Warning: Contains SPOILERS for Venom #6
The continuing adventures of Venom, since the symbiote’s return to Earth, have been a real roller-coaster. Separated from his previous host, highfalutin Guardian of the Galaxy and Agent Venom's Flash Thompson for indeterminate reasons, Venom is desperate for new life forces. As its own essence ebbed away, it stumbled across a down-on-his-luck former Army Ranger, Lee Price, who was literally caught in the crossfire of a gangland deal gone bad.
Now bonded with Price, Venom found itself biting off more than it could chew, psychologically anyway. It turns out Price wasn’t the heroic vet (like previous host, Thompson) the Klyntar alien had been searching for. Not only that, but its criminally ambitious new host had extensive military training which allowed him mental control over their powerful conjoined form. Just as the latest saga is finally about to reveal a little more about the morally ambivalent merc, Lee's time with Venom seems to have come to an end, especially once Spider-Man gets into the fray.
Venom #6 finds the symbiote coming full circle, as his first host, Peter Parker, is cajoled into doing something really unpleasant to his one-time second skin.
Eddie Brock Sets a Trap
Venom's return to Earth was, for the most part, a secret. Only Price, the symbiote, and a pair of FBI agents were aware of the changing of the guard, aside from presumably Flash Thompson – something Venom #150 will likely explore further. An emotionally unstable Klyntar isn't easy to keep under wraps though. Before long, a crooked Fed tipped off Black Cat’s right-hand man, who sent Mac Gargan as Scorpion to kill Price and potentially reclaim or capture the creature. However, their brawl in an apartment complex spilled over onto social media, which is where our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man got involved.
After a pitched battle between the trio, Spidey saved Gargan's life, and Venom fled in an FBI helicopter, which clearly cheesed off the Bureau. They reassembled their anti-symbiote task force – which was down to pretty much just Eddie Brock at the time, sending him and some backup after the rogue extraterrestrial. Now, with innocent lives at risk, Brock recruits his former adversary to help him catch the symbiote and put an end to things once and for all... or is that what Eddie Brock truly wants?
“Definitely Going to Hell…”
The plan is simple if ugly: Spider-Man's job is to convince the Klyntar that he wants to rejoin with it. Once it leaves its current host behind for its first terrestrial host, spurned or not, Brock and the Feds will blast it with sonic weapons and contain it. You’ve got to hand it to both men, they sure know their symbiote.
The plan works, even though Venom still struggles to leave Price’s control – removing itself by physically biting him and cutting him across the emotional underbelly, also revealing that he murdered his parents because he's "broken, weak, and hateful" inside. Spider-Man coaxes Venom to him, admitting under his breath that he's “definitely going to hell for this.” Once the symbiote is free and headed for its old host, the Feds hit with sonic blasts. Spidey traps it while the agents arrest Price.
The Web-head's deception will undoubtedly come back to bite him, since the symbiote repeats “I hate you,” like a scorned child. And sooner than later, since the closing moments of Venom #6 reveal that Eddie subdues a federal agent to get to the symbiote. Reunited, Brock and Venom swing away much to the dismay of the FBI and Spider-Man.
In a few short issues, Mike Costa’s run on Venom managed to establish a few curious elements. Despite finally digging up some interesting baggage for Lee Price, the latest host has seemingly been replaced, after being outed as little more than a relatively stock psychopath – a short-term carrier for the infamous symbiote – despite hints at something more. Of course, his role in the saga may not be complete yet either.
The progress made with Venom itself, however, is the most curious element of the latest volume. Previously, the symbiote was shown as either an outright villain or a passive-aggressive skin suit, bearing out the rage and hatred of its hosts. His time with Flash Thompson began to unveil new layers, but in the latest saga, fans discovered that it actually prefers being heroic (although it retains a formidably instinctual side).
Similarly, Eddie Brock got a bit of an overhaul during the 2000s, being remade as a cancer victim and an overall good guy, for the most part. His role Gerry Conway’s enjoyable and very Lovecraftian run on Carnage also showcased him in a heroic and sympathetic light, comparatively. While the Spider-hate will be in full-effect with the massive Venom event on the horizon – and let’s face it, a Venom event wouldn’t be right without some classic antagonism – hopefully the leaps and bounds in characterization won't be erased by the anniversary issue.
No matter what happens, all will be revealed in Venom #150.
Venom #6 is currently available. Venom #150 arrives May 24, 2017.