Eddie Brock

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Edward Brock
EddieBrock.jpg
Eddie Brock as Venom in The Amazing Spider-Man #300 (May 1988). Art by Todd McFarlane.
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance As Eddie Brock:
Web of Spider-Man #18 (September 1986)
As Venom:
(cameo appearance)
The Amazing Spider-Man #299 (April 1988)
(full appearance)
The Amazing Spider-Man #300 (May 1988)[1]
As Anti-Venom:
The Amazing Spider-Man #569 (October 2008)
As Toxin:
Venom #17 (May 2012)
As Sleeper:
Venom First Host #3 (August 2018)
Created by David Michelinie
Todd McFarlane
In-story information
Alter ego Edward Charles Allan Brock
Team affiliations Sinister Six
Revengers[2]
Savage Six
Notable aliases Venom, Anti-Venom, Toxin, Sleeper
Abilities

Alien symbiote grants:

  • Superhuman strength, speed, agility, and durability
  • Ability to cling to most surfaces
  • Organic webbing
  • Limited shapeshifting and camouflage
  • Symbiote's autonomous defense capabilities
  • Undetectable by Spider-Man's "Spider-sense"

Eddie Brock is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The character was created by David Michelinie and Todd McFarlane, and his earliest appearance was a cameo in Web of Spider-Man #18 (September 1986),[3] before making his first full appearance in The Amazing Spider-Man #300 (May 1988)[1] as the original and most well-known incarnation of Venom. The character has since appeared in many Marvel Comics publications, including his own series Venom. Introduced as a villain of Spider-Man, the character becomes an anti-hero, working with and against superheroes.

In the original version of the story, Eddie Brock is a journalist who exposes the identity of a serial killer only for the real killer to be caught by Spider-Man, thus he accused the wrong man. Disgraced and suicidal, he comes into contact with an alien Symbiote, rejected by Peter Parker. The Symbiote bonds with him and they become Venom, together seeking out revenge against their mutual enemy. Though he repeatedly comes into conflict with Spider-Man, he also attempts to operate as a hero, albeit a violent one, seeking to save those he deems "innocent". In 2008, after being separated from the Venom Symbiote, he gains a new Symbiote and becomes the anti-hero Anti-Venom. However, that symbiote is sacrificed to help cure the "Spider-Island" epidemic during the 2011 storyline. In 2012, he was bonded to the Toxin symbiote. Though he is a human with no powers, the Venom Symbiote suit bestows upon him a range of abilities including many of the powers belonging to Spider-Man, the Symbiote's original host.

Debuting in the Modern Age of Comic Books, the character of Eddie Brock has featured in other Marvel-endorsed products such as animated television series; video games; merchandise such as action figures, and trading cards; and the Spider-Man 3 feature film in which he was played by actor Topher Grace, Eddie Brock is portrayed by Tom Hardy in the film 2018 Venom. Brock's incarnation of Venom was rated 33rd on Empire's 50 Greatest Comic Book Characters,[4] and was the 22nd Greatest Villain on IGN's 100 Greatest Comic Villains of All Time.[5] Comics journalist and historian Mike Conroy writes of the character: "What started out as a replacement costume for Spider-Man turned into one of the Marvel web-slinger's greatest nightmares."[6]

Publication history[edit]

Creation and conception[edit]

Writer David Michelinie and artist Todd McFarlane are generally credited with the character's creation, based on a number of plot ideas and concepts from various other creators. The question of who created the character of Venom became an issue of contention in 1993 when Michelinie wrote to the comic book industry magazine Wizard, which had referred to Michelinie in issue #17 as "co-creator" of Venom. In his letter, printed in issue #21 (May 1993), Michelinie wrote that he was the character's sole creator, while saying also he believed that without McFarlane the character would not have attained the popularity it did.[7]

First cover appearance of Venom as depicted by co-creator Todd McFarlane

Writer Peter David corroborated Michelinie's view in his "But I Digress" column in the June 4, 1993 Comics Buyer's Guide, in which he stated that Michelinie discussed the ideas behind the character with him at the time of its creation. At that time, David was the writer on The Spectacular Spider-Man and wrote the "Sin Eater" storyline from which Eddie Brock's backstory would be derived, well before McFarlane was assigned to the art duties on Amazing. Because the artist who illustrates a character's first published appearance is generally credited as its co-creator (especially if that artist is the one who designs the character's visual appearance),[8] Venom represents a complex situation, because the costume from which Venom's appearance is derived was not designed by McFarlane.[9]

Erik Larsen responded to Michelinie's letter with one of his own that was printed in Wizard #23 (July 1993), in which he dismissed Michelinie's contributions to the character, arguing that Michelinie merely "swiped" the preexisting symbiote and its powers to place it on a character whose motivations were poorly conceived, one-dimensional, unbelievable, and clichéd. Larsen also argued that it was McFarlane's rendition of the character that made it commercial.[10]

The preexisting elements that dealt with the symbiote costume itself—to which Michelinie did not contribute—have also been noted. The original idea of a new costume for Spider-Man that would later become the character Venom was conceived of by a Marvel Comics reader from Norridge, Illinois named Randy Schueller.[11] Marvel purchased the idea for $220.00 after the editor-in-chief at the time, Jim Shooter, sent Schueller a letter acknowledging Marvel's desire to acquire the idea from him, in 1982. Schueller's design was then modified by Mike Zeck, becoming the Symbiote costume.[12] For example, Shooter came up with the idea of switching Spider-Man to a black-and-white costume, possibly influenced by the intended costume design for the new Spider-Woman, with artists Mike Zeck and Rick Leonardi, as well as others, designing the black-and-white costume.[9]

Erik Larsen, who followed Todd McFarlane as artist on Amazing Spider-Man, added the long tongue and drool to Venom's appearance.

Writer/artist John Byrne asserts on his website that the idea for a costume made of self-healing biological material was one he originated when he was the artist on Iron Fist to explain how that character's costume was constantly being torn and then apparently repaired by the next issue, explaining that he ended up not using the idea on that title, but that Roger Stern later asked him if he could use the idea for Spider-Man's alien costume. Stern in turn plotted the issue in which the costume first appeared but then left the title. It was writer Tom DeFalco and artist Ron Frenz who had established that the costume was a sentient alien being, and that it was vulnerable to high sonic energy during their run on The Amazing Spider-Man that preceded Michelinie's.[13] Regardless, Peter David's position is that Michelinie is the sole creator, since the idea of creating a separate character using the alien symbiote was Michelinie's, as was Eddie Brock's backstory, and that without the idea to create such a character, the character would not have existed.[9]

In an interview with Tom DeFalco, McFarlane states that Michelinie did indeed come up with the idea of Venom and the character's basic design ("a big guy in the black costume"). However, he contends that it was he (McFarlane) who gave Venom his monster-like features. He claims; "I just wanted to make him kooky and creepy, and not just some guy in a black suit."[14]

This dispute arose at a time when the merits of artists as collaborators and writers were being debated in the industry, a discussion prompted by the popularity of artists such as McFarlane, Larsen, and other founders of Image Comics.[15][16]

Venom's existence was first indicated in Web of Spider-Man #18 (Sept. 1986), when he shoves Peter Parker in front of a subway train without Parker's spider-sense warning him, though only Brock's hand is seen on-panel. The next indication of Venom's existence was in Web of Spider-Man #24 (March 1987), when Parker has climbed out of a high story window to change into Spider-Man, but finds a black arm coming through the window and grabbing him, again without being warned by his spider-sense.

The character would remain unseen and inactive until Amazing Spider-Man editor Jim Salicrup required a villain for that book's 300th issue, and Michelinie suggested a villain consisting of the alien symbiote grafted onto the body of a human female; seeking revenge for the deaths of her husband and miscarried baby who would accidentally die as the unfortunate result of Spider-man battling another supervillain. Salicrup accepted the suggestion, but changed the character to a male, and the female character's plot was also abandoned.[citation needed] Michelinie then devised the Eddie Brock identity. Michelinie contends that the plots for issues #298–299, as well as the visual descriptions of the character, were written and bought by Salicrup before McFarlane was ever assigned to the book.[citation needed]

Fictional character biography[edit]

Backstory[edit]

Left: Brock bonding with the symbiote. Right: Brock's cameo appearance as Venom in Amazing Spider-Man #299

The 1993 limited series Venom: Lethal Protector describes Brock's history before bonding with the symbiote. As a child, Edward Charles Allan Brock[17] is raised in a Roman Catholic household in San Francisco. Eddie's mother dies from complications during his birth and as a result his father is cold and unaffectionate towards him. Eddie excels in academics and sports in an attempt to earn his father's approval but does not succeed. In college, Brock switches his major to journalism after reading an article on the Watergate scandal. After graduating, he moves to New York City and obtains a job as a journalist for the Daily Globe. Though he proves himself to be a highly-talented journalist, his father still only treats him with indifference.[18]

As a reporter, Brock investigates the serial killer Sin-Eater and is contacted by Emil Gregg, who claims to be the killer.[19] Pressured by the authorities to reveal the killer's identity, Brock writes an exposé announcing Gregg as the Sin-Eater. However, the real Sin-Eater is caught by Spider-Man and Brock is revealed to have been interviewing a compulsive confessor. Brock is fired from his job in disgrace and divorced from his wife. Unable to find reputable work, he is forced to work for tabloid magazines[19] and his father ceases communication with him entirely.[18] Brock becomes obsessed with gaining revenge against Spider-Man, blaming him for catching the real Sin-Eater. Brock takes up bodybuilding to reduce stress but his anger and depression remain.[19] Meanwhile, Spider-Man uses the sound of bells at a church to remove his symbiote costume after realizing it is attempting to permanently bond with him.[20] His professional and personal life shattered, Brock contemplates suicide and goes to the same church, where he prays to God for forgiveness.[19] The Symbiote, having waited in the rafters of the church since leaving Spider-Man, senses Brock[21] and bonds with him, granting him powers equal and greater to those of Spider-Man, and imparting knowledge of Spider-Man's secret identity.[19]

Venom[edit]

Venom begins a campaign of torment against Peter, who is still unaware of his existence. He first pushes Peter in front of a moving subway without activating his spider-sense,[22] and later terrorizes Spider-Man's wife Mary Jane.[23] Venom baits Spider-Man to his apartment for their first confrontation, where Venom reveals his true identity to Spider-Man, claiming "You may call me Venom, for that's what I'm paid to spew out these days!" Spider-Man discovers that the Symbiote has completely bonded with Brock and cannot be killed without also killing Brock. Eventually Venom is tricked into weakening himself by expending too much webbing until the suit lacks enough material to produce more.[19] Venom is incarcerated in the Vault, from which he makes repeated escapes and escape attempts, only to suffer defeats and returns to the Vault.[24][25][26]

Brock eventually fakes suicide and escapes after being taken to the morgue.[27] During a battle with Spider-Man, the Symbiote is seemingly killed by the plague-inducing villain Styx, giving its life to protect Brock. Brock is incarcerated and Spider-Man disposes of the Symbiote's remains.[28] The Symbiote survives by entering a comatose state to fight off the illness[29] and it returns to Brock, enabling him to again escape from jail. During the escape, the symbiote asexually reproduces and leaves behind its spawn.[30] The offspring quickly bonds to Brock's cell mate, Cletus Kasady, creating Carnage.[30][31] Venom abducts Spider-Man and transports him to a remote island to do battle. Spider-Man fakes his own death to convince Venom that his vendetta is over. Venom, content with the outcome, resigns himself to life on the island.[32] Spider-Man eventually faces Carnage but is unable to defeat him. Spider-Man is forced to ask Venom for help, promising him freedom in exchange.[33] However, after they defeat Carnage, Spider-Man betrays Venom (who had also resumed his plan of revenge and tried to throttle the arachnoid hero to death) by summoning the Fantastic Four and sending him back to prison.[34]

Anti-hero[edit]

After seeing a photo of Spider-Man's recently returned parents, Brock escapes from prison,[35] and kidnaps them.[36] During the resulting fight, Brock's ex-wife Anne Weying is nearly crushed under a falling ferris wheel, but Spider-Man saves her. Seeing this act, Venom makes peace with Spider-Man.[37] In Venom: Lethal Protector (1993), Venom moves to San Francisco and acts as the protector of an underground society of homeless people.[21] He is later taken prisoner by the Life Foundation who harvest the last five spawn within the symbiote to create super-powered policemen and Brock is forcibly separated from the symbiote.[38] With Spider-Man's help, Brock is reunited with the symbiote and they seemingly destroy his spawn, Phage, Lasher, Riot, Scream and Agony, before escaping.[39] After saving the homeless people, Venom is accepted into their society and remains their protector.[40]

In the 1993 crossover "Maximum Carnage", Carnage reemerges and begins a massacre in New York City, and Brock returns to help, feeling responsible. Venom finds he is no match for Carnage, and seeks help from Spider-Man, but Spider-Man refuses to work with Venom's violent methods.[41] Venom, accompanied by Black Cat, Cloak, Morbius and eventually a desperate Spider-Man,[42] repeatedly confront Carnage and his allies.[43][44][44][45][46] Venom ultimately tackles Carnage into high-voltage generators, rendering Carnage unconscious and allowing his capture by the Avengers. Brock goes into hiding.[47]

Brock returns in the 1994 limited series Separation Anxiety, in which he is captured and separated from the symbiote for a government research project. Venom's spawn: Phage, Lasher, Scream, Riot, and Agony are revealed to still be alive and arrive to free Brock,[48] seeking his help to gain control over their symbiotes.[49][50] Brock is ultimately reunited with the symbiote, but the experience forces him to evaluate his relationship with the costume.[51] The 1995 "Planet of the Symbiotes" event continued the narrative from Separation Anxiety, with Brock forcing the symbiote to leave him, concerned about how much influence it may be having on him.[17] The symbiote unleashes a telepathic scream of sorrow and pain that attracts the other members of its species to Earth.[17] The story follows the efforts of Brock, Spider-Man, and Scarlet Spider to stop the invasion and defeat an escaped and empowered Carnage.[52][53][54] Brock is forced to bond completely and irrevocably with the symbiote in order to inflict psychic trauma on the symbiotes, causing them to commit suicide.[55]

Return to villainy[edit]

When Ann is shot by a new Sin-Eater, Brock forces the Symbiote to bond with her to heal her injuries.[56] In the process she temporarily becomes She-Venom but Brock demands the Symbiote return after Ann loses control and kills a pair of muggers, leaving Ann traumatized.[57] Brock helps kill the new Sin-Eater.[58] Ann is taken into custody by the police as they try to hunt Venom and Brock sends her his Symbiote so she can escape.[59][60] As She-Venom she again struggles to control herself, with Brock, Weying and current Spider-Man Ben Reilly becoming caught in the middle of a joint DEA/FBI operation against a major drug smuggler when Weying and Brock rendezvous at the same location where the drug group are meeting.[61] When Brock takes back the Symbiote, Anne tells him to keep himself and the Symbiote away from her after witnessing his brutality against the criminals.[62]

Brock is captured in his sewer hideout and put on trial, with Matt Murdock acting in his defense, his symbiote held in check by a chemical inhibitor.[63] Cletus Kassady is called as a witness, but when the case becomes heated both Kassady and Brock overcome their inhibitors.[64] Venom, Spider-Man, and Daredevil team up and subdue Carnage. However, before the trial can continue Venom is unexpectedly taken into custody by a secret government organization offering him amnesty in exchange for him becoming their agent.[65] Though Venom at first enjoyed his newfound immunities, he left after being abandoned during a dangerous mission.[66] After receiving a head wound, Eddie suffers amnesia. He is later separated from the symbiote, which is presumed killed by the government Overreach Committee.[67]

The symbiote survives and tracks down the amnesiac Brock, turning him into Venom again. Venom infiltrates Ravencroft prison seeking Carnage and absorbs the Carnage Symbiote.[68] Brock temporarily joins the Sinister Six to get Spider-Man but after being betrayed by them,[69] he begins hunting down the members for revenge. He ultimately cripples Sandman by biting him and taking out a chunk of his mass, leading to Sandman's apparent death.[70] He also causes serious wounds to Electro and Kraven the Hunter.[volume & issue needed]

Venom's rivalry with Spider-Man is renewed when Ann, who lives in fear since bonding with the Symbiote, commits suicide after seeing Brock become Venom. Venom however, believes Spider-Man swinging by Ann's window in his black costume to be the cause.[71] Before he can take revenge however, the Symbiote is forcefully removed from him by the human/alien hybrid Senator Ward in order to learn more about symbiosis.[72] An alien race, secretly operating within the United States government, clones the Venom symbiote. Venom absorbs the clone, gains its knowledge, and decides to carry out the aliens' orders.[73]

Cancer and post-Venom[edit]

Eddie Brock, separated from the symbiote, dying from cancer in Sensational Spider-Man vol. 2 #39 (August 2007).

The 2003 story "The Hunger" introduced new elements to Brock's origin, revealing that Brock had cancer before joining with the symbiote, and that it chose to bond with Brock not only for his hatred towards Spider-Man, but also because the cancer causes the release of adrenaline, which sustains the symbiote. Brock is left reliant on the suit to live, and pursues Spider-Man out of fear that he will take the symbiote back, rather than for revenge over his lost career.[74] Brock dies after the symbiote leaves him for Spider-Man, not wanting a diseased host. Spider-Man tricks the symbiote into again bonding with Brock, reviving him.[74]

When Carnage gives birth to a new symbiote, Venom names it Toxin and hopes to turn it into an ally.[75] When Toxin shows compassion, Venom tries to kill him.[76] Toxin is rescued by Spider-Man and Black Cat.[77]

In the 2004 story "Venomous", Brock experiences a crisis of faith and decides to sell the symbiote, knowing he will rapidly die from his cancer without it, intending to donate the $100 million received from the sale to charity on the grounds that the symbiote would find another host once he dies anyway.[78] The symbiote is purchased by crime boss Don Fortunato for his son Angelo Fortunato.[79] Angelo briefly becomes the second Venom but proves an unworthy host, and the symbiote abandons him mid-jump allowing him to fall to his death. Upon learning of Angelo's death, Brock feels responsible and attempts suicide by slitting his wrists.[80] Brock next appeared in the 2007 story "The Last Temptation of Eddie Brock", where he is rapidly succumbing to cancer, and experiencing hallucinations of "Venom". Finding a comatose Aunt May in the same hospital, dying from a gunshot, the Venom hallucination persuades him to kill her. Brock, dressed in a novelty replica of Spider-Man's black costume at the demand of "Venom",[81] murders a nurse to test if he can still kill, but ultimately refuses to kill May because she is innocent. When Peter visits May, he finds Eddie, who has repeatedly cut his own wrists to get rid of "Venom". Eddie asks for Peter's forgiveness before jumping out of a window, but Peter manages to catch him. Awakening chained to his bed, Brock finds he can still see "Venom" but tells him that he accepts its presence as long as it knows that Brock is in control.[82]

Anti-Venom[edit]

Eddie Brock's first appearance as Anti-Venom

The 2008 story "New Ways to Die" features the return of Brock. Matt Murdock convinces a court of law that Brock is not responsible for his actions while bonded to the symbiote and has criminal charges against him dropped.[83] Brock gets a job at a soup kitchen under Martin Li. Brock is unknowingly cured of his cancer by Li, who possesses special abilities, and Brock believes it to be a miracle.[83] After Brock is attacked by the new Venom, Mac Gargan, the symbiote attempts to reunite with Brock. Brock's skin becomes caustic to the symbiote, and he is enveloped in a new white symbiote forged from the remnants of the Venom symbiote in his body bonding with his white blood cells charged with Li's healing energy,[83] becoming Anti-Venom. Brock defeats Gargan and nearly kills the Venom symbiote. When Brock detects remnants of the symbiote inside Spider-Man, he attempts to "cure" him, draining radiation from his body and nearly de-powering him.[84] While later saving Spider-Man from Norman Osborn, Brock again fights a battle-suit enhanced Gargan and the recovering symbiote.[85][86] Gargan hits Anti-Venom with his stinger, injecting a poisonous formula that seemingly destroys Brock's suit. When Gargan attempts to kill Brock, the Venom symbiote stops him. Brock's Anti-Venom suit later reforms.[86]

Brock later faces the villain Mister Negative and discovers that he and Li are the same person. Learning that the man he idolized is a supervillain causes a breakdown for Brock, making him question his faith, referring to himself as a monster.[87] After this revelation he becomes increasingly unstable mentally, murdering small-time criminals as he did during his "lethal protector" days. He briefly and reluctantly teams up with the Punisher to stop a drug cartel that kidnapped a friend of Brock's.[88] In "The Return of Anti-Venom" (2011), Brock is unable to expose Negative's true identity, believing no one will trust him. Anti-Venom starts a crusade against Negative, attacking his criminal operations.[89] When Anti-Venom realizes that May Parker also knows Negative's identity, he decides to attack Negative directly before Negative can silence her.[89] Brock teams up with Spider-Man and the new Wraith to fight Negative. Wraith uses her technology to publicly reveal Mister Negative is Martin Li, sending him into hiding. Spider-Man and Anti-Venom call a truce to their rivalry.[90]

In a 2011 New Avengers storyline, Brock joins Wonder Man's Revengers to destroy the New Avengers.[91] During the 2011 "Spider-Island" storyline in which 99% of New York City's population are transformed into mind-controlled spiders, Brock is forced to sacrifice the symbiote—and being Anti-Venom—so that it can be converted into a powerful curative capable of healing the infected millions.[92][93][94]

Later, a new Anti-Venom is seen in the crowd of new heroes attending a "self help" style seminar being held by Roderick Kingsley (the first Hobgoblin). All the new heroes have been given heroic personas by Kingsley that already exist but are no longer used. It is not shown whether the new Anti-Venom is indeed a symbiote or just a man in a suit designed to look like the original symbiote, however the speech bubble used for the character is stylized in a way to suggest a distortion of the characters voice similar to the way Eddie Brock spoke when he had the Anti-Venom symbiote.[95]

Bonded to Toxin[edit]

A powerless Brock returns in Venom vol. 2 #15 (2012), where he kills the symbiotes Hybrid and Scream as part of a crusade to destroy the aliens entirely, believing them to be evil.[96] After failing to kill the newest Venom, Brock is captured by the villain Crime Master and forcibly bonded with the Toxin symbiote.[97] Brock (who is being controlled by the Toxin symbiote) then tracks down Venom and attempts to kill him, but is defeated.[98] Eddie and Agent Venom face off once more at Crime Master's HQ, and Flash is able to subdue Toxin and separate Eddie from the symbiote using a flamethrower. Just before Flash can get Eddie out, the Toxin symbiote grabs hold of him and drags him into the flames.[99] Eddie and the Toxin symbiote both survive the flames and track Flash to Philadelphia.[100] Now in control of the Toxin symbiote, he confronts Flash in the high school where he works as a gym teacher.[101] After helping Flash defend the students from a group of cybernetic parasites, Eddie forms a truce with him, promising to leave Flash alone as long as he has the Venom symbiote under control (similar to the truce he had with Spider-Man). Eddie subsequently leaves Philadelphia to resume his vigilante activities.[102]

Hunting Carnage[edit]

While fighting a drug cartel, Brock is approached by FBI agent Claire Dixon and invited to join the team she has assembled in order to hunt down and capture Cletus Kasady, which also includes John Jameson, and Manuela Calderon, a survivor of one of Kasady's massacres, although Brock secretly plans to kill Kasady.[103] After Kasady's defeat, Brock gives up the Toxin symbiote.[104]

Return as Venom[edit]

Eddie Brock decides to help the FBI against the new villainous Venom. With the FBI and Spider-Man, Brock is able to separate the symbiote from its new host, Lee Price. In the process, Spider-Man's actions cause the symbiote to rekindle its previous hatred for him. Brock then breaks the symbiote out of custody and bonds with it again.[105] After stopping a robbery, Brock encounters Scorpion and manages to defeat him, until the symbiote takes him to a church and reveals that it attacked the priest. After finding out about a monster attack, Brock encounters a dinosaur at the church and discovers it belongs to Alchemax. While talking to Alchemax's CEO Liz Allan, he learns that the mastermind is Stegron the Dinosaur Man. Brock then finds his lair, but is spotted and captured by Stegron's dinosaurs.[106] Venom found that remnants of Stegron's Dinosaur People experiments were living in the sewers, and he had to defend them from Kraven the Hunter, Shriek, and the NYPD. With help from Tana of the Dinosaur People, Venom states to the NYPD that the Dinosaur People were surviving in the sewers and that they weren't killing anyone. Upon hearing this, the NYPD arrest Kraven the Hunter and Shriek with the police captain stating that he will have a lot of paperwork to file on this.[107]

During the Venom Inc. storyline, Eddie helps Spider-Man, Black Cat, and Flash Thompson (now under the guise of Agent Anti-Venom) take down Lee Price again, who had bonded himself with Venom’s clone Mania and was using it to take over the New York criminal underground. In the ensuing battle Venom absorbs Mania. Eddie then tells Black Cat to give up her criminal empire, telling her that New York City always needs more heroes.[108][109]

In the "Go Down Swinging" storyline, Eddie is blackmailed by J. Jonah Jameson into helping defend Spider-Man’s inner circle against Norman Osborn, who has bonded himself with the Carnage symbiote to become the Red Goblin. Jameson sends Eddie to defend Mary Jane Watson at the Stark Tower Complex and while she doesn’t trust him, Mary Jane disables Stark Tower’s anti symbiote defenses to allow Eddie to fight Norman. Spider-Man arrives and teams up again with Eddie to stop Red Goblin, but the villain overpowers them both. With nothing left to offer in the fight against Osborn and Carnage, Eddie allows Peter to take the Venom symbiote for himself to even the odds against his foe. Because of his offering and valiant defense of Mary Jane, Spider-Man forgives Eddie for everything he had done to him in the past.[110]

In Venom First Host, Venom after gave birth to its last offspring, Eddie gets attacked by a Warbride Skrull until a Kree intervened and started battling the Skrull. Eddie got convinced by the symbiote to save the "blue skin", stopped the Skrull and saved the Kree. At Alchemax, the Kree revealed to Eddie that his name is Tel-Kar and that he was Venom's first host. When the symbiote refused to go back to Tel-Kar, infuriated Tel-Kar threatened them that he would kill the offspring if he didn't get "his" symbiote back. Venom who loved it's child got back with Tel-Kar and then he went to his spaceship. Then Eddie confronted the Skrull who had attacked them and sad to him that she is M'Lanz and she was tasked to stop Tel-Kar. She reveals to Eddie that Tel-Kar's body got biologically altered so he would have full control over Venom's mind. Then the offspring bonded to Eddie calling itself Sleeper and him with M'Lanz went after Tel-Kar. They went to a Skrull research lab which contained a deadly bioweapon which Tel-Kar had planned to used it on the Skrulls. When battling Tel-Kar, he separates himself from Venom because he didn't need it anymore allowing Eddie to re-bond with Venom and Sleeper bonding to M'Lanz leaving Tel-Kar to explode with the lab by the Kree Empire. After M'Lanz leaves Eddie with the symbiotes to Earth, Eddie cut any connection to Alchemax and him and Harry Osborn talk for a little bit. Then Tel-Kar shows up in Eddie's apartment and threatens to kill him and the humanity using the bioweapon but Sleeper steals the weapon and Tel-Kar tried to Sleeper but Venom intervened and got injured. Eddie rushes to Tel-Kar throwing both of them out in the street. Suddenly Sleeper bonds to Tel-Kar lobotomizing him. Then Sleeper with Tel-Kar's body bids Eddie farewell and leaves Earth to explore the cosmos. [111]

In the Venom ongoing series, Eddie is seen struggling with the symbiote, which has returned to its violent ways. Using anti-depressants, Eddie is able to calm the symbiote and reassert control over it. While working as a freelance photographer he stumbles upon an arms deal between a gang of criminals and the mercenary Jack O'Lantern. The deal turns violent and Eddie uses the symbiote to take down Jack. The symbiote then completely overtakes Eddie, compelled by a mysterious external influence, nearly killing Jack in the process before being subdued and captured by a man named Rex Strickland. Strickland tells Eddie that despite what was previously thought, the Venom symbiote was not the first to arrive on Earth. Strickland explains that the US Government bonded special forces operatives to symbiotes during the Vietnam War. These soldiers later went rogue, and Eddie is tasked with rescuing them and defeating their symbiotes. Though Eddie is able to locate the Strickland’s men, his symbiote is again taken over by the mysterious outside influence and briefly separates from him. The symbiote again bonds with Eddie and tells him that “God is coming”.[112]

Soon afterward, a massive dragon made up of thousands of symbiotes attacks New York City. Eddie resolves to stop the monster before it destroys the city. Before he can intervene he is attacked by Miles Morales, who uses his “Venom Blast” ability to break Venom out of the symbiote “god’s” influence. Miles and Eddie form a temporary truce, and the two manage to temporarily stop the symbiote god’s rampage. The symbiote god then reveals itself as a being named Knull. Knull separates Eddie from his symbiote, promising to purge the influence of humanity from it.[113] But then Miles attacked Knull and both Eddie with Venom and Miles started falling until Venom grew a pair of wings and saved Eddie and Miles. After leaving Miles behind, Eddie went to Rex and put a hole in his head revealing that Rex was actually the which was bonded to the original Rex Strickland. After that they tricked the dragon to come to them and started attacking it with sonic based weapons weakening it. Then Eddie puts the dragon with Rex in the furnace and incinerated it to death, while Eddie and Venom got wounded in the process. [114]

Eddie Brock after getting recovered, he's interrogated by the Maker about the incident revolving around the Grendel symbiote and Knull while stating that he is not the Mister Fantastic that he is familiar with. In addition, he also talked about how the Venom symbiote was in a feral state. When Maker throws a scalpel at Eddie Brock, the Venom symbiote emerges from his shirt and catches it. Though the Venom symbiote is currently brain dread. When Eddie asks Maker if he would be able to restore it, Maker states that the only way to do that is to connect it to the Symbiote hive mind and the last person to do that was the late Flash Thompson. As Maker comments that he has ways of extracting the information he needs, Eddie asks in a distraught voice if Flash is really dead.[115]

Powers and abilities[edit]

Brock is a human and has no superhuman powers without the Symbiote. Prior to joining with the Symbiote, he possesses olympic-level strength from engaging in repeated, significant weight-training exercise.[19][38] After separating from the Symbiote and suffering from cancer, Brock loses much of his physical muscle and possesses the strength of an average human.[2][81] Brock's cancer is cured in the 2008 story "New Ways to Die", and he is later shown with a restored large physique.[116] He is also shown to be proficient in combat and capable of using specialized weaponry to defeat symbiote-empowered enemies.[117]

As Venom[edit]

As Venom, Brock gains several abilities similar to those of Spider-Man, the Symbiote's former host, including superhuman strength, speed, agility and reflexes as well as the ability to adhere to most surfaces with his hands and feet. The Symbiote is also able to project a web-like substance from its body, similar to Spider-Man's. However, this webbing is produced organically by the Symbiote from its own mass, which means that overuse can weaken the alien until it is able to regenerate.[19] The Symbiote can also send out tendrils which can be used to grab or manipulate items from a distance.[28] When bonded with the host, the Symbiote allows the host to bypass Spider-Man's spider-sense, preventing the hero from sensing attacks. The Symbiote is susceptible to harm from high-pitched sonic frequencies which can cause it to be severely weakened or killed. The bond between the Symbiote and Brock was strong enough that using sonics against the Symbiote could also stun and kill Brock.[19]

Venom's body is highly resistant to injury, capable of outright stopping bladed weapons,[118] bullets,[28] and it can help its host survive in hostile environments by filtering air, allowing survival underwater[32] and in toxic environments. Venom can also morph his appearance, to create disguises at will,[19][28] and camouflage itself,[18] even emulating water.[32] It is also capable of psychically detecting its offspring; however, this ability can be blocked.[33] This sense can be used by Brock even when separated from the suit, allowing him to detect and be detected by the Symbiote and its children.[49][50] The Symbiote is capable of healing any injury and illness at an increased rate, allowing the host to survive otherwise-mortal damage.[56] The Symbiote and host are capable of sharing knowledge, the Symbiote being able to pass on information from previous hosts to future ones.[79]

As Anti-Venom[edit]

Anti-Venom is created when the healing energies of Martin Li cause Brock's white-blood cells and traces of the Venom Symbiote still within his body to combine into a new suit composed of human/alien hybrid antibodies possessing powerful restorative abilities.[83][85] Brock is capable of rapidly healing significant injury as Anti-Venom, recovering almost instantly after being shot in the head and suffering damage to his brain.[90][119] However, this healing ability can be negated by the energy of Mr. Negative, counteracting the energy of Martin Li.[90] Anti-Venom is able to detect when others are ill[116] and "cure" or "cleanse" them. He is able to cure ailments from hepatitis to removing narcotics and even radiation from a person's body.[116][120] Following a failed attempt to "cure" Spider-Man by removing the radiation in his body, Anti-Venom now automatically cancels out Spider-Man's powers whenever the two are in close proximity to one another.[89][120]

As Anti-Venom, Brock's suit is corrosive to the Venom symbiote, inflicting pain and damage on the suit to the point of causing it to dissolve.[84][121] He displays similar abilities to Venom, possessing super strength, speed,[122] negating Spider-Man's spider-sense,[121] and being able to block damage entirely from some guns and knives.[119][122] He is also capable of extending and morphing the suit to create disguises,[120] form items such as shields,[116] extend his reach,[89] attack from a distance,[122] and create tendrils.[116] Anti-Venom is also immune to the weaknesses of the Venom Symbiote, showing no damage or effect from direct blasts of fire, heat and sound.[119][120] The only shown weaknesses of the Symbiote are a highly toxic "super venom" created as a direct countermeasure using remnants of Anti-Venom's suit, and Mr. Negative's energy.[85] The "super venom" causes the suit to immediately dissolve.[86] Mr. Negative is shown capable of using his energy to weaken or nullify the healing abilities of the suit.[90]

Reception[edit]

Eddie Brock has been the subject of fan productions. Truth in Journalism, a fan made short film by producer Adi Shankar and director and writer Joe Lynch, starring Ryan Kwanten as Brock. The film is described as "a darkly comic combination of 1980s era Spider-Man comics and the cult Belgian mockumentary Man Bites Dog".[123]

Other versions[edit]

The character appears in several alternate universe titles in which the character's history, circumstances and behavior may vary slightly or extensively from the mainstream setting.

In other media[edit]

Television[edit]

  • The Eddie Brock version of Venom appeared in the Spider-Man TV series, voiced by Hank Azaria.[citation needed] Eddie was a journalist working for the Daily Bugle until he is fired for his actions by J. Jonah Jameson. He becomes Venom, and seeks revenge against Spider-Man because he believes Spider-Man ruined his journalism career.[124]
  • The Eddie Brock version of Venom appeared in the sequel series Spider-Man Unlimited, voiced by Brian Drummond.[citation needed] By this time, the Venom Symbiote has merged completely with Brock and he attempts to conquer Counter-Earth alongside Carnage with an invasion of Symbiotes. Eddie himself is briefly separated from Venom in the episode "One is the Loneliest Number".[124]
  • The Eddie Brock version of Venom appears in The Spectacular Spider-Man animated series, voiced by Benjamin Diskin.[125] He is portrayed as the childhood friend of Peter Parker and also a friend of Gwen Stacy, he attended Midtown High where he was Peter’s senior and defended Peter from Flash Thompson. While initially close friends with Peter and Gwen, a series of misunderstandings causes Brock to eventually resent Peter. Brock loses his research job studying the Symbiote after it bonds with Spider-Man, causing Brock to later hate Spider-Man as well. Spider-Man attempts to destroy the Symbiote after discovering its negative influence, but Brock frees the alien and bonds with the organism, turning himself into Venom.
  • The Eddie Brock incarnation of Venom appears in Marvel's Spider-Man,[126] voiced by Ben Pronsky.[127] Eddie Brock first appears in the episode "How I Thwipped My Summer Vacation" where J. Jonah Jameson gets mad at him for not providing a better quality picture of Spider-Man. In the episode "Take Two," Eddie gets angry at Peter Parker for providing J. Jonah Jameson with the footage of Spider-Man fighting the Wild Pack at Horizon High. Eddie became the latest host of the Venom symbiote in the episode "Dead Man's Hand" while taking pictures of the alien in a Space Administration building. Eddie (as Venom) battles Peter in the latter's neighborhood, only being defeated due to Miles Morales' interference. Eddie evades capture and begins his crusade against Peter for ruining his career. He takes Gwen Stacy, Jameson, May Parker, Max Modell, and Anya Corazon hostage in the episode "Venom Returns". He exposes Spider-Man's true identity to Jameson, but Morales wore Peter's spare costume to refute the claim. Eddie was defeated and imprisoned after Peter used an experimental sonic device to destabilize the symbiote. However, the symbiote remains bonded onto Eddie due to their shared hatred for Spider-Man.

Film[edit]

Topher Grace played Eddie Brock in Spider-Man 3.
  • Eddie Brock / Venom appears in Spider-Man 3 (2007) played by Topher Grace.[128] Brock is a freelance photographer who is fired from his job when Peter Parker exposes his use of a fake photograph of Spider-Man. Brock encounters the symbiote and becomes Venom. After learning that Parker is Spider-Man, Venom seeks an alliance with Sandman in order to kill Spider-Man. Instead, Spider-Man tears the symbiote from Brock and destroys it with a bomb. Brock attempts to re-bond with it and dies in the explosion.
Tom Hardy portrayed Eddie Brock in the solo film Venom.

Video games[edit]

Novels[edit]

  • A wrestling fan in Spider-Man (2002) played by R.C. Everbeck is identified as Eddie Brock in the film's novelization.[167]

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