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.

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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.

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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 had reported the original rumor, but after doing a little digging myself, I found no such rumor floating around at, 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 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.

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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.