Follow TV Tropes


Comic Book / Venom (Donny Cates)

Go To
The Comeback King

"Honestly... do you know anything about that thing besides big teeth and flashy spider symbols?"
Rex Strickland

Venom (Vol. 4) was a 2018 - 2021 comic series written largely by Donny Cates with art primarily by Ryan Stegman, and launched as part of the Marvel: A Fresh Start initiative following the conclusion of Mike Costa's run.

After the events of Venom Inc. and "Go Down Swinging", Eddie Brock finds himself suffering from strange nightmares with his symbiote slowly losing control of itself. After being kidnapped by former Symbiote Soldier Rex Strickland, Eddie is drawn into the wider world of his "other" and must once again don the mantle of Venom to confront the Symbiotes' dark past.

While the series is a single ongoing, it also contains a number of one-shots meant to expand on the story, and launched two events as well. The run consists of:

Storylines in this run that have their own pages:

  • Venom (Vol. 4) #1 - #35, written by Donny Cates and Cullen Bunn, with art by Ryan Stegman and Iban Coello Soria.
  • Web of Venom: Ve'Nam, written by Donny Cates with art by Juanan Ramírez
  • Web of Venom: Carnage Born, written by Donny Cates with art by Danilo Beyruth
  • Web of Venom: Venom Unleashed, written by Ryan Stegman with art by Kyle Hotz
  • Web of Venom: Cult of Carnage, written by Frank Tieri with art by Danilo Beyruth
  • Free Comic Book Day Vol 2019 (Spider-Man/Venom), written by Donny Cates with art by Ryan Stegman
  • Web of Venom: Funeral Pyre, written by Cullen Bunn with art by Alberto Albuquerque and Josh Cassares
  • Absolute Carnage, written by Donny Cates with art by Ryan Stegman; featuring tie-ins by various writers and artists
  • Web of Venom: The Good Son, written by Zac Thompson with art by Diogenes Neves
  • Free Comic Book Day Vol 2020 (Spider-Man/Venom), written by Donny Cates with art by Ryan Stegman
  • Web of Venom: Wraith, written by Donny Cates with art by Guiu Vilanova
  • Web of Venom: Empyre's End, written by Clay McLeod Chapman with art by Guiu Villanova
  • King In Black, written by Donny Cates with art by Ryan Stegman; featuring tie-ins by various writers and artists.

Cates' run ended with the 200th legacy issue and was followed by a run by Al Ewing, Ram V, and Bryan Hitch, which would build on elements introduced in Cates' run.

In addition to the usual Venom tropes, the run contains examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: When Eddie returns to his father's new home in San Francisco, Carl Brock tells him in no uncertain terms that Eddie is not his son and punches Eddie in the face when he tries to just sit down and talk with him. Carl's new son, Dylan, tracks Eddie down two days later sporting a bruised eye and a broken arm that he didn't have before, and tells Eddie that they need to kill their father. It's revealed that this isn't a new development, either.
  • Alternate Universe: In Venom #26, Eddie and Dylan are warped to Earth-1051, an alternate universe overrun by symbiotes. Some of this world's many differences from Earth-616 include Peter Parker being a reporter instead of a photographer, Eddie Brock going through with committing suicide, Anne Weying bonding to the Venom symbiote and eventually becoming her world's Agent Venom; Eugene Thompson becoming the President of the United States; and Dylan Brock turning to evil after being brainwashed by Knull and becoming the conquering supervillain Codex.
  • An Arm and a Leg: In Venom #22, Eddie cuts off his left hand to prevent the Carnage symbiote from taking over him.
  • Ancient Evil: Knull, a god of darkness older than the universe who created the symbiotes to corrupt and devour all life. He was defeated by Thor, sealed away by his own creations, and has been mostly dormant ever since.
  • Angry Guard Dog: The symbiote takes the form of one in Issue #9, symbolizing its current mental state.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: While both are under the impression that they're siblings, Dylan Brock proves to be one to Eddie in Issue #10, pestering him with so many random questions that Eddie thinks to himself that he'd rather have a rematch with Knull than deal with his kid brother any longer.
  • Antichrist: Cletus Kasady is purportedly revealed to be one, resurrected by Knull after dying shortly after birth — or so says the cult revering him. In addition to his prophesized role in Chthon's cult, he decides to free Knull from his prison to wreak destruction across the universe.
  • Apocalypse Cult: Carnage is revealed to be at the centre of a symbiote-worshipping doomsday cult called the Church of the New Darkness, which is dedicated to finding a way to resurrect him after his apparent death during Venomized. The cult considers Carnage to be the prophet of the Living Abyss, with the leader of the cultists is none other than Scorn.
  • Arc Welding:
    • Knull, the God of the Symbiotes, is revealed to have been the unnamed god that wielded All-Black the Necrosword in Thor: God of Thunder.
    • The severed head of the Celestial that Knull decapitated and used as a forge would go on to become Knowhere.
  • Arc Words: "God is coming."
  • Arm Cannon: In Venom #27, the Venom symbiote learns how to perform the signature move of its counterpart from Venom: The End and turn its arms into energy cannons by unfolding its extradimensional structure.
  • Artistic License – Biology: The Maker's explanation that Dylan Brock is the result of Anne Weying's Venom codex merging with a fetus in her womb doesn't work since Anne hadn't had sex prior to Dylan's conception, and thus wouldn't have had a fetus inside her.
  • Ascended Meme: The "Venom is better than Watchmen" meme resulted in Dave Gibbons himself doing an alternate cover for Venom Vol. 4 #11 parodying the iconic cover he'd done for Watchmen.
  • At Least I Admit It: Dylan believes this of Eddie and Carl Brock. Carl is a selfish bastard who excuses his abuse as discipline, while Eddie has the honesty to admit that he's a monster and is constantly trying to better himself in spite of it.
  • Back for the Dead:
    • Scorn reappears for the first time since Carnage USA as the head of the apocalypse cult worshipping Knull and seeking to use Carnage to free him. Carnage's first action upon his resurrection is to rip out her spine and devour it.
    • Lee Price returns in Free Comic Book Day Vol 2019 (Spider-Man/Venom), where he's killed by Carnage to claim the Mania symbiote.
    • In Venom #18, Tel-Kar is revealed to have died at some point during Sleeper's interstellar travels.
    • In Venom #19, the Hybrid symbiote is immolated when Sleeper coats it in napalm and Hawkeye shoots it with a fire arrow.
  • Back from the Dead:
    • Web of Venom: Carnage Born sees Cletus Kasady reanimated less than a year after Venomized turned him into Poison Carnage. However, he also gets an upgrade in the form of the primordial Grendel symbiote.
    • For apparently no reason than to mess with Eddie, Carnage briefly reanimates Emil Gregg, the (possibly) real Sin-Eater whose seemingly false testimony kickstarted Eddie's fall from grace and transformation into Venom. A symbiote-less Eddie beats him back into a cloud of dust to save the children he'd kidnapped.
  • Bait-and-Switch:
    • Issues #2 and #9 has Eddie show a brief Flash Back to a car accident he was in as a kid, mentioning that his father was hit with Eddie's medical bills and that it was the reason he hated Eddie as much as he does. The scene is framed to show a boy implied to be Eddie getting hit by the car, and also imply that Carl Brock was shunting his rage on a young child. Issue #10 shows more of the scene, and Eddie reveals that he wasn't the boy: he was the driver.
    • Eddie's Calling the Old Man Out moment in issue #12 includes his acknowledging of his own mistakes, admitting that "[he's] not good" but that he's trying to improve every day. Then it's shown that Eddie has been unconscious and separated from the symbiote the whole time, meaning the symbiote was acknowledging its faults.
    • In Venom Beyond, Eddie and Dylan get sent to what readers will rapidly deduce is an alternate universe where everyone, Avengers included, is bonded to and controlled by a symbiote. Hence, when the two meet a resistance leader wearing the Venom symbiote in the Agent Venom form, Eddie and the audience immediately assume it's this universe's Flash Thompson. The reality is even more surprising: Anne Weying.
  • Battle in the Center of the Mind: In Web of Venom: Carnage Born, Cletus Kasady undergoes an unseen mental battle with Knull's will after being bonded to the Grendel symbiote; though their link is severed when Cletus absorbs Scorn's Carnage codex.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: In Ve'Nam, after Nick Fury sets his Life Model Decoy to self-destruct, Rex Strickland's symbiote saves Wolverine because Logan showed compassion for the symbiotes' being mistreated by SHIELD. Rex's own compassion touched it enough that it tried to shield him from the blast too.
  • Being Tortured Makes You Evil: The symbiotes spawned from the Grendel uncovered by SHIELD. Ve'Nam reveals them to have been driven to bloodlust by SHIELD's experiments to see if they could destroy the symbiotes should they need to; though the main comic indicates Knull's influence over them was also responsible for them going berserk.
  • Big Bad:
    • The main enemy of the first arc, and the one with the most personal connection to the Symbiotes and Eddie, is Knull, the God of the Symbiotes.
    • A much smaller-scale villain introduced in the second arc is a secret organisation that has hired the Maker and his organisation, Project Oversight. Issue 20 reveals that this organization is none other than the Interdimensional Council of Reed Richards.
  • Book Ends: Issue #8 begins and ends with Eddie paying his respects in front of Flash Thompson's grave. The first time is a hologram created by the Maker; the second time is him visiting it for real.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Carnage has enslaved his followers with symbiotic Knull-powered worms that have slithered into their brains through their nostrils. They behave like zombies and are tasked with pursuing the codexes of previous symbiote-users, but appear to revert to normal if the worms are removed. Either way, it's not pleasant.
  • Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: The retelling of Venom's fight with Wolverine has the former muse how he'll kill the latter.
    "Slowly? No! Painfully? No! Slowly and painfully!"
  • Broke Your Arm Punching Out Cthulhu: At the end of the first arc, Rex, Eddie defeats Knull's avatar but both he and the Venom symbiote nearly die in the process — with the latter (purportedly) being left almost brain-dead as a result of the trauma it endured.
  • Broken Pedestal: In Web of Venom: The Good Son, Dylan is furious at Eddie for having concealed the fact that they're not siblings but father and son.
  • Bus Crash: Mary Brock — Eddie's sister, who chronologically was last seen being hospitalized in Nova Vol. 3 #6 — is revealed to have died of breast cancer at some point. However, when Eddie brings this up to their father, Carl has no clue who Eddie is talking about and denies ever having had a daughter. It's eventully revealed that Mary Brock and Eddie's uncle Dan (first mentioned in The Spectacular Spider-Man Vol. 2 #5) never existed, and were false memories created by the Venom symbiote to gaslight Eddie.
  • Came Back Strong: In the Web of Venom: Carnage Born tie-in, Cletus Kasady is (kind of) resurrected and becomes more powerful than ever due to bonding to a piece of the Grendel symbiote.
  • Canon Discontinuity: When asked about the canonicity status of Cullen Bunn's Deadpool's Secret Secret Wars and Deadpool: Back in Black, Donny Cates stated on Twitter that as far as he's concerned they're not canon — pleasing fans who disliked the two miniseries but opening up plot holes regarding how Killer Thrill and Venom recognized each other in Poison X, and other nods Bunn has done to Deadpool's Secret Secret Wars and Deadpool: Back in Black in his other works. While some fans are happy, this decree has sparked disagreements on Twitter between Cates and creators that do consider it canon — including Cullen Bunn himself.
  • Collective Identity: In the War of the Realms tie-ins, both Eddie Brock and the symbiote operate independently as Venom — Eddie using an artificial symbiote created from a dark elf dreamstone, and the symbiote using its ability to take on humanoid form without a host.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Rex Strickland explicitly says he was hoping to get Flash Thompson's help, rather than Eddie's, and that his information on who's bonded to the symbiote must be outdated. Not only has Flash not been Venom for years, but he had also recently died.
    • Issue #1 has Rex Strickland stop the Venom symbiote with a lighter, similar to an infamous incident involving Spider-Man.
    • Some of the weaponry Eddie uses against Knull's avatar is said to have belonged to the Jury, enemies Eddie had in the 90s.
    • Venom #4 contains nods to both Venom: Dark Origin #4 and Thor: God of Thunder #6 — the planet from the Venom symbiote's flashback is revealed to be Gorr's homeworld, the same planet where Knull founded the symbiote empire.
    • The Maker mentions how Flash Thompson connected to the Klyntar hivemind before, which he had done in Guardians of the Galaxy.
    • Venom Annual #1 contains a plethora of nods, from the thug whose eye was gouged out in Issue #1, to Black Cat recounting her first encounter with Venom in Amazing Spider-Man #316, to Venom's fight with Juggernaut in Venom: The Madness.
    • Countless previous symbiote hosts are shown on a monitor in Web of Venom: Carnage Born. It appears again in Venom Unleashed and several of Carnage's followers name drop a handful of them, including Donna Diego (Scream), Patrick Mulligan (the first Toxin), and Angelo Fortunato and Mac Gargan (the second and third Venoms), among others.
    • Web of Venom: Venom Unleashed sees the return of the underground city and mining mechs from Lethal Protector. Carnage is revealed to be operating out of the city itself, having turned its inhabitants into brainwashed slaves.
    • Issue #20 reveals that the Maker managed to obtain a sample of the Earth-1610 version of the Venom symbiote, which is stored in the same sort of vat it was when it first debuted.
    • In issue #21, Eddie returns to Isla de Huesos, the Caribbean island he and Spider-Man once had a climactic fight on and where he and the symbiote remained at peace after Spidey faked his death. He reminisces that they would have remained there in paradise if Carnage's debut hadn't forced Spidey to form an Enemy Mine to stop him, and finds it ironic that he would return to burn the last of the red symbiote to ashes.
    • While fighting the Dark Carnage symbiote on the Isla de Huesos, Eddie surrounds himself with a ring of flames, like the Human Torch once did to protect Spider-Man from Venom... and the Dark Carnage symbiote circumvents this the same way the Venom symbiote did: by burrowing under the sand.
  • Continuity Snarl:
    • The series is rather inconsistent regarding the timeline of the symbiotes' creation. Venom #4 show Knull having created them billions of years ago, after All-Black was stolen by Gorr; but in Jason Aaron's Thor: God of Thunder Gorr acquired All-Black a mere 3000 years ago, and Venom #3 and Silver Surfer: Black shows Knull having created countless symbiotes before losing All-Black.
    • Issue 35 introduces a character named "Kenny McFarlane Jr." Thing is, when Starbrand & Nightmask made Kenny McFarlane, a character created for Ultimate Spider-Man, into a Canon Immigrant, he was also a young college student, so it's very unlikely he'd have a high school-aged son.note 
  • The Corruptor:
    • Knull has the ability to mentally dominate symbiotes, transforming them into feral predators under his control.
    • The artificial symbiote that Eddie bonds to during War of the Realms feeds off his negative emotions
  • Cosmic Horror Reveal: The symbiotes are revealed to be manifestations of Knull's "living abyss", created to corrupt and destroy entire civilizations.
  • Costume Evolution:
    • When under the control of Knull as "Ancient Venom", the symbiote's appearance changes drastically: its white spider emblems become red dragons; a jagged red spiral replaces its white eyespots, red veins appear on its head, arms, and legs; its teeth become crooked and shark-like; and trypophobia-inducing tiny holes appear all over its body.
    • After the symbiote's Death of Personality, Eddie's appearance as Venom changes to be completely black save for the tongue, teeth, and narrow jagged eyes — the spider-emblems completely gone. The symbiote still has its usual eye patterns when separated from him, however. This may not be a coincidence, given that said death of personality is implied to have at least in-part been the symbiote gaslighting Eddie.
    • Carnage undergoes several during Web of Venom: Carnage Born and Free Comic Book Day Vol 2019 Spider-Man/Venom. In a flashback he's shown as Poison Carnage before the crystalline armor shatters and the original Carnage symbiote resurfaces... only to be immolated by atmospheric re-entry. After being bonded to a piece of the Grendel symbiote, Carnage appears as a towering jet-black monster with a jagged red spiral on its face, red veins on its arms and legs, and distorted dragon emblems on its chest and back; but consuming Scorn's Carnage codex causes him to take on his classic appearance. As "Dark Carnage" in Free Comic Book Day Vol 2019 Spider-Man/Venom and Absolute Carnage, he appears as a towering, skeletal red-and-black monster with a white dragon emblem on his chest and a jagged white spiral on his forehead.note  Web of Venom: Funeral Pyre shows off an intermediary form with the forehead spiral but not the chest emblem.
  • Covers Always Lie: Issue #8 has the hellmark prominently featured on Venom's chest. Nowhere in the issue does it appear, nor is it ever mentioned — and seeing how it was passed on to Andi Benton, Eddie having it would be a continuity error.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle:
    • In the first annual, the man who claims to have witnessed Venom's battle with the Juggernaut (later revealed to be Venom himself in disguise) claims that Marko kicked Brock's klyntar-clad butt. The fight scene itself, however, shows the Mercury Virus-augmented Venom dominating the fight and tossing Juggernaut around like a rag-doll.
    • When the Maker declares his intent to exhume Flash Thompson's corpse to get more codex samples, the Venom symbiote promptly goes berserk, easily overpowers him, and unceremoniously stuffs him into a morgue locker. Aftr getting out, the Maker orders the facility's AI to immediately delete the security footage of his humiliating defeat.
    • The imprint of Flash Thompson's mind that takes control of Eddie lays a swift one down on Project Oversight's security forces. After punching down an armored door, "Flash" disarms two guards with the symbiote's tendrils and uses those guns to thin the rest out, then snags the pins out of their grenades before diving out the window as the room explodes.
  • A Day in the Limelight:
    • Ve'Nam serves as this for Rex Strickland and his symbiote, and was released after it was revealed that Rex’s symbiote has been posing as him, and explains when and how that began.
    • Issue #8 is basically a Flash Thompson tribute issue, with the plot largely revolving around Eddie's reaction to his death, the Maker wanting to dig up his corpse and his own brief resurfacing (of sorts) to help out Eddie.
    • Web of Venom: Venom Unleashed is one for the symbiote, showing that it still possesses its memories and is acting on more than just pure instinct, but it lacks its previous voice.
  • Dead All Along:
    • Rex Strickland, who's revealed to not in fact be human; the "Rex" that Eddie and his symbiote have been talking to is the symbiote the original Rex Strickland used to be bonded to, Tyrannosaurus, who adopted his identity after its host was killed.
    • Eddie's sister Mary and his uncle Dan are revealed to not only have died, but also to have never existed at all.
  • Deal with the Devil: In Venom #13, Eddie makes a deal with one of Malekith's war witches to obtain an artificial symbiote created using Dark Elf magic, knowing full well she intends to force him to serve Malekith. He promptly eats one of her hands to scare her off, locks Dylan in Rex's old bunker, and sets out to help fend off the War of the Realms as "Magic Venom".
  • Death by Origin Story: Cates retcons another death into Eddie's origin story — in addition to his mother, it turns out that Eddie killed a child while drunk driving.
  • The Dreaded: Annual #1 firmly establishes Venom as this to the low-level supervillains in New York, who spend the issue exchanging stories of how terrifying he is. Only Scorpion - who used to be Venom in the past - is unimpressed... until Venom turns out to have been there the whole time.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him:
    • In Web of Venom: Carnage Born, Scorn makes her return for the first time since 2011's Carnage USA having undergone a Face–Heel Turn; uses the stolen sample of the Grendel symbiote to resurrect Cletus Kasady... and promptly gets her spine ripped out and eaten.
    • In the 2019 Spider-Man/Venom Free Comic Book Day issue, Lee Price is unceremoniously killed off by Dark Carnage leading up to Absolute Carnage.
  • Effective Knockoff: How the Maker describes the Venom symbiote from Earth-1610, which he had hoped to augment with the codices of Earth-616 symbiotes.
  • Empty Shell: The Venom symbiote's apparent fate after killing Knull's avatar and its own near-incineration. Any semblance of personality or independent thought has vanished, now operating purely on instinct to protect Eddie from outside threats. The Maker compares its current state to an attack dog, although he mentions that it may regain some semblance of a personality again with time. If nothing else, Eddie senses that the Maker's intent to dig up Flash Thompson's body for his own purposes fills it with unbridled rage and the intent to protect Flash. However, it's ultimately revealed that it might have just been faking being mindless in order to gaslight Eddie.
  • Evil Power Vacuum: The Maker claims that the as-yet-explained Project Oversight rose from the vacuum left from the downfall of SHIELD.
  • Excrement Statement: To Eddie's shock and disgust, the Maker reveals that the symbiote's trademark green Phlegmings are its excrement — meaning that he's unwittingly been doing this each time he's done a *Drool* Hello — to say nothing of the times Venom's slobbered all over himself.
  • Exposition of Immortality: When Eddie Brock challenges Knull over the Venom symbiote, demanding to know who he is, Knull shows him visions of his 13 billion year-long deicidal crusade and creation of the symbiotes.
  • Fake Memories: Issue #11 reveals that the symbiote has been doing this concerning Mary Brock, Dan Brock, and Eddie's cancer to prevent Eddie from leaving it.
  • Family Relationship Switcheroo: Carl raised Dylan as his son and never told him about Eddie. When Eddie does meet Dylan, they initially believe they are half-brothers rather than father and son.
  • For Want of a Nail: In Venom #28, Agent Venom (Anne Weying) reveals that the first major point of divergence between her world and Eddie's was that her Eddie Brock went through with committing suicide, which led to her becoming Venom instead.
  • Fourth Wall Psych: Issue 25 opens up like this, with Eddie recapping the run's major events up to now, and monologuing about his life. Since the only image is Eddie's face looking directly at the "screen" so to speak, and addressing someone unseen, it easily feels like he's addressing the audience. The end of the issue reveals he's talking to the Avengers, and explaining about Knull.
  • Freudian Excuse: While it doesn't excuse everything Eddie's done before and after becoming Venom, issue #10 shows more of Carl Brock's abusive qualities. After a drunk driving accident Eddie got into that killed a young child, Eddie started believing he was a monster and begged to be found guilty of the crime in the detention center. Carl angrily responded that his name would be destroyed if Eddie was found guilty — with no regard for his son — and savagely beat him until he began repeating "I'm innocent".
    Eddie: (to Carl in a vision) You remember this room? This is where you beat me and made me a liar. This is where you made me what I am.
  • From Bad to Worse: Carnage comes back more powerful than ever and declares war on anyone who has ever bonded with a symbiote, which includes most of the superhero community.
  • Gaslighting: Issue 11 revealed that the symbiote had been doing this to Eddie to force him to stay, revealing that Eddie never had an uncle Dan or a sister named Mary and that Eddie himself never had cancer.
  • Godhood Seeker: Carnage's ultimate end goal after he collects all the symbiote codexes is to apotheosize and join Knull in his omnicidal rampage, if his monologue and the bloody messages reading "GOD IS CARNAGE" are any indication.
  • God Is Evil: Knull makes no effort to hide his omnicidal love of slaughter and pain.
  • Gone Horribly Right: It's revealed that during their original tenure together, in its desire to frighten Eddie into thinking he had terminal cancer and needed it to survive, the Venom symbiote accidentally caused Eddie to develop terminal cancer.
  • Gotta Catch 'Em All: After being resurrected, Carnage's goal is to absorb the codexes from every symbiote host - current or previous, living or dead - to re-establish a connection with Knull. Lampshaded in Web of Venom: Cult of Carnage by John Jameson, who even compared his harvest of codex-laden spines to Pokémon.
  • Happy Ending Override: In the ending of Spider-Men II the Ultimate Marvel universe is back after its destruction in Secret Wars (2015) (when the Maker was also displaced from it to the regular Marvel universe, allowing him to appear in this comic), Ultimate Spider-Man is an active superhero again and a member of The Ultimates. The last time we saw them, Ultimate Spider-Man and Spider-Woman swing into the distance, having earned a happy ending. But, by the time the Maker finally manages to return to it, he finds a devastated city, and it seems that all the Ultimate heroes are dead or missing.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: In the finale of the first arc, the Rex Symbiote chooses to die in order to destroy Knull's avatar.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Dylan is snarky, doesn't always think before he speaks, and goes so far as to call Spider-Man a "menace". But he's a sweet kid beneath that prickly exterior and idolizes Eddie.
  • Kill It with Fire: How Eddie, the Venom symbiote, and Rex deal with Knull's avatar and the Grendel symbiote — they shove it into a steel-smelting blast-furnace.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: The Venom symbiote can repress memories that it deems harmful to Eddie, such as knowledge of Flash Thompson's death.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: Flash Thompson's death in Go Down Swinging gets brought up quite a bit after Issue #7.
  • Leave No Witnesses: In Web of Venom: Ve'Nam, Nick Fury tries to kill Logan and Rex Strickland alongside the Sym-Soldiers so as to leave no witnesses to S.H.I.E.L.D.'s failed super soldier experiment.
  • Maker of Monsters: Knull, a primordial god of darkness, created the symbiotes to aid in his conquest of the cosmos.
  • Morality Pet: After he and Dylan go on the run together, all of Eddie's time, thoughts, and energy go into making sure Dylan is safe, happy, and healthy in the face of the horror and violence they're pitted against on a regular basis.
  • Mystical Pregnancy: In issue #12 it's revealed that Dylan Brock is the result of Anne Weying suddenly and mysteriously becoming pregnant after her transformations into She-Venom. The Maker elaborates on this in #20 by speculating that Dylan is the result of her Venom codex merging with human gametes inside her and maturing into a fetus.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Venom's appearance in issue #7 closely resembles his Ultimate appearance given his lack of spider-symbols and feral behaviour. This is also the same issue where the Ultimate version of Reed Richards makes an appearance, so it's more than likely intentional.
    • That same issue has the Maker's dialogue in non-allcaps, which is how dialogue is written for the Ultimate universe.
    • Issue nine, which explores Eddie's homelife that was most in-focus during Venom: Dark Origin, places a street sign near Eddie's home with the words Wells and Medina on it. Zeb Wells and Lan Medina were the creators behind Dark Origin.
    • Thanks to a previous comic series, we've seen the Venom symbiote in the form of a Tyrannosaurus Rex before.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: At the end of issue #12, the Venom Symbiote realizes it made a lot of mistakes and decides to run off away from both Eddie and Dylan, essentially setting up the symbiote's role in War of the Realms.
  • Never My Fault: Eddie blames his father for being who he is and everything wrong in his life. He's right to a point, as the events that led to his becoming Venom were caused by his trying to earn his father's approval and Carl was a massive abusive asshole, but it doesn't quite excuse the actions he committed leading up to that nor the years of his being a homicidal maniac between then and now. Though as he and Dylan bring up, Eddie isn't trying to hide being said homicidal maniac or completely excuse what he's done, when his father still believed his own actions were justified.
  • Noodle Incident: Whatever happened with to Eddie after killing Knull's avatar between Issue #6-7, it involved him being chased by the Maker's goons for three weeks and ended with him finally being captured halfway across the country in San Fransisco. It's as much a mystery to Brock as to the reader, as the symbiote has blocked his memory of it.
  • Nuke 'em: In Venom #23, Captain America calls in a nuclear strike after rescuing Eddie, believing that It's The Only Way To Be Sure the Carnageized Grendel symbiote will be destroyed. The problem is, the Venom symbiote was still on the island when the bomb dropped. The next issue reveals it to be an elaborate dream created by the Grendel to distract Eddie long enough for it to bond with him.
  • Out-of-Character Moment: Several, such as-
    • Eddie seeking out Carl for help, when he has been very clear in the past on how this is something he would never ever do - even shooting down when they got in a dire enough situation that the symbiote suggested they ask.
    • Eddie, a character known for always being protective of children and having just the previous issue been explicitly desperate for some family - being fairly disinterested and annoyed at the restaurant with his little brother who has clearly just been beaten, trying to connect with his big bro and ask for some help. Eddie still treats Dylan to some food and hears him out- but it's clear his mind is preoccupied with other stuff.
    • Anne leaving her son with Carl, even calling Carl family and trusting him to properly take care of Dylan. She very much knew how abusive he was to Eddie and her opinion of the man was not positive, so she would not have left a baby with him — though Cates retconned this, saying she had no idea how bad a person he was.
    • Within the first couple of pages of their return, the Sleeper symbiote explicitly and suddenly explains themself as “unlike” Dylan not to be Eddie’s actual child, an explanation repeated to the extent that in Absolute Carnage #3, Brock barely reacts to seeing Sleeper again. Directly contradicting the explanation and views expressed in their debut miniseries, where Sleeper was specifically said by themself and Eddie to also be his child, with Eddie doting on them.
    • Eddie Brock, a lethal protector who even if he started killing less never became entirely opposed to those he saw deserving of it, suddenly expressing complete horror at the idea of killing Norman Osborn of all people.
    • Carol Danvers of all people, in the middle of a serious situation, having a moment of being doe-eyed at Eddie Brock and having to have the Hulk (Jen Walters) chide her out of wide-smile checking him out.
  • Parental Abandonment: Carl Brock being eternally disdainful of Eddie for his mother dying during childbirth — and after the Daily Globe incident, disowning him completely — was established back in Lethal Protector, but it seems to have reached a head with him having moved back to San Francisco and started a new family as far from Eddie as possible.
  • Parental Abuse: If everything is as it seems, Carl Brock has moved from an emotionally distant father to an outright physical abusive one, apparently having beaten Dylan.
  • Passing the Torch: At the end of the run Eddie, who has aged significantly due to the strain of godhood, lets Dylan bond to the Venom symbiote.
  • Pieces of God: The Symbiote Soldiers' symbiotes were extracted from Knull's deific Grendel symbiote. Carnage also winds up with a piece of it.
  • Power Incontinence: At the end of the run, Eddie Brock inherits Knull's status as the nexus of the symbiote hive, but this places an immense amount of strain on his still-mortal body and causes him to rapidly age.
  • Pun:
    • Ve'nam takes place during the Vietnam War, but is also a pun on Venom and possibly a reference to an old Marvel comic called The Nam.
    • Venom Unleashed follows the trend as the story focuses on the Venom symbiote, which has shapeshifted into an Angry Guard Dog and ventures out apart from Brock - a literal dog without a leash.
  • Remote Body: Knull's true form is still imprisoned on Klyntar in the first arc; the form that Eddie, his symbiote and Rex fight is merely a projection.
  • Retcon:
    • It is revealed that the U.S. Government bonded soldiers to symbiotes much earlier than they were initially said to have — a soldier named Cal Henriksen, who preceded Flash Thompson as Agent Venom but lost control of the symbiote and was terminated.
    • The Venom symbiote was stated to have been the 98th generation of a lineage of symbiotes, spawned on Klyntar to be a member of the Agents of the Cosmos. Venom Vol. 4 #4 ties into the symbiote's flashback in Venom: Dark Origin, showing it was one of the first symbiotes created billions of years ago.
    • The name "Klyntar" and the idea of the Symbiotes being a noble, naturally-benevolent warrior race, both established by Brian Michael Bendis in his Guardians of the Galaxy run, are revealed to be a name and lie the Symbiotes adopted for themselves to disguise their dark past — they were originally called just Symbiotes, and Klyntar merely means "cage" in their language.
    • Thor: God of Thunder #6 established that Gorr acquired All-Black 3000 years ago, but Venom Vol. 4 #4 retcons this to having occurred several billion years ago.
    • Venom's spider-symbol was previously established — albeit by Spider-Man's speculation — to be based on Julia Carpenter's Spider-Woman costume. Donny Cates retconned it so that Venom's spider-emblems are a mix between Spider-Man's spider-emblems and Knull's dragon-emblems.
    • The symbiotes' green drool is revealed to be how they excrete unwanted foreign material from their hosts' bodies.
    • It's revealed in Issue #11 that Eddie's initial cancer diagnosis was fake. Donny Cates clarified on Twitter that Eddie did develop cancer as a result of the symbiote hacking his biochemistry — which is why he continued manifesting symptoms after divesting himself of the symbiote.
    • Mary Brock from Nova Vol. 3 #7 and Venom: Dark Origin, and the uncle Eddie mentioned having in Spectacular Spider-Man Vol. 2 #5 are both revealed to have never actually existed, being false memories implanted into Eddie by the symbiote.
  • Remember the New Guy?: Issue 26 has the Venom symbiote speak to Eddie as if Virus is an enemy that the two have encountered before. In actuality, this is because the Free Comic Book Day special was meant to release before that issue, and is where the two actually first encountered Virus. The FCBD one-shot's delay has the unintended side-effect of this trope. Subverted when it's revealed that Virus is really the Scorpion, the third Venom.
  • The Reveal:
    • Issue #10 changed Eddie's origin and part of his relationship with his father; the first arc of Cates' series heavily implied that Eddie was hit by a car while playing in the street, and the hospital bills were so expensive that Carl Brock went broke for Eddie. Venom Issue #10 reveals that Eddie wasn't the boy playing in the street; he was the driver of the car, and was drunk at the time. Getting the incident covered up is what Carl did, and he forced Eddie to go along with it.
    • Issue #11 comes out with a four in a row: Mary Brock was from false memories induced by the symbiote; the symbiote was only pretending to be braindead; Eddie never originally had cancer — the symbiote altered his memories and biochemistry to make him think he did so that he would be too afraid of dying to part with it; and Dylan Brock is actually Eddie's son.
    • Issue #12 follows up on the latter: Dylan is Eddie's illegitimate son by his ex-wife Anne Weying, seemingly conceived after her brief stint as She-Venom. Knowing Brock was a homicidal nutcase, she left Dylan with Carl as he was the closest thing to family she had left. She fully intended to return once she managed to clear her head, but... didn't.
    • In Issue 20, the Maker reveals that the spawnings of the different Earth-born symbiotes corresponded with major events — like Infinity Gauntlet for Carnage, Avengers Disassembled for Toxin, and the second Civil War for Raze.
  • Running Gag: The first two arcs open with Eddie restrained, being told Flash Thompson would be preferable for his captor, and being mocked for not knowing enough about his symbiote.
  • Schrödinger's Canon: Zac Thompson's Web of Venom: The Good Son side-story is completely ignored by Donny Cates' Venom Island arc.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Knull, whose mind was sealed in the Grendel that Thor defeated, and whose body is still imprisoned inside Klyntar.
  • Sequel Hook: Eddie is now the God of Symbiotes, and he allows Dylan and the Venom symbiote to bond, while preparing for The Maker to make his move. Flash Thompson is back alive as Agent Anti-Venom, and there are several symbiotes remaining from the invasion bonding with random people now that they are free.
  • Series Continuity Error:
    • Venom Vol. 4 #3 and #4 establish that the symbiotes were created billions of years ago, after Knull lost All-Black to Gorr; but Thor God of Thunder #6 established that Gorr had acquired All-Black only 3000 years ago. Donny Cates ambiguously confirmed it as a retcon on Twitter. However, Silver Surfer: Black later shows symbiotes having existed before Knull lost All-Black, muddying the timeline of events even further.
    • Thor is depicted as a noble hero wielding Mjolnir in the 6th century, but Thor: God of Thunder — which the Rex arc of Venom ties into — established that he'd been a hotheaded brat unworthy of Mjolnir well into the 10th century.
    • The first annual disregards several prior events, most of them from Mike Costa's run:
      • Shocker states that he thought that Venom was a goody-two-shoes space-ranger, though he fought Eddie Brock-as-Venom and won in #164.
      • Going by the events of Venom #7, Eddie should've been unconscious and under the control of the mindlessly feral symbiote at the point in time the meeting in the Bar With No Name happened, though it could have also happened after Eddie and the symbiote parted ways.
    • In Web of Venom: Carnage Born, the screen showing all the past symbiote hosts displays Robert Maverick as Red Hulk, despite Thaddeus Ross having been the one who bonded to a symbiote.
    • Mary Brock has been seen completely independently of Eddie. Mary's very first appearance detailed Nova interacting with her, via reassuring and trying to rescue her during a supervillain attack. Raising the question of how she could possibly somehow just be a figment of Eddie's imagination. We're simply left to assume that was just some random blonde woman who happened to be named Mary Brock and that the Symbiote altered Eddie's memories to make him believe this woman was his sister.
  • In Venom #20, the Maker is tasked with restoring Earth-1610, which — as revealed in Spider-Men II and Miles Morales' ongoing — is already restored.
  • In Web of Venom: The Good Son Dylan reveals he's a few years older than Normie Osborn — being around 12 years old according to Zac Thompson, which contradicts the solicit for issue #15 saying he's just 9. When asked on Twitter how this was possible given that Normie was born a few years before the Venom symbiote arrived on Earth, Thompson invoked Timey-Wimey Ball, Bellisario's Maxim, and the MST3K Mantra.
  • Venom #23 all-but completely disregards the events of Web of Venom: The Good Son, particularly Dylan turning evil and Sleeper allowing him to keep a piece of the Carnageized Grendel symbiote. The Venom Island arc also takes place over a couple of days tops, while Scream: Curse of Carnage makes it sound like Eddie has been gone for several days — if not weeks.
  • In Free Comic Book Day Vol 2020 (Spider-Man/Venom), Eddie states that Knull was imprisoned by the symbiotes billions of years in the past... but Venom #4 establishes that as having happened in the 6th century.
  • Ship Sinking:
    • Following Venom and Black Cat teaming up to fight Maniac in Venom Inc. and Marvel publishing a series of bonus covers pairing the two of them together, fans responded by shipping them to the point of begging Mike Costa, Donny Cates, and Ryan Stegman to canonize the couple — despite Eddie having once beaten Felicia half-to-death during his supervillain days. The first annual torpedoes this by having Felicia tell the patrons of the Bar With No Name that Venom is a terrifying monster, showing she still holds a grudge against him.
    • Donny Cates is not a fan of Eddie and the Venom symbiote being portrayed as a couple, and emphasizes the malignant co-dependence and toxicity of their relationship; to the dismay and occasional outrage of fans who were introduced to the character by Venom (Mike Costa) and Venom, as well as older materials such as "The Hunger" — which treated Eddie and the Venom symbiote like a dysfunctional but ultimately loving couple.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Knull's spiral emblem is based on the emblem of Carcosa from True Detective.
    • As Venom Dylan uses chains instead of webs, a clear reference to Spawn; aside from Spawn, Venom is Todd McFarlane's most famous creation.
  • Split-Personality Takeover: A variant. Brock escapes from Project Oversight after the brain-dead symbiote absorbs a codex of Flash Thompson's symbiote-infused DNA, an imprint of Flash's personality briefly taking over it and turning Eddie into Agent Venom.
    "Flash": Hey, Brock. You mind if I drive?
    Eddie: Be my guest, Thompson.
    "Flash": Hell yeah.
  • A Storm Is Coming: In issue 200, Eddie warns the Avengers, the X-Men and the Guardians of the Galaxy that The Maker and the Council of Reed Richards are preparing to make their move, which will most likely attempt to destroy Earth-616 and replace it with the Ultimate Universe.
  • Sucksessor: While visiting Flash Thompson's grave, Eddie admits that deep down he sees himself as such — saying that he may have talked a big game because he was the original Venom, but can tell that the symbiote preferred Flash to him.
  • Sudden Sequel Heel Syndrome: The last time that Scorn was seen, she was a good guy working for the US government alongside Mercury Team. In Carnage Born, she is the leader of a cult dedicated to awakening Knull using Carnage.
  • Super Soldier: The Symbiote Soldier program, which bonded soldiers to symbiotes during the Vietnam War, in an effort to replace the fallen Captain America.
  • Surveillance as the Plot Demands: Setting aside how the Maker knew about Knull and planet Klyntar, the end of Issue #8 shows he's somehow also keeping tabs on Galactus, Thanos' beheaded body, the Unseen, and the Inheritors and Web Warriors. Probably justified, as he's an alternate incarnation of Reed Richards.
  • Toilet Humor: The Maker reveals to Eddie that the symbiote's drool is its "waste product", which basically translates to...well...we'll let you fill in the blanks.
  • Touché: In Venom #19, Sleeper chastises Dylan for controlling him against his will, calling it morally wrong. Dylan quickly asks about Tel-Kar's fate, and Sleeper quickly decides to Change the Uncomfortable Subject.
  • Troubling Unchildlike Behaviour: After being corrupted by Knull, Dylan Brock starts drawing Knull's symbol on the walls and saying that the Light must die.
  • Twisted Christmas: King in Black takes place around Christmas, with the solicits and covers for one of the tie-ins having Doctor Doom and Iron Man team up to fight a symbiote-infected Santa Claus.
  • Uncertain Doom: The first annual ends with Venom coiling his tongue around Scorpion's head and opening his jaws — and right after Gargan sneered that Eddie never ate anyone. However, it doesn't show him biting down, just the patrons fleeing the bar in terror. He later shows up alive and well in The Amazing Spider-Man.
  • Underground City: The underground city from the 1990's Lethal Protector series makes an appearance in Web of Venom: Unleashed; where it's revealed to have been taken over by Carnage, its inhabitants enslaved and sent to hunt down former symbiote hosts.
  • Unexplained Recovery: It's never really explained how Cletus came back from being Poisoned in Venomized, given that the Poisons are explicitly stated to digest the symbiote host's body to facilitate their takeover. All that's shown is Poison Carnage's crystalline exoskeleton and consumed symbiote crumbling to reveal Cletus' human body alive and well underneath.
  • Unreliable Narrator: According to Donny Cates on Twitter, Scorn’s story regarding Cletus' birth was meant to hype him up as a messiah figure for the cult.
  • Walking Armory: When Eddie bonds with two symbiotes and fights Knull, he literally sticks weapons from Rex's armoury onto himself. The two symbiotes are able to fire these weapons while Eddie uses his own hands.
  • Wham Line:
    • Mary Brock clearly existed, having been identified on the news after being put in a coma,note  but when Eddie mentions her death to their father...
      Carl Brock: Who’s Mary?
    • In the very next issue, after Eddie collapses spitting up blood and is transferred to a hospital.
      Dylan: What's happening? What's wrong with Eddie?
      The Maker: Oh, a great deal is wrong with Eddie. There's the obvious post-traumatic psychic scarring that comes from fighting a god... and then there's the alien life form attached to his central nervous system that has infuriatingly placed him into a coma-like stasis. Aside from that? To answer your real question... He has quite a lot of cancer.
  • Whole-Plot Reference: Web of Venom: The Good Son is an homage to The Good Son, with Dylan Brock succumbing to Knull's corruptive influence and becoming a parallel to Henry Evans.
  • Wingding Eyes: The symbiotes under Knull's control have a single red jagged spiral-shaped eyespot. Likewise, the people being controlled by Carnage in Web of Venom: Unleashed have black eyes with red spirals for pupils and irises.
  • Your Days Are Numbered: The Maker reveals that Eddie's cancer has relapsed.

Alternative Title(s): Donny Cates Venom