While it remains to be seen what the exact plot of Venom: Let There Be Carnage will be, it’s possible the movie will draw on some of the best Venom comic book story arcs from Marvel. Venom has been at the heart of a lot of great stories since his debut in the late 80s, some of which could very well be coming to the screen.
From his iconic origins to his involvement in universe-spanning cosmic wars, Venom is a unique character who keeps taking on new dimension in the comics. His best story arcs contributed to his evolution from villain to complex anti-hero, leading to his popularity in comics and movies.
10 Origin Of Venom
The origin of Venom in some respects goes back to 1985’s Secret Wars crossover event, but the proper introduction of the character occurs in The Amazing Spider-Man #298-300.
This arc is essential, as it establishes Venom as the imposing villain and the severe threat to Spider-Man that he is. Immune to Peter Parker’s Spider-Sense, imbued with many of his Spider-powers, and intimately familiar with aspects of his life, Venom represented a major new villain to Spider-Man in this opening storyline.
9 Ultimate Venom
Venom’s origin is reinterpreted in the Ultimate Comics universe of Earth-1610 and it’s equally key for comic book readers as some of it had an influence on the movies.
There are many things the 2019 Venom movie got right, and for some comic fans, it was presenting Venom as the product of a scientific experiment in a lab as opposed to a strictly alien symbiote. The storyline also more closely aligns Eddie Brock and Peter Parker, making their relationship and eventual rivalry even more complex than in Earth-616.
8 Bride Of Venom
Comic fans will likely remember Anne Weying as one of the most heroic hosts of the Venom symbiote. “The Bride Of Venom” story arc from The Amazing Spider-Man #374 and 375 is great because it adds much more complexity to Eddie Brock through the introduction of his ex-wife Anne.
To that point, Eddie had been somewhat of a one-note character. Anne shows Eddie has a difficult past and a good heart. She also briefly makes for one of the most interesting Venom variants, She-Venom, when the symbiote bonds with her to save her life.
Venom’s gradual arc away from pure villain to hero is long, and one of its major points is “Spider-Island.” At the time of this massive story arc, Venom is now bonded to Flash Thompson. He’s in full hero mode here as he leads the resistance against the hordes of people mutated into spiders by the Spider Queen.
This story is also important as it’s where Flash, a longtime antagonist of Peter Parker, discovers that he is in fact Spider-Man. He also sacrifices his life to stop the Spider Queen and save the world from her evil plan.
6 Planet Of The Symbiotes
The world was also nearly overrun in another great Venom story arc, “Planet of the Symbiotes.” This mid-90s comic book story saw an entire alien invasion of Earth by other symbiotes after Eddie Brock sends Venom packing in order to try to turn his life around.
The development of the alien symbiote mythology in detail for the first time makes it a fantastic story arc for Venom. This arc truly outlines the cosmic threat of the symbiotes, which forecasted the recent King In Black mega event in the comics.
5 Agent Venom
The Venom symbiote has changed hosts a number of times in the comics. One of the best story arcs showcases the key association with Flash Thompson as Agent Venom.
The early issues of the Agent Venom monthly series show how Flash Thompson, injured in combat, bonds with the Venom symbiote to regain the use of his legs. The consequences are as morally gray as ever for Venom. While Thompson is a soldier and a hero, the symbiote drives him to do extreme and violent things, including almost killing the villain Jack O’Lantern.
4 Lethal Protector
“Lethal Protector” is the first Venom mini-series, and in many ways the beginning of the transition from villain to anti-hero.
This mid-90s series, written by David Michelinie and drawn by Mark Bagley, follows Eddie Brock as he relocates to San Francisco and tries to start over. He becomes the defender of the homeless in the city, as well as for others who have no protection. The story is also critical for introducing several spawns of the Venom symbiote, including Phage, Lasher, Riot, Scream, and Agony.
3 King In Black
The recent “King In Black” story arc in Marvel Comics shows Venom at perhaps his most powerful and his most heroic. The complex mythology of the symbiotes culminates in the invasion of Earth by Knull, the symbiote god, and his seemingly infinite alien hordes. Venom leads the fight against them.
Over the course of the story, Venom becomes the new King In Black and one of the most powerful cosmic beings in the Marvel Universe. He defeats Knull and reaches the apex of his being a superhero in the comics.
2 Separation Anxiety
One comic book story arc that the new movie could potentially reference is “Separation Anxiety.” This 1994 limited series saw Eddie Brock captured by authorities and forcibly removed from the symbiote.
This could be the trigger for the origin of Carnage in the movies, but if not, the story remains compelling for how the other spawn of Venom team up to help rescue him. Phage, Scream, and the others all play a key role in getting Eddie and Venom back together, building out the growing universe of symbiotes and their complex dynamics.
The universe of symbiotes would explode into a multiverse with “Venomverse,” a 2017 comic book story arc that brings together infinite numbers of Venom variants.
The story sees Venom recruited into an interdimensional war with the Poisons, a race of beings who feed on symbiotes and their hosts. The storyline is great for fans of the burgeoning multiverse in the MCU, as it introduces a score of new versions of Venom who are bonded to classic Marvel characters like Captain America, Ghost Rider, and more.