Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Psycho-Logical Profile of Edward Brock

Guest Blogger OrionSTARB0Y brings us The Psycho-Logical Profile of Edward Brock:

Eddie Brock suffers primarily from a victimhood complex stemming from his relationship with his father. Carl blames Eddie for his wife’s death, and Eddie suffers with this dilemma when others tell him her death wasn’t his fault. Eddie was affected by Carl’s coldness, and strove to please his father any way he could, but never pleased Carl. Eddie’s later compulsion for bodybuilding stemmed from his football track record in high school—a sport Eddie took up in an attempt to please his father. Eddie’s only source of comfort from his childhood was from skateboarding with his friends, in which he excelled and enjoyed his friends’ praise. It should be noted, however, that even though Eddie was born into a wealthy family and has often tried to impress his father with success, true success has never been of much importance to Eddie. Rather, success, for him, brings recognition and praise, and not respect or security as is often of additional concern to those who seek wealth and success.

Eddie's victimhood complex at it's peak.

Eddie’s eagerness to impress often got him into or near trouble. Isolated cases include kidnapping a peer’s cat to return it as a hero during his adolescence, lying about an internship with the San Francisco Chronicle to be admitted into ESU, and concealing the (false) truth about the Sin Eater’s identity for his own gain.

Eddie’s victimhood complex became overindulged with the events that led to his departure from the Daily Globe. He saw himself as a victim of plight from the hands of Spider-Man, and became obsessed with hatred to the point of insanity and suicide. When he came in contact with the alien symbiote suit, the psychological melding of his and the symbiote’s consciousnesses unified and focused their hatred into a war and existence of vengeance.

The heroic horror.
Together, Eddie and the symbiote became Venom and obsessed over their victimhood, developing a warped view on innocence and its loss. Believing that Spider-Man had robbed them both of their innocence, Venom reversed the hero-villain roles between them and Spider-Man, giving rise to a hero complex of deadly magnitude. At one point, Venom indulged in their hero complex by returning to Eddie Brock’s hometown in San Francisco and establishing themselves as the city’s “Lethal Protector,” preying on whomever they deemed guilty and protecting, for the most part, the city’s homeless population. The extent of their manic obsession over innocence and its protection did not expand to those whom society would deem “good” (most often, being the case, the police force) if those same “good people” stood in Venom’s self-righteous path of vengeance and vigilantism. This landed Venom on the wrong side of the law, and though they had several moments of arguable “heroism,” their extreme methods deemed them a danger and enemy to the public.

Over time, Eddie’s victimhood complex has exhibited itself as a general refusal to accept responsibility. This is most evident in the events that led to Eddie’s transformation into Venom, as Eddie placed the blame for his own faults onto Spider-Man. After Eddie parted with the symbiote and resigned himself to his fate with the resurgence of his cancer, another series of events, involving the return of the Venom symbiote—then attached to fellow criminal, MacDonald “Mac” Gargan, a.k.a. the Scorpion—during an unprecedented attack on the F.E.A.S.T. soup kitchen Eddie volunteered in by the Thunderbolts, transformed Eddie into the Anti-Venom vigilante. Before this transformation, Eddie had been coming to terms with his impending death and making amends in retribution for the wrongs he had committed—the motivations for which stemmed primarily from his strong Roman Catholic ideology. When Eddie had learned that his cancer was mysteriously and miraculously cured by the unknowing hand of criminal mastermind Mr. Negative, he naturally took this as an ethereal sign for a second chance at life and reconciled himself to becoming a better man than he was before. During his transformation into the Anti-Venom, Spider-Man had joined him in fighting back Venom. With a new understanding and outlook for his life, Eddie forgave Spider-Man for his initial crime. It is believed that at that moment, Eddie had subtly accepted responsibility for his downfall before becoming Venom. If Eddie had accepted responsibility for all of the other wrongs he had committed as Venom is still unknown.

All it took was the perfect storm that was Spider-Island to push Eddie into the deep end.

Eddie’s emergence as the Anti-Venom was marked as a major turning point in his life. His new role as the amender of his greatest “sin”—the Venom symbiote—brought with it hope for growth. He still struggled with his violent tendencies—a reemergence of his Lethal Protector persona—but Eddie became markedly more responsible for his actions. However, a God complex dominated his new identity as his powers were nearly unrivaled. His faux symbiote exhibited none of a normal symbiote’s innate weaknesses and adopted a new power that could seemingly cure a human body of all foreign substances—including symbiotes. Combined with his strong Catholicism, Eddie launched a righteous war against all symbiotes. His God complex came to a climax during a viral breakout on Manhattan Island, the effects of which transformed humans, superhumans, and mutants alike into giant arachnoids. Eddie’s antibodies, fused with the faux symbiote, proved to be the only viable cure to the plague, and Eddie established himself in a church as the “Right Hand of God.” It is assumed that Eddie’s God complex was shattered when the Venom symbiote managed to briefly bond with him again while his faux symbiote was weakened from overuse during an operation in which Eugene “Flash” Thompson—a U.S. Government super spy endowed with the Venom symbiote—was ordered to bring Eddie to Reed Richards of the Fantastic Four to synthesize a cure to the plague. When Eddie finally surrendered and met with Richards, he valiantly sacrificed his faux symbiote to save Manhattan, validating his hero complex when he was recognized as the hero of the outbreak.

Agent Venom brings Eddie down from his altar.

Though his God complex had diminished, Eddie still carried out his religious war against the symbiotes with a strong religious fervor. However, when Eddie was captured by criminal mastermind Crime-Master and forced to bond with one of the Venom symbiote’s decedents, Toxin, Eddie suffered a traumatic blow to his psyche. When Agent Thompson failed to rescue him from the burning symbiote during their last battle, it is assumed Eddie has relapsed to his vengeful Venom persona, and that this time the target of his manic wrath is Agent Thompson. It is unknown at this time whether Eddie still carries with him his utter hatred for symbiotes, whom fuel his underlying victimhood complex, as his relationship with the Toxin symbiote cannot be determined; but one thing is for certain: Eddie Brock’s vendetta against the Venom symbiote will take on a new ferocity, regardless of whomever is bonded to it.

Eddie probably has 'Nam Flashbacks now when
Iron Man cruises overhead blaring "Back in Black."
A final note to take into consideration is an overarching theme to Eddie’s psychology besides his victimhood complex. The definition of a “symbiote” actually applies quite well to Eddie’s character: Eddie has proven that he cannot function well by himself and requires a companion to give him motivation. Yes, it can be argued that Eddie had functioned just fine during his cancer period between auctioning the Venom symbiote and transforming into the Anti-Venom, specifically after he had begun his volunteer work at F.E.A.S.T. But consider Eddie’s stability during the times he was not host to a symbiote: before he became Venom, Eddie desperately sought approval from his peers (especially from his father, as already discussed), and both considered and attempted suicide when he met with the hardship that led him to Our Lady of Saints that fateful day; during his stay at the hospital for his cancer treatment, Eddie attempted suicide again when he was convinced the Venom symbiote he had parted with still influenced him to do evil; and after he sacrificed his Anti-Venom faux symbiote, Eddie fanatically set out to commit genocide against the symbiote population on Earth with an immensely antisocial response. During his possession of the Venom symbiote, Eddie may have been psychologically unstable, but his motivations were more focused and less self-destructive than before and after playing host. During his time as Anti-Venom, Eddie’s motivation for killing all symbiotes was clear, but he still struggled with morality. But when Jenna Cole was introduced into his life and fought beside him in his war against corruption and crime, she served as a reminder of who he wanted to be. This was especially evident when he was separated from her for a brief time after she had been kidnapped: Eddie reverted to his more lethal vigilantism, bordering if not crossing into homicide. During these times of companionship, Eddie not only benefitted from his relationships psychologically and morally, but he provided relative (to the full extent of the adjective) psychological balance to the Venom symbiote and a moral example to Jenna, who, in return, stood as his moral example. In these examples, Eddie could be thought of as a “human symbiote”: functioning best when he is in a mutually beneficial relationship with a companion, whether the companion is a symbiote or human being.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Agent Venom & The U.S. Army

Hi TVS users, J.H. Stryker here (Freddie Block to long term users) and I’d like to tell you about some of the silly and sometimes unforgivable errors present throughout Venom's and Flash Thompson's adventures in regards to the U.S. Army.

Now before you yell me off the internet for nitpicking a comic book, I’d first like to tell you that I still enjoy these comics, I’ve been enjoying these comics since I was 8 years old and picked up Amazing Spider-Man 363 in the back of a long box. 

But now 10 years later I’ve graduated high-school and joined the Army, Armored Infantry is my MOS (MOS means job) oddly enough it’s the same job Flash Thompson had in Amazing Spider-Man 574 (An excellent and very accurate issue), unlike Thompson I’m only a lowly Private. Now being a Soldier myself I sometimes find myself pulled out from the comic by a stupid and easily avoided error.

I know comics are made on a short schedule and the writers don’t always have time to check every single thing they write, just like I don’t expect the artists to know exactly what the uniforms or guns should look like, I get that. And I’m willing to expand my suspension of disbelief a little bit because of that. But when I see Flash refer to himself as a Marine or do something a Soldier would never do, it puts me off a little bit to say the least.

These ‘mistakes’ as I will call them can be broken up into 3 categories: Artistic Mistakes, Writing Mistakes, and Plot mistakes. I tend to be more forgiving of artistic mistakes because hey shit happens and artists don’t always have time to go and look the way all kinds of things look, while most writing mistakes on the other hand can usually be solved by using Google. Plot mistakes are things that the comics portray the Army doing, which they would never do, considering this is a comic book and most characters aside from the Hero are usually relegated to bumbling morons so he can save the day you would probably expect a lot of these, you’d be surprised.

Artistic Mistakes

Surprisingly there aren’t that many artistic mistakes to be found throughout Agent Venoms 57 issue career. Still his record isn’t spotless take this example from Amazing Spider-Man 648.

What does that even mean Indeed Mr.Parker

What USMC stands for is United States Marine Corps. Flash Thompson is a Soldier part of the United States Army. The Army and The Marines are two very different things and they don’t exactly like each other. Military rivalry is similar to the way a Dodgers fan would treat an Angels fan except multiplied by ten-thousand. The only way a Soldier would be caught dead in a USMC shirt is if he lost the mother of all bets. Now being as Flash Thompson is a Marvel character and Marvel isn’t exactly known for their flawless continuity I went back and checked if Flash was ever in the Marines, he wasn’t. The only other time he was in the Military was when he joined the Army during Vietnam. The fact that Thompson served in both Vietnam and Iraq is an issue for another day.

So I guess we can write this off as Flash losing a bet. I could continue to nitpick and point out things like that the Army would force Mackenzie to shave his hippie hair or things like that. But I would rather move on to some real mistakes.

Writing Mistakes 

I know that most comic book writers haven’t served in the military and the closest they’ve come to it is watching Saving Private Ryan but the way they write military characters is ridiculous.

These words literally mean nothing
To be honest the above example doesn’t annoy me very much, I actually find it kind of funny. I don’t really expect writers to look up military phrases id just prefer they just try not to use them. But not all mistakes are as harmless as that.

For example the word Jarhead, it’s a word Remender used often and for reasons unknown to me. Jarhead is used to describe a member of the Marines, once again Flash is a soldier. The thing that weirds me out about this is if you don’t know the meaning of a word why use it?
Apparently the Marvel office doesn’t have Internet.

Plot Mistakes 

Now to most people continuing to use an alien symbiote which already took over and caused you to kill one Soldier might seem a little stupid, that’s because it is. But if you think this is the part where I tell you that the Army would never do something that stupid, you’re wrong.

While I do love the Army and the opportunities it’s given me I’m not going to come out and defend its intelligence, because just like there’s Army Strong, there’s also Army Stupid. You see when the Army makes a decision it usually comes down from some guy up top whose unfamiliar with the whole picture thinking he’s got a great idea and then ordering people to follow through with it, and because of chain of command no one’s going to tell him he’s a goddamn moron for thinking he can contain and use an alien symbiote which has killed more people than Operation: Desert Storm.

What could go wrong?
Honestly if the Army had access to Symbiotes they probably would use them. If anything they would probably do a lot more than what General Dodge and Project Rebirth used Venom for.

The main plot problems with the idea of taking a soldier and having him use the Venom Symbiote lies more with the fact that they would never choose Flash Thompson to be the one to do it. He was Armored Infantry, not Special Forces not a Ranger. They’d probably do something more like Mercury Team from Carnage USA which was a group of Navy Seals and other Special Forces.

This time the USMC shirt isn’t a mistake
They wouldn’t use some random grunt with a crush on Spider-Man. Aside from that though the things the Army does with the Symbiote are pretty believable, that is for a world in which super-powered men dressed in spandex fight crime.

Closing Thoughts

Do Don’t
Use the words Hooah, Roger, or any of the lines from Aliens
Insult the Marines at any opportunity possible
Bring back Anti-Venom

Call Flash a Jarhead, Devil Dog or any variation of Marine
Make up Military jargon, if you want to say something just say it in laymans terms.
Bring back Mac Gargan

With all that being said, I still enjoy reading these comics and I hope you enjoyed this post. In case a Mr. Bunn happens to stumble across this I would like to give him a little list of do’s and don’ts.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Venom: Lethal Protector #1

Do you know what the hardest part about writing about anything is? Not having the required material. There's a lot of things I'd like to write about, but I simply don't have the material to do it. I'd like to write about Eddie Brock and Toxin, Minimum Carnage, etc. but what's the point of just making a bunch of "what ifs" and simply telling you that I don't know about one certain topic so, "blah blah?" As a compromise I'm going to start talking about old symbiote appearances but with my own twist in an attempt to buy myself more time. Right now I plan to take one story arc, talk about one issue per week, then add another Flashpoint post, and rinse and repeat. One thing I know I want to do is if there's a fan art page or letters column, I'll scan those pages, post them, and talk about them. That should be pretty fun.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Flashpoint Part 1: Looks are Everything

WELCOME! This is the first legitimate post of "MIND BOMB" and it's sure to be a doozy. This first post is also the beginning of a little series that I'm calling "Flashpoint" because I'm not that creative. It shouldn't be a surprise to you that, well... I love Venom and as such have developed a religious devotion to the character. Like any fanboy, I become what others often describe as "butthurt" when something changes to what I love, and I just won't bend to the will of the higher powers that be at work. Stickin' it to the man! So, for each part of this series I will be discussing the most recent host of the Venom symbiote, Flash Thompson (as you probably noticed by now) and why I believe he is one of the worst things to happen in symbiote history by examining one feature per post that I see as SACRILEGE to Venom. Bare with me, there's a method to my madness, and I will do my best to describe it as best as possible.