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.