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Venom was a 2016 - 2018 comic written by Mike Costa as part of Marvel NOW! (2016) and Marvel Legacy, with artwork primarily by Gerardo Sandoval and Mark Bagley. Picking up where Venom: Space Knight left off, it saw the Venom symbiote being separated from Flash Thompson and ending up in the hands of the cruel former army ranger Lee Price before returning to Eddie Brock, struggling to overcome its worsening corruption with the help of Alchemax.

It was followed by Donny Cates' Venom, though the miniseries Venom: First Host served as an epilogue.


  • Absurdly Spacious Sewer: The sewers and storm drains of New York are spacious enough to play home to a village of dinosaur people that's so well-hidden that even Kraven the Hunter has trouble finding it.
  • Arc Welding:
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    • The Nativity arc ties into Gerry Conway's Carnage Vol. 2, with Claire Dixon having been resurrected by the Darkhold.
    • Venom: First Host tries to do this by revealing that the Venom symbiote fought in the Kree-Skrull War, which debuted in 1971's Avengers #89 and was expanded upon in 1975's #133; and its former host Tel-Kar was a victim of Ronan the Accusor's rise to power from 1967's Fantastic Four #65. It also touches upon Flash's activities as an Agent of the Cosmos from Venom: Space Knight.
  • Back from the Dead: Claire Dixon — who died at the end of Carnage Vol. 2 — was resurrected by the eldritch power of the Darkhold and returned in the final arc, attempting to capture Venom to bond the symbiote's latest offspring to Mac Gargan.
  • Brought Down to Badass:
    • Andi Benton was unceremoniously stripped of her symbiote by Lee Price, but retained the demonic abilities conferred to her by the Hell Mark. Despite having spent the entirety of Venom Inc. trying to get her symbiote back, she decided to leave it with Price, stating she was badass enough without it.
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    • Despite being stripped of the Venom symbiote by the FBI, Flash was willing to pick a fight with Eddie Brock to get it back; and after the ensuing argument, the Venom symbiote tried to bond to the both of them.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Eddie Brock starts Costa's run off as an FBI agent heading the Anti-Symbiote Task Force, inheriting Claire Dixon's mantle from Carnage Vol 2.
    • In Venom Inc., Scorpion's Inkling/Venomized form is identical to his Ven-orpion form from Amazing Spider-Man #792.
    • Maniac's initial monstrous form was nigh-identical to his Venom form from Vol. 3 — and was identical in Gerardo Sandoval's concept art; while his gigantic form resembles his symbiote's original appearance in Daniel Way's Venom run.
    • In Poison X, Killer Thrill and the Venom symbiote remember each other from their previous encounter in Deadpool: Back in Black.
    • Claire Dixon's return references the events of Carnage Vol. 2, with Mac Gargan's involvement referencing his time as Venom in the Thunderbolts and Dark Avengers.
  • Costume Inertia: Mac Gargan returns to his original costume after destroying his suit of powered armor in a symbiote-enduced panic attack.
  • The Corruptible: Leading off its cleansing being partially-undone at the end of Space Knight, the Venom symbiote starts undergoing Sanity Slippage as a result of bonding to Lee Price. After reuniting with Eddie, it starts relapsing into its bloodthirsty yandere state, which alarms him since he was aware it had become heroic while bonded to Flash. After learning that his messed-up metabolism is both slowly killing the symbiote and driving it insane, Eddie receives medication to prevent this process; but if he misses a dosage the symbiote rapidly succumbs to bloodlust and degenerates into a berserk feral state. Furthermore, it starts developing a resistance to the medication, leading to Eddie losing control and almost eating a corrupt cop and the Looter.
  • The Corruptor:
    • Lee Price's cruelty started to undo the Venom symbiote's cleansing from Space Knight, leading to it undergoing Sanity Slippage and slowly relapsing back into is Ax-Crazy self.
    • Eddie Brock unwittingly and unintentionally served as one in for the symbiote in the first two arcs, despite his best attempts to go straight and become a legit superhero: it's revealed that the FBI's Anti-Symbiote Task Force had marinated him with symbiote suppressant chemicals to the extent that his body became inhospitable to them, causing the Venom symbiote to physically and mentally degenerate unless it was regularly dosed with medication.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Shocker is surprised and delighted when he actually manages to defeat Venom,note  believing this to be a sign that his bad luck is turning around. He's promptly run over by a speeding cab.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him:
    • Killer Thrill is unceremoniously killed off when she's consumed by a Poison, which presumably perished after Venomized.
    • The Agents of the Cosmos from Venom: Space Knight were revealed to have been wiped out off-panel by the Poisons in Poison X, leaving Klyntar a barren wasteland; though Cullen Bunn stated on his Tumblr that he was open to the possibility of some of them having survived.
  • Evil Counterpart: Lee Price is one to Flash Thompson in that both of them are disabled military vets — Thompson missing his legs while Price was missing two fingers — from broken homes with abusive parents. Beyond that, they're completely different: Thompson was a hotheaded bully who sought to better himself, while Price was a cold and cruel thug who sought to accrue power from the shadows.
  • Going Commando: In the vision the Venom symbiote shows Spider-Woman of its various offspring and offshoots in #161, Andi Benton is depicted as being naked under the Mania symbiote, with Spider-Woman's arm acting as a Scenery Censor. In all her other appearances, however, she wears clothes under it.
  • Hidden Elf Village: After being freed from Stegron's control, the dinosaur-people decide to avoid contact with the human world and set up an isolated village in the bowels of New York's sewer system.
  • How We Got Here: The first issue of Venom Vol. 3 opens with the host-less Venom symbiote in an alley, bonding to a homeless old man out of desperation. It wasn't until Venom Vol. 1 #150 how it was separated from Flash came to be revealed.
  • Interspecies Romance: Costa frames Eddie's relationship to the symbiote as such — with it referring to their bonding as being akin to marriage, and with him calling it "Dear" and "My love."
  • Mythology Gag:
    • For Costa's run, Venom's appearance was primarily based on how Todd McFarlane originally drew him, with the symbiote growing more monstrous whenever it underwent Sanity Slippage.
    • The Lethal Protector arc is one to the original Lethal Protector miniseries, with Venom protecting an underground community isolated from the aboveground world.
    • When Eddie is stuck in space in Poison X, the symbiote adopts an armored appearance similar to Flash Thompson's Agent of the Cosmos appearance.
  • The Not-Love Interest:
    • Despite Eddie developing a crush on her, Liz is completely uninterested in him and hooks back up with her ex-husband Harry Osborn.
    • While the Skrull warrior M'lanz complements Eddie's muscular physique and combat skills, once their hunt for Tel-Kar is concluded she makes it clear that she never wants to see him or his symbiote again.
  • Out-of-Character Moment: Andi Benton spent the entirety of '"Venom Inc.'' trying to get her symbiote back from Lee Price... but in the final issue she abruptly decides she's badass enough without it and leaves it with him, making no effort to remove it from him after he's defeated.
  • Re-Power:
    • Flash Thompson was stripped of the Venom symbiote by the FBI and tracked it down to Eddie Brock. Unable to choose between its two favorite hosts, the symbiote tried to bond to both of them at the same time. When Spider-Man tried to kill the symbiote by dousing them in a serum derived from the Anti-Venom symbiote, this turned the half of the Venom symbiote that had bonded to Flash into a replica of the Anti-Venom symbiote.
    • Lee Price lost the Venom symbiote at the end of Venom Vol. 3, but after getting out of jail he beat the snot out of Mania to steal her symbiote and become Maniac.
    • Lee Price infected Mac Gargan with part of the Maniac symbiote to see what it would do to the remnants of the Venom symbiote inside him, transforming the Scorpion into Ven-orpion.
  • Retcon:
    • Venom: Space Knight established that Venom's first host — long before it bonded to Spider-Man — had been an Ax-Crazy alien living on an icy planet; with various comments — including from the symbiote itself — referring to it as "ancient" and indicating that it was centuries, if not millennia, old. Venom: First Host reveals that its first host was actually a Kree soldier named Tel-Kar, who erased its memories of him prior to their separation,note  whereupon it was marooned on the ice-planet.
    • Venom: The Hunger established that Eddie had never seriously meant to carry out his Brain Food threats, going out of his way to avoid eating people. Tying in to allusions made in Cullen Bunn's run — Mike Costa establishes that Eddie had succumbed to the symbiote's bloodlust and eaten people during his original tenure with it, and had intended to show Venom doing so in the comic itself.
  • Sadistic Choice:
    • After separating from Lee Price, the Venom symbiote tries to bond to FBI Agent Wambaugh. Wambaugh's partner, Coyle Bagman, fatally shoots Price — forcing the symbiote to choose between upholding its new dedication to preserving all life or getting away from an evil host who is starting to corrupt it. Unfortunately, it chooses the former and rebonds to Price in order to save him.
    • When Flash Thompson and Eddie Brock got into a fight over who was the better Venom, the symbiote was literally and figuratively torn between its two favorite hosts and tried to bond to both of them at the same time.
  • Sanity Slippage: After bonding to Lee Price, the Venom symbiote began losing its eloquence and relapsing into its bloodthirsty corrupted state. After re-bonding to Eddie, his damaged metabolism worsened the process and led to it going berserk on a number of occasions; and even after his metabolism is fixed it doesn't regain its former eloquence.
  • Series Continuity Error:
    • FBI Agent Wambaugh is shocked to see the Venom symbiote is no longer bonded to Flash Thompson and has returned to villainy, despite being revealed to have been the one who separated the symbiote from Flash in the first place.
    • Eddie's statement that for years he dreamed of reuniting with the Venom symbiote makes no sense given that he was obsessed with killing it as Anti-Venom, his brief stint as a normal human, and as Toxin; and when it tried to rebond to him during Spider-Island he was crying Tears of Fear and desperately struggling to rip it off.
    • In Venom #154, the symbiote blames Mac Gargan for corrupting it into a bloodthirsty monster; but in Thunderbolts the symbiote was already a bloodthirsty monster, and it was the one who corrupted Gargan.
    • Poison X, Venomized, and Venom: First Host portray Klyntar as a normal planet where all the life-forms are bonded to or comprised of symbiotes, with the Poisons explicitly being stated to have taken all of them. This runs counter to Guardians of the Galaxy, wherein Klyntar was stated to be a planet comprised of symbiotes.
    • In Venom #160, Lee Price reabsorbs the pieces of the Maniac symbiote he'd dispersed and transforms into his Venom form from Volume 3. The next issue, Venom Inc. Omega — illustrated by Ryan Stegman — has him resemble the Maniac symbiote's original appearance from Danial Way's Venom series.
  • Ship Tease:
    • In Venom Inc., Black Cat flirtatiously calls Eddie her "lucky guy", and the symbiote acts as a Shipper on Deck between them despite Eddie being worried she still holds a grudge for when they almost killed her during their super-villain days.
    • Eddie flirts with Liz Allan throughout Venom, though she expresses no romantic interest in him whatsoever.
    • The cover of First Host #3 shows Eddie and M'lanz making out, though nothing like that occurs in the story itself (M'lanz does comment on Eddie's impressive physique, though).
  • Shout-Out: Venom #154 has the symbiote watch a thinly-veiled parody of House, complete with reference to the "mouse bites" meme.
  • Sociopathic Soldier:
    • Lee Price was a former army ranger whose callousness unnerved even the likes of Mac Gargan. When he got the Venom symbiote, he immediately killed everyone who witnessed him bonding to it — including his childhood friend, mentally dominated and abused it — causing it to start to relapse into its corrupted state, and signed on with Black Cat's crew as an enforcer. When his plans to operate from the shadows and keep the fact he was Venom secret fell apart, he got out of prison on a technicality and immediately attacked Mania — a teenaged girl — to steal her symbiote, intent on taking revenge against Black Cat, Mac Gargan, Eddie Brock, and Spider-Man.
    • Tel-Kar was a Kree operative during the Kree-Skrull War who was betrayed by his own people when Ronan the Accuser took over the Empire, and was turned over to the Skrull — who tortured for years. When he finally escaped, he was a cruel shell of his former self obsessed with getting revenge by committing genocide against the Skrull. After the Kree Empire tossed him aside a second time and tried to kill him, he fully snapped and turned his hatred towards the humans due to Eddie Brock's role in his defeat.
  • Status Quo Is God: Costa's run sees Eddie Brock returning to being Venom and retreads familiar ground, but at the same time explores how both Eddie and the symbiote have changed in their time apart.
  • Super-Powered Evil Side: As its corruption worsens, the symbiote's growing bloodlust causes it to act more like it did when bonded to Mac Gargan and early in its tenure with Flash Thompson - overwhelming Eddie and trying to force him to eat people. Eddie recalls that it had been like this during his first tenure as Venom — comparing its bloodlust and ravenous hunger to a dark ocean threatening to drown him — and makes a point of trying to avoid letting the symbiote relapse into this state.
  • Villain Protagonist: Lee Price is the main character of Venom Vol. 3 — a down-on-his-luck disabled army vet whose callous attitude towards killing intimidated even the likes of Mac Gargan. Once he acquires the Venom symbiote, he proceeds to give it a taste of its own medicine by mentally dominating it and forcing it to assist him in becoming a super villain.
  • Yandere:
    • At the beginning of the Marvel Legacy run, the Venom symbiote lashes out at and nearly kills a priest who cautioned Eddie against returning to a previously toxic relationship, saying it would kill anyone who tried to get inbetween them.
    • Mac Gargan is revealed to have a serious love-hate relationship with the symbiote, both desiring to reclaim it and wanting to kill it. After getting a taste of his old power as one of Lee Price's Inklings, he signs up with the Anti-Symbiote Task Force when they promise to bond him to the Venom symbiote's latest offspring.

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