for delivering your prizes in the event that you are the winner.) You must complete the entire questionnaire within 70% to 100% accuracy of answers to qualify for the drawing. A qualifying winner will be chosen at random and will be contacted upon the final decision to verify the validity of his/her contact information. All expenses will be paid for by the giveaway host; no entry fees are required to qualify. One entry per person. The winning entrant will be announced here on A Dose of Venom shortly following the end of the giveaway period: November 7, 2014 through November 30, 2014. Please submit your questionnaire answers by the end date to qualify.

Take the trivia questionnaire here!

Happy holidays, and good luck! Don't forget to check back at A Dose of Venom every Friday for new content, and follow The Venom Site for all of your symbiote news, reviews, and point-of-views!

Oct 31, 2014

The Best of Symbiote Action Figures

First off, Happy Halloween! Remember: cosplay does not equal consent! Comic books and toys seem to naturally go hand-in-hand, so for today's dose of Venom, I'll be reviewing the best of all symbiote action figures in symbiote toy history. Now, my criteria of what constitutes the "best" action figure—range of posability, scale to other figures, accessories, and the sculpt's accuracy of likeness—may differ from your own, but by the end of this review I'm sure most of you will agree with more than one of my choices from your own experience. In this review, I'll explore the best action figures based on select symbiote characters, including Venom (Eddie Brock), Agent Venom (Flash Thompson), and Carnage (Cletus Kasady), as well as note a couple honorable mentions.

Let's start with the newest of our three subjects: Agent Venom. So far, there have only been two action figures released for this character, and both hit the ball out of the park in relation to my criteria. The newest of the figures was recently released as a Walgreens exclusive in the Marvel Legends Infinite line of figures from Hasbro, and features one unique accessory that sets it apart from its predecessor: a detachable back piece with four gun-wielding symbiote tendrils (only three can actually wield weapons, though).

Buy Marvel Legends Infinite action figures from Amazon

However, the prize goes to the first Disney Store exclusive Agent Venom action figure from the Marvel Select line, produced by Diamond Select Toys and sculpted by symbiote fan-favorite Jean St. Jean (this won't be the last you hear about him in this review). Though the figure lacks the range of articulation and a minor paint detail as opposed to the Marvel Legends one, I feel the Marvel Select Agent Venom has the most comic book accurate look and a solid sculpt. Aside from those highlights, it's also to-scale with the rest of the Marvel Select line, which is a big plus.

Buy Marvel Select Agent Venom exclusively from Disney Stores

Next up is the classic Venom. Venom has had just about as many action figures as he had comic book miniseries, if not more! One cannot dismiss his immense popularity, after all. Most Venom action figures have their own unique toy gimmicks, but the clear winner of the best Venom action figure is the one with comic-inspired accessories in place of gimmicks. Sculpted once again by Jean St. Jean and produced by Diamond Select Toys, the Marvel Select Venom figure is the all-around best symbiote action figure of all. It's also the first figure with which Diamond Select decided to shake things up and replace the standard of giving all of its Marvel Select figures complementary sculpted base stands with oodles of accessories to customize the base figure with.

Buy Marvel Select figures from Big Bad Toy Store

This figure comes with three different head sculpts—including a Venom head with the classic Tod McFarlane-esqe smile, the open-mouthed Venom head with a removable tongue, and an Eddie Brock transformation head based on a famous Mark Bagley sketch—as well as three interchangeable pairs of hands, and a detachable back piece with an extra pair of articulated arms, miniature Venom heads, and miniature arms you can attach to the base figure's forearms to replicate his nightmarish likeness from Venom: The Madness. These accessories and the figure's perfect comic book likeness makes it the Venom figure to buy.

Finally we come to Carnage. A steady fan-favorite and rising star once again in the comics, the symbiotic serial killer has also had a fair history of action figures much like his less murderous father. His most recent release from the Marvel Legends Infinite line (he's called "Spawn of Symbiotes" on the packaging) takes the cake thus far simply because of the Legends level of articulation and the sculpt's accuracy of likeness to his initial appearances as drawn by Bagley, his artistic co-creator.

Follow a heroic Cletus Kasady in AXIS: Carnage

Few of the figure's predecessors can compare to the Marvel Legends Carnage. Despite its stellar features, its paint job is moderate at best; the red base color is too plasticky and toyetic, and the black slime lines end at the figure's wrists and various protruding tendrils. (I gave my figure a simple custom paint job to extend the black squiggles.) However, this figure's reign of supremacy will be cut short come Spring 2015 when Diamond Select Toys releases its new Marvel Select Carnage figure (they previously released a Marvel Select Ultimate Carnage figure based on the Ultimate Spider-Man comic version). Much like Marvel Select Venom, this figure will be sculpted by Jean St. Jean and will come with various accessories and a Bagley-inspired likeness that puts the Marvel Legends figure to shame.

Preorder Marvel Select Carnage from Dork Side Toys

Read Anti-Venom's origin in Amazing Spider-Man: New Ways to Die
Now, let's not leave out a few honorable mentions. These figures either had few to no competitors or are just my personal favorites. The Marvel Select Anti-Venom is the only proper Anti-Venom action figure on the global market (there was an Australian released figure that was a base Venom figure repainted as Anti-Venom, but it's rare). Again, it was sculpted by Jean St. Jean and features an exact comic book likeness to his first appearance in the pages of Amazing Spider-Man.  Lastly is the Marvel Legends Icons Venom, which is a whopping 12" tall and was my favorite Venom figure prior to the Marvel Select version. This figure was basically a scaled-up, slightly resculpted Amazing Spider-Man Venom figure minus the practically useless jaw action and the Symbiote Blast arm cannon.

Read your favorite Venom comics on your iOS and Android devices with comiXology

So what's the take-away lesson from this review? Trust in Jean St. Jean and the Marvel Select line. You can't go wrong with the quality of Diamond Select's figures (barring the earlier Ultimate Venom and Carnage figures, which I don't own and can't vouch for, sadly), but considering their collectibility and the exorbitance of their after-market values, they might not be the most affordable to attain if you didn't already jump on getting them upon release. If you like Carnage and want the upcoming Marvel Select figure, don't hesitate to preorder this bad boy at sites like Big Bad Toy Store or Dork Side Toys because he'll be gone fast.

Follow A Dose of Venom for new content every Friday and The Venom Site for all of your symbiote news, reviews, and point-of-views!

Oct 25, 2014

AXIS and Carnage

Read the best of Carnage in Spider-Man: Maximum CarnageWhen thinking of Cletus Kasady, the first few things that come to mind are usually chaos, murder, and "Carnage rules!"  The mind of this psychopath oozes with crazy and gives the reader some connection with being what Carnage thinks is complete freedom. The bond between Cletus and Carnage is as thick as blood, but sometimes you wonder how much control Cletus has in the relationship. When he was lobotomized, the symbiote controlled Cletus' body until it bonded with a doctor named Karl Malus and developed a healing power in Superior Carnage that  allowed the suit to somehow fix Cletus' brain.

Over the years, the symbiote has developed numerous adaptations, but being able to heal someone as such gives Carnage a superior edge over most other villains. In more recent works with Wade Wilson himself (Deadpool), Cletus was punished mentally by Deadpool and it caused him to rethink a lot of his ideas. Could this be the precedent for what we are going to see in AXIS? I wonder sometimes, though, what the extent of this healing power is. Can it re-grow limbs or could it even bring someone back such as Charles Xavier?


Follow AXIS on Marvel.comIn the new AXIS event, Carnage is somewhat of a key player. Recently, he was recruited to be a part of an elite team created by Magneto. He will be getting his new limited series in this event and, hopefully, will be played up in this inversion as a new key player for Marvel in the upcoming months. Who wouldn't want to see more Carnage or a conflicted Cletus Kasady?

Also, be on the lookout in this event for an old-time favorite, Anti-Venom. Hopefully this will be a triumphant return for Eddie Brock or could it be a new character taking on the healing powers of Anti-Venom.  If Eddie returns as Anti-Venom, who will take on the role of Toxin?  Many questions are left to be answered and this is only a small part of what is going on with the continuing Spider-Verse series going on and a major year-long event that shall be taking place next year once again titled Secret Wars. Let's hope for a Secret Wars #8 throwback issue and see if Flash Thompson can give up Venom for a few issues or possibly a new symbiote could spawn.

Carnage becomes a hero in AXIS: Carnage, which you can read digitally on your iOS and Android devices with comiXology

November will be the real symbiote madness month with plenty of other upcoming titles in Guardians of the Galaxy's "Planet Venom," though Cletus takes the main stage in November and shows what he can do as a hero against Red Onslaught.






Oct 17, 2014

Video Game Spotlight on Spider-Man: Web of Shadows

Welcome back to A Dose of Venom's Video Game Spotlight segment. Today, we shall explore one of my all-time favorite Spider-Man and symbiote video games, Spider-Man: Web of Shadows (Xbox 360 edition). Developed by Treyarch and Shaba Games and published by Activision in 2008 for almost every platform available back then, this game was perhaps one of the most exciting for symbiote fans because half of the game's campaign revolved around a city-wide symbiote invasion and players could switch between Spidey's classic red-and-blue costume and his powerful black symbiote costume freely.

Use Gamefly to play Spider-Man: Web of Shadows anytime on any gaming system
Now, I loved this game when I first played it, and still love it even to this day. I know it has some mechanical issues (especially with wall crawling and targeting enemies) and people have their gripes with the voice acting, but I felt it was a solid game with a fun story at the time. There is a morality system to the gameplay as well that pretty much started the morality trend later seen in other Spider-Man games (including the recent The Amazing Spider-Man 2 video game adaptation, though that one had a comparatively dumbed down version). The morality system allows players to make one of two decisions during select cutscenes—depicted as "Red Suit" (good) or "Black Suit" (evil) decisions—which would ultimately decide which of the four ending cutscenes the player would experience in the campaign's conclusion. The morality decisions are set up as instances in which either Peter Parker or the symbiote was in control of his actions.

Wait, where did Spidey get the symbiote suit from, though? He gains his alternate suit shortly after the introductory level in which the game throws the player in media res during the symbiote invasion as Parker's narrative (voiced by Mike Vaughn) explains how everything began with a fight against Venom (Eddie Brock, voiced by Keith Szarabajka). During their fight, Venom's symbiote tries to bond with Spidey again, but the process is interrupted and Spidey escapes with a fragment of the symbiote. From then on, players can switch between the red and black suits, each of which possesses unique abilities and stats. The red suit is super agile and fast and executes web-oriented attacks while the black suit is all about power and symbiote-oriented attacks.

Read the origin of Spider-Man's iconic living black costume in Marvel Superheroes Secret Wars #8 available digitally for Android and iOS devices via comiXology

Both of Spider-Man's costumes are beautiful, neo-classic representations of their comic book counterparts, and the symbiote costume has a black base color with an indigo sheen. The ability to switch between costumes at any time really helped to sell the game to me, and I definitely felt the power of the symbiote suit whenever I used it (which was much more often than the red suit).

Venom is pretty cool in this game, as he's most definitely the classic Brock version—he even calls his symbiote "the other." You can't get much more Venom than that! The character design is passable, even if the spider symbols on his chest and back aren't that great and his white hand patches are missing. The little detail of Brock's mouth at the back of Venom's throat as seen in the video below made up for it, though, and was a very interesting take on how Brock integrated with the symbiote.


The first half of the campaign is pretty much inconsequential to Venomaniacs, as Venom only ever shows up once in a while as the mystery behind how Spidey came to possess the symbiote suit thickens. Players battle a host of classic villains, including the Vulture, Rhino, and Electro, as well as work with a team of heroic and villainous characters, including Mary Jane Watson, Luke Cage, Black Cat, Wolverine, Moon Knight (another favorite character of mine, and done very well in this game), Black Widow, the Tinkerer, and the Kingpin. Players are able to summon some of the superheroes and villains during combat for assists, as well. All of it, though, is setup for the third and most exciting act: the symbiote invasion of New York City!

The Venom symbiote takes control of Brock as it learns how to replicate itself on a massive scale, and New York is quickly overrun by its own citizens possessed by symbiotes. Spider-Man and his heroic friends work with Black Widow and S.H.I.E.L.D. to help evacuate uninfected citizens to quarantine zones, but their nightmares become realized when their allies and enemies are taken over as well. Players get to battle symbiotic versions of Black Cat (who receives a special second symbiotic form for those playing with a darker morality), Wolverine, Vulture, and Electro, each of whom have pretty bad-ass character designs. There was even a symbiotic Moon Knight planned, but he didn't make it into the game outside of concept art featured in the end credits. Of course, let's not forget the awesome character designs for all of the symbiote minions—of which there were many variations—and the endgame boss: a giant multi-headed Venom.


(Start the video at 8:50 for the symbiote Wolverine fight.)

Depending on players' morality choices made throughout the game, two of the four endings left the game open for a sequel as Spidey becomes completely overtaken by the symbiote and takes command of the symbiote hordes. There was a sequel planned, as evidenced by the release of some concept art that even included Carnage, but the game never panned out due to a lukewarm reception of the first one and the production of the more successful Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions. Despite its flaws and glitches, though, I personally believe the game possesses a high replayability rate, and I occasionally dust off the disc for another fond go-around.

If you're looking for an open-world Spider-Man video game with plenty of symbiotic action for your buck, you can't go wrong with Web of Shadows. It's a definite must-buy for the avid Venomaniac game collector. What did you think about the game? Who had the coolest symbiote costume? What more would you have liked to see in this game? Let us know in the comments section below, and, as always, check back in at A Dose of Venom every Friday for a new article!

Oct 10, 2014

Symbiote September 2014 Contest Results

September 2014 ended last Tuesday, and with it the second annual Symbiote September art contest and challenge. For 30 long days, participants drew one symbiote character every day in honor of one of Marvel's most popular alien species and its all-star members: Venom, Carnage, Toxin, and many more. Though the turnout was less than spectacular with only three fully-committed participants (including myself)—which were two more from last year's count—and one or two occasional participants, this year's event was by far much better.

This year's event focused primarily on each artist's creativity, and suffice it to say everyone delivered! We only had two contestants in this year's contest, which worked out quite nicely for determining who received which of the two prize packages—a brand new feature to this year's contest. So without further delay, it's time to announce the winners of the two prize packages!

GRAND PRIZE

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Winning Artist: Christian Rafael McDonald, deviantART username blacksuitchris

Christian has been a comic book fan for a long time. Born with Asperger's Syndrome, Christian immediately had a vivid imagination. His first comic was Venom: Lethal Protector #5 and it started his love for comics, art, writing, and symbiotes especially. This lead into Christian's dream to become a comic book writer and artist with established writers and artists such as Cullen Bunn, Dan Slott, Mark Bagley, and Declan Shavely as inspirations, and he hopes to work on Spider-Man and Venom comics. Christian tried his best to perfect his skills by both constantly drawing and writing fan fiction to perfect his craft, but it's his friends and family that are key to his dream to join the comic book industry. Recently, Christian joined the YouTube channel DYKComics as its writer/researcher, and through this he now has better connections to artists who, too, are fans of comic books.

Prize: The complete 3-part AXIS: Carnage series debuting in October and the complete 6-part Venom: Lethal Protector series on comiXology.

HONORABLE MENTION

New York Comic Con 2014 Marvel and Sony Spider-Man merger rumorsWinning Artist: Rich W.S., deviantART username AraghenXD

A known symbiote geek, Araghen can’t get enough when it comes to drawing them and giving some lesser known symbiote hosts new life through art and fan fiction. It’s only irony, though, considering it’s coming from a guy who once admitted that Venom scared him as a child.

Prize: The complete 3-part AXIS: Carnage series debuting in October on comiXology.


Congratulations to our two winners! Don't forget to check out the entire #SymbioteSeptember2014 gallery on deviantART and give the other participants some love. If you missed out on the fun, don't worry! Symbiote September will return next year, and it will be bigger, badder, and even gooeyer than before. Upwards and onwards!

Check back every Friday here on A Dose of Venom for new Venom-licious articles and follow The Venom Site for all of your symbiote news, reviews, and point-of-views!

Oct 3, 2014

Video Game Spotlight on Disney Infinity: Marvel Superheroes

Purchase every Disney Infinity collectible figurine online at Amazon Welcome to another Video Game Spotlight on A Dose of Venom! Today we shall be exploring everything symbiotic in Disney Infinity.

Last year, Disney released their answer to Activision's Skylanders, which took advantage of collectible figures that connect and play with a video game. Disney Infinity would be the name of Disney's latest cash cow published by Disney Interactive Studios and developed by Avalanche Software. It revolves around the sandbox game mode called the "Toy Box" where players can use hundreds of items to create their own world and make their own games.

The game comes with a base that connects to your video game console and has two circular and one hexagonal pad. You place your purchased figures on the circular pads, which makes them "magically" appear on the screen with the option to place other items called "power discs" underneath the figure that grant your character additional weapons or power boosts. You place "play set pieces" and other hexagonal shaped power discs onto the hexagonal pad, which can spawn vehicles and animals or change the ground and sky of your Toy Box. The play sets allow select characters to play a story mode that takes place in a giant hub world where you can complete missions and unlock more toys for your Toy Box. Disney Infinity became vastly successful and with Disney's purchase of Marvel back in 2009, it was only a matter of time until Marvel characters came to the game.

Read Ultimate Spider-Man digitally on your Android and iOS devices with comiXology

Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes, or Disney Infinity 2.0, released last week and adds a ton of new content while still allowing you to use all of your 1.0 characters and power discs. Marvel figures from The Avengers movie, the Ultimate Spider-Man TV series, and The Guardians of the Galaxy movie were released that also came with a new skill tree mechanic where as you level you earn points to increase your character's abilities. New power discs centered on these franchises—some change a character's costume and others allow you to team up with characters like the Winter Soldier and the movie version of Ant-Man. Also unveiled were three new play set pieces for each of the three represented Marvel franchises. Additionally, a new game mode called "INteriors" allows players to create their own house by adding rooms, changing the rooms' themes, and decorating with a various items from both Disney and Marvel.

View more concept art at Disney Infinity's website

Right from the first glance, you can tell that the Venom figure is not modeled after his Ultimate Spider-Man TV incarnation, which is odd seeing how he's the only Spider-Man figure that does this. In-game, he has a "Venom sense," a super jump, super strength, web shooting, web swinging, wall climbing, and a super move which all together make him a very versatile character. Matt Lanter, who voices Venom, Harry Osborn, and Flash Thompson in the TV show, provides Venom's vocals, but it's like nothing we have heard Lanter do in the show. This Venom is fully in sync with his symbiote, and Lanter does an excellent job at conveying a dark and cunning symbiote despite one or two corny lines. As for the host of Venom, the detail never directly mentioned, but with all of these changes from the show's interpretation and Venom occasionally stating, "I'll save Peter Parker's downfall for another day!" I am lead to believe this Venom is or takes inspiration from the Eddie Brock version—but again, it's anyone's guess as to who it really is.

Follow A Dose of Venom for Venom: Carnage movie news and rumors

The Ultimate Spider-Man playset also has its fair share of symbiotes and unlockable toys. The story starts off as Green Goblin and Mysterio clone the Venom symbiote and spread the clones throughout New York in an attempt to destroy S.H.I.E.L.D. The symbiote enemies come in a few different forms such as a swarm that can attach itself to NPCs to become full symbiotes and the large symbiotes that can spawn more symbiote swarms. Throughout the story, you'll be tasked with often boring and repetitive missions of defeating enemies and protecting scientists, but there are the occasional fun missions like traveling in the sewers and using a sonic weapon to take care of symbiotic growth and enemies. Unlockable toys and INterior decorations include a Venom portrait, a Venom rug with the classic symbol, a container that holds a symbiote, a huge chair shaped like Venom's head, and a tiny character called a "costume" dressed up as Venom. The best symbiote-related item in my opionin would be the "Alien Symbiote" power disc that allows Spider-Man to become the classic Symbiote Spider-Man.

Follow the symbiote community discussion with The Venom Site

Overall, Disney Infinity may not be for most because it does require a hefty amount of spending if you want to get the full experience and the play sets do not put up much of a challenge for experienced gamers, but it can be rather enjoyable in the Toy Box and for designing an INterior. For any symbiote fan, the Venom figure is a must-have in my opinion for around $13, and you can even download Disney Infinity 2.0 for FREE on their official site if you just want to use the web code the figure comes with and play around with the Toy Box. There's infinite possibilities (sorry).

Have you played the game and received the full symbiote experience? What do you think about the Venom figure design? Let us know in the comments section below, and check back on A Dose of Venom every Friday for new content!

Sep 26, 2014

Symbiote Mash-Ups: The Powerful, the Silly, and the What in the World Were They Thinking?

Over the many of years of symbiotes being relevant in Marvel and the crazy places Marvel went in the '90s and '00s, some of the most obscure and cool ideas have been used to bring symbiotes into the spotlight of other heroes and villains. Whether it be for power or downright ridiculousness, the symbiote bond is strong and puts interesting spins on different characters.

Let's start with some of the powerful and weird people/entities in Marvel that symbiotes have bonded with.

Read Web of Spider-Man digitally on Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited
Galactus Venom, Web of Spider-Man #90
Though this is not a real bond and was an illusion created by Mysterio, this seems to be the end all, be all for powerful symbiotes. The pure control Venom could have on the Marvel Universe would be almost infinite. This is all in fun and imagination, though the chances of Venom actually taking over a superior being like Galactus are slim.

Read Amazing Spider-Man on Android and iOS devices with comiXology
Carnage Cosmic, Amazing Spider-Man #430
Though the superior being Galactus was not bonded, his past herald was victim to the parasite known as Carnage. A being like Surfer controlled by a psychopathic symbiote like Carnage can only spell CHAOS. Though this two-part appearance was short-lived, to this day it is considered one of the most unique bonds of hero and symbiote. In the '90s, the height of symbiote popularity was rising  and with the new Carnage symbiote being introduced and taking the front stage, this event allowed us to see the full capabilities of a symbiote with what it could and couldn't do as a parasite. We learned that almost everyone is vulnerable to the bond of a symbiote, even the Silver Surfer.

Follow Agent Venom and Red Hulk's adventures in Circle of Four and Thunderbolts
Venom Hulk Rider, Venom: Circle of Four
This can go down as powerful or weird, but in the recent Flash Thompson Venom series a radical combination happened. Red Hulk took on the symbiote and the Ghost Rider's Spirit of Vengeance to create one of the weirdest and theoretically most powerful symbiote combinations ever to exist. The idea seems crazy, but the art speaks for itself when it screams COOL!

Relive Venompool's madness in the digital copy of What If…? Venom Possessed Deadpool on the Marvel Comics App
Venompool, What If…? Venom Possessed Deadpool
This had to be most '90s fanboy dream bond, but in April of 2011 it came true. The Deadpool character has skyrocketed in popularity and what could be more cool than both of the '90s biggest anti-heroes getting a comic together? Riddled with jokes and typical Deadpool actions, it did not seem as though Venom would fit in Wade Wilson's persona; but as you can see in the panel, some things did work out. Recently, Deadpool accepted aid from the highly unlikely group of symbiotes known as the Mercury Team in a challenge to fight and understand Carnage in the limited series Deadpool vs. Carnage. We can see that there is still a future for symbiotes and Deadpool.

Catch up before AXIS: Carnage with Cullen Bunn's Deadpool vs. Carnage
Hybridpool, Deadpool vs. Carnage #4
There have been many others who have worn the symbiote from the Avengers to the Kingpin (in the future), but all have equally different stories. The symbiotes will forever be bonding for many decades to come. All that is left is just time to find out…who is next?

Check out the new Guardians of the Galaxy: Planet Venom story arc coming soon to find out just who is next. What are some of your favorite bonds? Who do you think could benefit from the symbiote?

Comment below and let me know who or what you think should be next on the parasitic agenda.


Sep 19, 2014

Video Game Spotlight on Marvel Heroes 2015

Welcome to a new segment here on A Dose of Venom in which Venomaniacs review and report news about symbiotic activity in the realm of video games. If you like to play games and you're looking for some new titles in which you get to play with, against, or as Marvel's symbiotes, then this is the segment to follow. For the first installment, we're putting the spotlight on Marvel's most ambitious gaming venture yet: Gazillion Entertainment's Marvel Heroes 2015.

Play Marvel Heroes 2015 for the PC and MacAvailable on PC, Mac, and through Steam, Marvel Heroes 2015 is the lovechild between Diablo and Marvel: Ultimate Alliance. There are two features that sets the game apart from its competition—DC Universe Online and Champions Online: first, it's not a traditional World of Warcraft-style MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role playing game); it's actually an MMOARPG, which is slightly different in that the play style is top-down with mouse-intensive action, much in the way of Diablo II (from which it borrows some of the classic game's developers). Second, players don't get to create their own unique hero or villain characters to interact with the copyrighted intellectual properties; instead, players can play as their favorite Marvel heroes and villains from comic book lore and can completely customize the clones with gear, powers, and alternate costumes until they are unique within and of themselves.

Gazillion has been doing a bang-up job with frequently releasing new game and system updates, and has even managed a new stride of introducing one new playable character each month. As of yet, there has only been one playable symbiotic character: Spider-Man with his enhanced Symbiote costume (which includes a special voice-over by the Peter Parker of the '90s Spider-Man: The Animated Series, Christopher Daniel Barnes, plus special cosmetic powers). Don't hold your breath at getting your hands on this costume, though, as it was exclusive to the $199.99 pre-launch Ultimate Pack. You can get its non-symbiotic brother, the enhanced Back in Black costume (which also has a Barnes alternate voice-over) for 1,250 Gs (account currency; $1 = 100 Gs), but that's just the cloth version of the famous symbiote costume, so there are no symbiotic cosmetic powers.

Preorder Venom with the Bring on the Bad Guys Team Pack
Don't be down, though, if you missed out on the Symbiote costume because a playable Venom (Eddie Brock) character is slated for a pre-New Years 2015 release for an estimated 600 Eternity Splinters (an in-game randomly dropped currency). There are no details as of yet about his powers or alternate costume, but if you feel like getting the full Venom experience out of Marvel Heroes 2015, then head over to its online store and pick up the "Bring On the Bad Guys + More Pack" to pre-order Venom along with Magneto and the Juggernaut (plus getting the already-released Mr. Fantastic, Star Lord, and Rogue), or you can wait until Venom's release date approaches to preorder his solo Hero Pack for $17.99, which will come with the alternate costume, Venom's own unique Hero S.T.A.S.H. (an in-game inventory storage container), and a few other in-game goodies.

On the off-chance that you're interested in getting just the character by himself (why wouldn't you want all that swag?!), there's a way you can get him for FREE, essentially. Log on or create an account (it's a Free-to-Play game!) at least a month or more before his release (just to give yourself some time) and play the game. By completing the entire story mode (up to defeating Doctor Doom) on the first go-around, you'll automatically receive 200 Eternity Splinters. Then all you need to do is continue grinding the game for Eternity Splinter drops, especially in PvE instances like Midtown Madness or the S.H.I.E.L.D. Holo-Sim. Luckily, the drops aren't the most uncommon in the game (Gazillion ranks the random hero or costume drops as the rarest of all). You can then purchase Venom from the in-game Eternity Splinter Vendor in the player hubs when he comes out, and the player community estimates that he'll cost 600 splinters.

Read The New Avengers, Volume 1: Breakout to witness the Death of Carnage
Sorry for the low graphics quality. My graphics card isn't the best.

If you can't wait to play as Venom, though, you can always fight against him. Venom first shows up as a non-interactive NPC during the Raft breakout tutorial zone as you get to watch Eddie take advantage of the breakout to rebond with the symbiote and escape. Then in Chapter 1, if you head into the Police Station in the open Hell's Kitchen map, you'll trigger the "Symbiote Infestation" mission in which you see yet another brief cutscene of Venom making his escape to leave you with symbiote-infested civilians. After that, you can fight Venom as an instanced boss in the Storage Yard of Chapter 2 and in Midtown Manhattan, and as a special boss fight in the S.H.I.E.L.D. Holo-Sim. Take it from a fellow Venomaniac: it's very satisfying to fight him.

Read classic Venom tales on Comixology for your Android and Apple devices

As one last note, you can get a summonable Team-Up Hero of the Back in Black (non-symbiote) Spider-Man to fight beside you in battle, but there is a rather expensive catch: you can only attain him through the Mark VI Fortune Cards (100 Gs each) as either a rare drop or from collecting 95 Armor Tech Blueprints (with a 1:1 drop ratio per Mark VI Fortune Card)—so that's either a $95 purchase or a really lucky Fortune Card. Yeesh.

That's all of the symbiote goodness Marvel Heroes 2015 has to offer right now. Only Venom and the Symbiote Spider-Man costume are the symbiotes currently featured in the game, and there is no ETA on any other symbiote character cameos. Still: when Venom finally arrives as a playable character, it's going to be EPIC. Sound off below! Will you be getting Venom when he becomes available? Were you one of the lucky few to purchase the enhanced Symbiote Spider-Man costume? What do you think of Venom as a boss in the game? As always, check back every Friday for a new dose!

Sep 12, 2014

Venom Carnage Film Update from Kurtzman

Alex Kutzman, the writer and director in charge of Sony's Venom Carnage (currently running title) spin-off film within its Amazing Spider-Man franchise, talked briefly with MTV on Wednesday about the highly anticipated/dreaded project. As always, it seems, Kurtzman knows how to viciously tease Venomaniacs and Spider-Man filmgoers with paltry tidbits of vaguely important information on the project, and never answers any of the important questions.

This time around, Kurtzman speaks in general about the tone and goals of the spin-off film, lending little to no leeway on revealing whether Eddie Brock or Flash Thompson will play the title protagonist.
"The idea," Kurtzman explained, "is that you can do things with Venom that you can't do with Spider-Man…Venom is the representation of every line that will get crossed…He's a much darker character."
Okay, so Venom Carnage is going to be a darker, edgier film than its predecessors. Good news, right? Well, it would've been better if he mentioned whether it will challenge the consistent PG-13 ratings of the rest of the Spider-Man films throughout the years, which would give us a clearer idea of which iteration of Venom we'd see on the big screen.

Read the complete Venom comic book series digitally on Comixology for Android and iOS mobile devicesBrock's Venom would fit the bill quite nicely in this case, but who knows where Sony would be willing to take Thompson if—Zod forbid—they chose him. (Don't get me wrong; I like Agent Venom, but I want to see Brock get his own film before Thompson as redemption from the Spider-Man 3 debacle.)

Thanks to KDrama Stars (curse that site), Brock fans received an unpleasant scare when, on the same day MTV posted Kurtzman's announcement, it announced that Chris Zylka was rumored to return as Thompson to play Venom in Venom Carnage while Brock may be reserved for a cameo in Amazing Spider-Man 3. Now, before anyone else goes jumping to conclusions, let me reassure you that KDrama Stars is merely rumor-mongering with that article. The author claims that ComicBook.com had reported the original rumor, but after doing a little digging myself, I found no such rumor floating around at ComicBook.com, much less in an official blog post on the site. Yes, that means Mingz Pao, the KDrama Stars author who purported the rumor, created it himself and falsely sourced ComicBook.com as the rumor's originator. False alarm, Venomaniacs: this is just another case of bad journalism.

So to recap, just about nothing new has been reported regarding Venom Carnage this week. Kurtzman let us in on insider info anyone could have guessed and KDrama Stars lied about casting to get us all worked up. Y'know, standard Venomaniac fare. Comment below about your thoughts on the news and follow A Dose of Venom for new articles every Friday.

Sep 5, 2014

The Battleworld Machine and Venom Symbiote Origin Mysteries

Ever wondered what the truth was behind the symbiote we now know as Venom's story in Marvel Superheroes Secret Wars? A machine that was used to fix suits and create different material objects was also home to a parasite we know and love, but could it have been a costume from a previous owner? Could it have been a scientific manipulation of the symbiotes' very existence?!

Read the first appearance of Spider-Man's black suit on the Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited app

The issue that introduced it all in the May of 1984 (The Amazing Spider-Man 252) had a cover which left most in wonder of what exactly Spider-Man was wearing and where it came from. Spider-Man was getting a revamp in the mid '80s with new and exciting stories and. most of all. new threads and powers. The suit gave Spider-Man enhanced abilities and allowed Peter to accomplish things he could not imagine. In 1984, after the release of this land mark issue, started an event by Marvel simply known as Secret Wars. Little did the Marvel world know that this series would eventually go on to explain where the black suit had originated from only a few months later.

Read the entire Marvel Superheroes Secret Wars saga on Comixology

In this random origin story, a long battle takes place between Earth's Mightiest Heroes to defeat the likes of Doctor Doom, Doc Ock, Galactus, Enchantress, and many more. A war has erupted on this mysterious alien land and "Amid the Chaos, there comes a costume!" After losing his helmet and ripping his costume in battle, Thor visits a machine which replaced his costume. Spider-Man notices his own suit being shredded, so after talking with Thor, he learned to use the mysterious machine to fix and replace pieces of his outfit. What came next was of complete mystery to the web head and thus the symbiote was born.

Discover the secrets behind Spider-Man's iconic black costume origin in Brian Michael Bendis' upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy: Planet Venom

Now for some clarity, this machine was home to what we now know as the Venom symbiote, but what exactly was the symbiote doing inside the machine and how did it get there? Some ideas I have come up with may shed some light on the whole situation. Is it possible that the symbiote had somehow managed to trap itself in the machine? It could have very well accidentally stumbled onto this alien world attached to a ship and found itself waiting for its next victim to latch onto and bond with by hiding within the machine.

For scenario number two, could the symbiote have been attached to a previous host who brought it here and this was a alternate costume for the individual? The idea that it could be the Beyonder's secret suit or weapon is plausible, in which he scientifically broke down the uses for the symbiote and learned to somehow control it. Does the Venom symbiote have a more involved past than we thought?

Finally, could it have been a project that was being worked on to develop weapons and create new matter through manipulation? The symbiote has the power to shape-shift, so why would an economical use for it be unlikely? This leads me to believe also that there could very well be more of these machines and civilizations using symbiotes to develop their armies and/or worlds.

Buy all of your Marvel Superhero Halloween costumes online at the official Marvel Shop

What can you conclude from this? Have some ideas on his origin of your own?
Feel free to share in the comment section and let me know some alternate ideas for where this story of the machine was going.