Sunday, August 25, 2013

Out with a Bang

Five Possible Venom Endings

by Orion Petitclerc

The End is Nigh for One Superguy

Marvel had recently released their November 2013 comic book solicitations, revealing that both Captain Marvel and Venom had no planned releases for the month. After an entire week of fans fearing and anticipating information on the fate of both books, Marvel dropped the bomb on Venom readers that the series is officially canceled after issue #42.
The current, now-canceled Venom title, begun by Rick Remender and ending with its second ongoing writer Cullen Bunn, is the longest-running Venom book in Marvel’s history next to Daniel Way’s Venom 18-issue run (the initial Venom titles, starting with Lethal Protector, boast a near-record 60 issues but aren’t considered because they were divided into 18 separate mini-series). Bunn responds to the news, teasing readers his plans for bringing Flash Thompson’s, a.k.a. Agent Venom, chapter to a close, and editor Tom Brevoort in a Tumblr Q&A also teased “big plans” for the character over the next few months.

With Venom’s fate still concealed in the mists of cancellation and tight lips, fans now wonder if Marvel even has any plans for his future outside the upcoming Darkest Hours crossover in Superior Spider-Man. Here are five possible endings for the character.

1.      The New Hero on the Block

After Agent Venom’s deadly feud with the Savage Six in New York City, Bunn moved Flash to Philadelphia to begin anew as the City of Brotherly Love’s personal superhero. Taking on the profession of a high school gym coach, Flash met Andrea “Andi” Benton, a student and apartment neighbor. When Jack O’Lantern, former Spider-Man foe turned Venom arch nemesis, returns to make Flash’s life a living hell, Andi and her father get caught in the crossfire. Jack kills Andi’s father and almost kills her until Agent Venom intervenes and saves her by extending a part of his symbiote onto her, creating Mania, the new symbiote on the block. (This is reminiscent of how Eddie Brock used the Venom symbiote to save his ex-wife, Ann Weying, inadvertently creating She-Venom.)

Mania had proven to Flash in Venom #39 that she’s got what it takes to completely control the symbiote, even surpassing and surprising him. The symbiote spawn even refused to return to Flash when he commanded it to, suggesting a more permanent bond than the one he shares as Venom. Along with Bunn commenting that he’s utilizing these final issues to build up Mania’s origin, we could be looking at an ongoing sequel featuring the spiky-haired, she-devil symbiote adopting the Venom mantle. A sort of fresh face with potential for a longer run considering her age, perhaps? Maybe even consideration into one of the few teen-based super teams?

2.      Superior Venom or a similar Marvel NOW! 2 Reboot

Perhaps Marvel decides to keep Flash as Venom after his book finishes. Agent Venom’s popularity (and infamy amongst hardcore, old school Venom fans) is unquestionable: he got a Marvel Select action figure before Brock/Venom did and will do it again with the Marvel Legends line, and he’s even slotted for a Season 3 TV debut in Disney XD’s Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon (again, getting the jump on Brock for this series).

Despite the perpetual decline in the book’s sales since its first issue, Marvel knows it’s created a shining star in Agent Venom, and it may not be ready to give him up just yet. Bunn teases that, in the end of the current series, Flash and the symbiote will finally have a heart-to-heart, and Flash will end up somewhere he’ll never suspect nor may even want to be. This smells like a potential Marvel NOW! 2 reboot, and may even explain the character’s vast personality differences between Agent Venom in his own book and Agent Venom in Marvel NOW!’s Thunderbolts series (which has never been alluded to in the current Venom series). Perhaps we’ll even see a Superior reinvention of the character. Even Carnage is already in the middle of getting that treatment.

3.      A Dynamic Duo for NOW!

Maybe we’ll get the best of both worlds for the price of one new book. Bunn teased Mania as a possibly permanent addition to the Marvel roster, and the student/mentor dynamic between her and Agent Venom holds much potential. Philadelphia could be Marvel’s new Gotham City, and what is Gotham without Batman and Robin (and the Joker, whose shoes Jack O’Lantern can easily fill)?

I’d like to throw in the Superior Symbiote Squad as a possible title for this Marvel NOW! 2 book (or Venom & Mania could work), with Toxin (currently hosted by Eddie Brock) as a recurring menace for the duo. Because he’s probably raving mad about Flash’s irresponsibility for tainting an innocent teenager with a symbiote. Plus, the birth of Mania could trigger the beginning of the Spawning event that was teased during Savage Six and which will never see the light of print in the current Venom run. Holy Potential, Venom!

4.      The End…For Now

Or this could really be it for our symbiotic Avenger and his companion. We may not even get a new Venom book until his eventual return to film in The Amazing Spider-Man, considering the perpetual decline in the book’s sales (we all know how Marvel tends to flood the market with new books and stories based on upcoming blockbusters).

Bunn really likes to play reader’s heartstrings when it comes to information on his upcoming plans for the book. Along with teasing a new direction for Flash and the symbiote’s life at the end of issue #42, he also suggested that Mania may not even survive her own origin story. In the worst case, we could even see another host-swap for the Venom symbiote. Which brings us to the final possibility…

5.      Full Circle, or “Every Hardcore Venom Fan’s Dream”

Eddie Brock becomes Venom again. Ever since the symbiote left Brock and bonded with Mac Gargan, a.k.a. the Scorpion, (and Angelo Fortunato, who was Venom for two issues of Marvel Knights: Spider-Man before Mac) most Venom fans have pined about wanting Brock to be Venom again. The complaints grew in volume when he became Anti-Venom—who was viewed as a cheap, overpowered knock off—and, subsequently, the new host of the Toxin symbiote (though “Broxin,” as he’s endeared, is reminiscent of Eddie/Venom in his Lethal Protector days).

Perhaps Marvel is finally answering the vocal majority’s prayers, and we’ll get good ol’ Venom back to his former glory. Even if this would be the final nail in the coffin for Brock’s devolution as character, considering some considered Anti-Venom to be Brock’s next best step in a life of redemption—something he had been working towards since he gave up the Venom symbiote. But hey, who am I to complain? I’d pay top dollar to see Brock/Venom again!

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