The first trailer for Venom raised a lot of questions, as it should. In the comics Venom is Eddie Brock, whose powers come from his not-quite-better half: a shape-shifting alien organism unwittingly brought to Earth by Spider-Man. Surprisingly, the trailer didn’t offer even a glimpse of the tongue-slavering symbiote. No doubt that’s because Venom’s final form will be CGI, and the visual effects were unfinished. The trailer did, however, offer visual confirmation that the movie will be inspired by two popular comic book arcs.
In truth, this shouldn’t have been much of a surprise for fans. Speaking at Brazil’s Sao Paulo Comic Con Experience last year, Venom star Tom Hardy confirmed the film would be based on two of the most influential Venom arcs of all time. Let’s take a run through the two stories.
First up is the Lethal Protector miniseries. Released in 1993, the story saw Eddie Brock attempt to transition from villain to antihero. Brock had formed an uneasy truce with Spider-Man; he then returned to his birthplace of San Francisco. There, Venom found himself on the wrong side of the Life Foundation, a company which believed it was preparing for the end of the world. The Life Foundation had created a bunker for its expensive clients, and believed the symbiotes could form an ideal defense force.
The Life Foundation captured Venom and managed to create five symbiote “seeds.” They used these seeds to create five new symbiotic beings, ruthless soldiers and warriors who launched a campaign of terror. It took the combined might of Venom and Spider-Man to defeat the five symbiotes.
It looks as though the film has woven the Life Foundation into Venom’s origin story. The first teaser photos for Venom have shown Eddie Brock as a reporter who’s researching the Life Foundation; he seems to believe they’re responsible for the disappearance of some of San Fran’s homeless. It looks as though the Life Foundation are conducting dangerous human trials with the symbiotes, and Brock’s investigation will ultimately lead to his becoming one of their test subjects.
Planet of the Symbiotes
The second comic book arc is Planet of the Symbiotes, which ran in 1995. This saw Brock again clash with the five symbiotes, who were being driven out of control. He realized that his own symbiote was influencing him to kill, and attempted to reject the Venom symbiote. Furious, the symbiote released a powerful telepathic scream, drawing a ship of symbiotes to Earth.
This arc was a key one in establishing the history of the symbiotes. It saw Venom (and Spider-Man) transported to an alien world, where they learned the symbiotes bond in order to feel emotion. Venom learned that the symbiotes intended to conquer the Earth, and he fought to drive them back.
In a crucial twist, the symbiotes released the homicidal Carnage – another Venom-like character who originated in comics in 1992 – from jail. He proved able to absorb other symbiotes into himself, becoming stronger and more powerful than ever. That was an unpleasant plot development for Venom; Carnage immediately launched a campaign to hunt down and kill Brock.
Where Lethal Protector established Venom’s new role as an antihero, Planet of the Symbiotes expanded on his lore. Together, these two plots suggest a film that will dive deep into the character’s best comic book stories. The teaser photos and trailer haven’t offered many hints, but they’ve done enough to catch our attention. No doubt the next trailer will actually give fans a first glimpse of Venom himself.
We’ll see how these stories play into Venom when the film opens on October 5, 2018.