A Taste of What’s to Come?
Venom Inc kicks off the Venom/Spider-Man crossover in a big way. But its timing is also curious with respect to the upcoming Venom film. Even though Sony's Spider-Verse will operate without Spider-Man as a keystone, at least for the moment, it might include a surplus of symbiotes. The film is focused on Eddie Brock, and Tom Hardy recently confirmed the Venom: Lethal Protector six-parter as the script's key influence. Written by David Michelinie and drawn by Mark Bagley, the story debuted the anti-hero "pair" in 1993. The storyline also featured sinister corporate string-pullers, the Life Foundation, who used Venom spawns, Scream, Agony, Lasher, Rio, and Phage to advance their agenda.
Director Ruben Fleischer (Zombieland) also recently confirmed Hardy's reveal, noting the film's other influence as the 5-part storyline, Planet of the Symbiotes. In the 1995 miniseries, also written by Michelinie, Earth is invaded by symbiotes, forcing Spider-Man and Venom to form yet another wary alliance. It features, once again, Scream, Agony, and their cohorts, as well as Peter Parker's clone, Ben Reilly, as the Scarlet Spider. While Reilly and the children of Venom aren't confirmed, the implications point towards something multiversal –as well as the presence of more than enough symbiotes to spread around.
Some fans have already speculated the Life Foundation will be responsible for birthing the film's main adversary, Carnage (possibly played by Riz Ahmed or maybe Woody Harrelson). The group could then unwittingly unleash a swarm of symbiotes in Sony's Spider-Verse, setting up their own Peter Parker-lite Spider-Verse and corresponding nicely with Marvel’s recent mini-event, the Venom-Verse. The return of Anti-Venom in the comics could also lay the groundwork for future Spider-Verse crossovers between both movie universes.
Although unlikely, the Anti-Venom-swap could set things up for a Flash Thompson-based symbiote in the MCU, perhaps establishing his new identity and a potential role with the Guardians of the Galaxy. The full extent of Sony and Marvel's usage agreement is unclear, but Marvel often frames future studio projects with comic book events (such as the Planet Hulk sequel released during Thor: Ragnarok's theatrical run). With the original Lethal Protector team reunited and Flash suited up again, Marvel may be hinting at something very symbiotic in the MCU's future as well.
Admittedly, Marvel's comic book and film divisions operate on separate wavelengths, especially with regards to Sony's own shared universe. The return of a Flash-based Anti-Venom is probably just a fun MU switcheroo. Still, Marvel has roughly a decade of world-building under its belt and knows how to bait the hook. Somehow, all their recent Klyntar activity doesn't seem like a coincidence.
Amazing Spider-Man & Venom: Venom Inc. Alpha # 1 is currently available. Venom Inc continues in Amazing Spider-Man #692 on December 13th.
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