Between the Marvel and DC universes, you could count anywhere from 17,000 up to over 80,000 comic book characters, depending on what you classify as a character. With out of control numbers like that, it would be easy to lose count of who goes where and sometimes even what side they are on. Venom, being an anti-hero, is no exception. So, does he belong to Marvel or DC?
Even though Venom isn’t always sure of how he feels about his ultimate enemy, he has always been grounded in only one universe. You can rest assured that both Venom and Spider-Man are long haulers for Marvel.
Evolution of a Symbiote
As if releasing The Amazing Spider-Man’s 300th issue wasn’t enough, a soon-to-be infamous character made his grand debut onto the pages. That symbiote’s name was Venom, brought to you by his physical host, Eddie Brock. The year was 1988 when we first met this alien/human pairing, but that wasn’t the first time we were introduced to the idea of a symbiote.
Four years and 48 Spider-Man issues earlier, a species not from earth was seen as a sort of costume and called a symbiote. This wearable being picked Peter Parker as his original host, which took six issues before Spider-Man was able to free himself from the symbiote. It was not until that fateful comic in ’88 that the alien found Eddie Brock and became the Venom we know and, sometimes, love.
Before Venom came to earth to embody Venom, he was actually from a larger group of parasites that had a different idea in mind. The reality was Venom was cast out because he didn’t agree with the tactics of the relatives of his home race. Their goal was to use a host until there was nothing left. Venom wanted to combine forces, so to speak. The one benefit of being subjected to symbiote life is that the body is instantly transformed with abilities. The inherited propensity depended upon the symbiote doing the power transfer.
Is Venom good or bad?
Just like how it’s confusing to figure out which house each of the thousands of comic heroes belongs to, it’s also a head-scratcher to properly define Venom’s intentions. His anti-hero status might be the aspect of this character that makes him so popular. Unlike many other comic characters, Venom should not be viewed as all good or all bad. For a half-alien, Venom sure feels more human with his relatable struggles. That probably has a lot to do with communication and force joining with Eddie.
Early on in his comic book appearances, it’s clear that Venom views Spider-Man as his enemy. However, as time moves forward, his resolve to destroy our friendly neighborhood hero lessens. There are even times when, against his inclination, Venom helps Spider-Man. A person who is still learning or a sociopath? That’s for you to decide.
So, what exactly does it mean to be an anti-hero? Well, the best way to describe it is that the world is not only black or white. Society has far more gray than the absolutes and that’s a solid way to see someone like Venom. He doesn’t have attributes that most would associate with a superhero, such as a clear understanding of right and wrong, courage, or even empathy.
It’s not uncommon to see an anti-hero with good intentions but with the inability to get there legitimately. In a weird way, the only way Venom operates, the symbiote had good intentions towards Eddie Brock. This was due to their bond over a shared disdain for Spider-Man. Well, you know what they say, nothing bonds people like a common enemy.
Venom Can’t Take Rejection
If you’re wondering why Venom was able to bond with Eddie over their mutual feelings for Spider-Man, you’re not alone. With as weird of a relationship as they have, many wonder where it all started. From the beginning, the symbiote half of the dynamic duo was rejected not once, but twice. As mentioned, we first learned about him and his alien species years before he clashed for life with Eddie. He was on a mission to make Spider-Man his human host. Spidey was not down for that, either time an attempt was made.
What about Brock? Well, he has long blamed Spider-Man for ruining his life. A lot of his anger can be attributed to Eddie Brock losing a career in journalism he had been building upon. He saw Spider-Man as the one who brought on his downfall without taking proper responsibility for the fallout of his own reporting. Spider-Man made public that the villain known as Sin-Eater was someone named Stanley Carter. Unfortunately, Eddie had been promoting interviews with someone else who claimed to be Sin-Eater. When it blew up in his face, he made the superhero his new target.
Are there symbiotes in DC?
We are now positive that Venom is all Marvel, so are there any alien costumes like him in the DC universe? Yes, there certainly are. Symbiotes are parasites, after all, and they need hosts. What better host to suck the energy out of than a superhero? Since Marvel does not have a monopoly on those, we are sure to find some interesting human/host combinations here.
One of the more well-known occurrences of a symbiotic experience involves DC’s Green Lantern. A lifeform known as the Parallax took over Hal Jordan and turned him into a villain that could change the present and mess with time itself. Parallax is actually one of the most dangerous characters in all of DC.
Another example is when Batman was being merged with the Blackrock symbiote. The abilities he picked up were being able to project and soak up energy, flight, and superman strength, to name a few. Speaking of super, he used those traits to go after Superman. What a mess. That was not the last time Batman would come face to face with a symbiote.
Is there a character equivalent to Marvel’s Venom in DC?
One of the best comparisons to Venom for DC has been Man-Bat. Similar to the dynamic between Venom and Spider-Man, Man-Bat and Batman are continuously at odds with one another. At the start, Man-Bat is a creature that Gotham’s Dr. Langstrom turns into. Man-Bat begins to speak to the doctor in a way comparable to the communication between Venom and Eddie Brock.
In addition to providing Langstrom with powers, Man-Bat is kind of twisting normal ideals in his host’s head. Ultimately, choosing power over everything in his life, to the point there is no differentiating between the two separate entities.
Marvel’s Future With Venom
The relationship between Venom and Spider-Man has interested and, at times, confused readers for decades. Spidey was bombarded by Venom as a symbiote and then later as a pair with Eddie Brock. That started them out as enemies and kept them that way for a while. As with most things in the comic world, the angst between them cooled. That was probably perpetuated by the arrival of Carnage, another symbiote pairing. In order to keep the demented plans from coming to fruition, the two joined forces against Carnage. A sort of ceasing to ruin Spider-Man’s life emerged.
It’s hard to tell how things will fluctuate from here on out for Venom, but perhaps this is the start of a beautiful friendship. Or not.
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