It’s always good to have a point of comparison.
Todd McFarlane. Eddie Brock. Venom. It almost seems wrong to talk about one without mentioning the others. Sony Pictures definitely seems to think so. The long anticipated standalone Venom movie that fans have have wanted for years will finally hit theaters October 5th and will feature former journalist Brock and his life-changing meeting with the Symbiote.
McFarlane’s Venom is easily the most well known and is certainly deserving of his own movie. However, others have added to the lore of the fan favorite character. Venom by Cullen Bunn: The Complete Collection is a trade paperback that gathers some of Bunn’s most action-packed stories. The adventures feature a different Venom that may not have the same mainstream popularity as McFarlane’s creation, but is still definitely worth checking out before October 5th.
Reason 1: Flash Thompson makes more sense as Venom
There is nothing wrong with the Brock/Venom backstory. Actually, it’s pretty inspired — Spider-Man has ruined Brock’s professional life while Peter Parker has rejected the Symbiote. The shared sense of anger and rejection cause the two to bond.
The problem is that Brock was plugged into the story. Flash, on the other hand, has bullied Puny Parker since they both debuted in Amazing Fantasy #15. There is no need to create a new story reason for him to dislike Parker. Plus, once Flash and the Symbiote have bonded, the former All-American would learn Spider-Man’s secret identity. Chances are that he would be upset that he had essentially formed a fan club for Puny.
Flash also has an interesting backstory. After losing both of his legs during the Iraq War, he allows the Symbiote to be bonded to him as it will allow him to walk again. The catch is he cannot stay bonded for more than 48 hours or the Symbiote may gain control.
Reason 2: Katy Kiernan adds an element Eddie Brock rarely had
Anne Weying is Brock’s ex-wife who becomes She-Venom and eventually commits suicide. And that is pretty much it regarding women in the original Venom’s life. There is nothing wrong with that, but it is an opportunity to add a different dimension to the character.
Katy Kiernan is a reporter for the Daily Inquisitor who helps Agent Venom in his battles against the Department of Occult Armaments. Kiernan is an ally, antagonist, and an important part of Bunn’s stories. She also allows the readers to see Flash as more than just a nearly unstoppable fighting machine. She is always a funny, aggressive, and welcome addition to stories and is another way that Agent Venom is different than the original.
Reason 3: Symbiote Sidekick! (Just don’t call her that in front of Flash.)
Andi Benton was a student at the high school that Flash worked at. After an attack by the fake Jack O’Lantern left her father dead, Benton herself was nearly killed by poisonous gas. Venom saved her the only way he knew how: by protecting her with tendrils from the Symbiote. Instead of simply saving the young girl, the Symbiote immediately bonded with her.
Despite easily bonding with the Symbiote and quickly becoming a powerful ally, Flash was still uncomfortable putting the child at risk. Andi is reckless and is the perfect partner for Agent Venom’s more controlled style. The two work well together and a have a fun chemistry that goes beyond crime fighters.
The Venom movie is just around the corner and it will be interesting to see what aspects of his comic book backstory are kept, which are tweaked, and which are dropped altogether. In the meantime, Venom by Cullen Bunn: The Complete Collection provides a different take on the popular character.