By Ben Morse
One of the most complex entities in Spider-Man’s world stands ready for a brand new day of his own, but this time around, the Marvel Universe will experience a very different kind of Venom.
Beginning in March, 2011, longtime collaborators Rick Remender and Tony Moore reunite once more for a VENOM ongoing series unlike any other, as the deadly alien symbiote bonds with a new host familiar to fans and gets put to work as an operative of the United States government. Remender proved eager to share more details, but ran into some red tape along the way.
“Due to the volatile nature of Project Venom, the Pentagon has come in and flagged some of my answers for security concerns,” prefaces the writer. “[redacted], the enhanced, black ops agent Venom, is charged with chasing a trail across the globe to uncover the man behind a plot to sell the world’s dictators and terrorists weaponized [redacted], all while juggling a double life, and a growing addiction to a symbiote that is constantly trying to take him over.
“[The set-up for VENOM] originated with [AMAZING SPIDER-MAN writer Dan] Slott and [editor Steve] Wacker. Once they told me the basic concept, and who the main character would be, I was sold. International adventures of 00Venom, c’mon, that’s good comic booking. Dan and I worked up a few ideas for supporting cast and rules for Venom and both went off to write. The initial set up issue will be by Dan in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #654.1 [and] you won’t want to miss that. Then the story picks up in VENOM #1.”
Expect VENOM to combine classic adventure in the mighty Marvel manner with espionage action and even a touch of horror.
“The tone merges the same brand of ferocious hardcore violence fans of Venom would expect with the international high-adventure of ‘The Bourne Identity,’ globe trotting from bleak Eastern European war zones to exotic Marvel Universe locations like the Savage Land,” lays out Remender. “It’s James Bond style worldwide adventuring with high stakes espionage, intrigue, fast action and an opening mission that holds the stability of the world in the balance. The result is a harsh lesson in the consequence of a secret life, and the mental duress of an exhilarating, yet temporary, [redacted].
“The chalice is poisoned; [redacted] can only wear the suit a few days at a time and the assignment itself is finite [as] for his own safety he will one day be taken off Project Venom,” he continues. “The tension is only compiled by the stress of keeping his black ops missions secret from his loved ones, the classic Spider-Man villains he’s set against, and the deep depression he begins to feel when separated from the suit and the [redacted] it offers.”
Remender reunites with artist Moore for this series, and can’t think of anybody he’d rather drag into the war zone with him.
“If you know Tony’s work from our last collaboration on PUNISHER, or Fear Agent, or his co-creation The Walking Dead, or his run on GHOST RIDER, then you know the guy can do monsters, action and distinctive tech like few others,” praises the writer. “And he’s a world-class storyteller; he puts story before all else. But, yeah, at his core, Tony is a monster guy, he loves creatures and it shows in his work. So putting him on VENOM is a no brainer in my eyes. And having seen his designs and some of the other stuff he’s got coming up, I can say with total confidence, there isn’t a better man for the job—on Earth anyway.
“Venom mixes the high-octane action stuff we do in Fear Agent with stunning monster work from our PUNISHER run. It’s a perfect middle and we’re both tremendously excited for people to see what we’ve cooked up.”
In his various incarnations, we’ve seen Venom as a lethal villain, a repentant hero, a sadistic nut job and just about everything in between; what makes Remender and Moore’s take stand apart?
“Behind the action and intrigue is [redacted], but the opportunity to become one of the most powerful people in the world in service to his country,” says Remender. “Given the difficulty controlling the nefarious symbiote, our protagonist’s mettle is well tested. Our focus isn’t the suit; it’s the man inside the suit and the sacrifice he makes by wearing it. To me, the character is a hero going in; what will the suit do to him, and will he come out a hero, remains to be seen.”
Look for the debut of the new Venom in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #654.1 in February, then pick up VENOM #1 the very next month!