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!