Do you remember when Peter Parker realized the darth path the Venom symbiote was taking him down, and kicked it to the curb and it found its way to Deadpool?
...wait, you don't?
Well, you're not alone - but that 'untold story' from Marvel's past is being told in a new five-issue twice-monthly title, Deadpool: Back In Black. Continuing in the Merc with a Mouth's long history of intruding on classic continuity, longtime Deadpool writer Cullen Bunn and artist Salva Espin are delving back into the heart of 1980s Marvel for this story of the Venom symbiote's time after Peter but before Eddie Brock.
And as part of it, Bunn and Espin are re-living the 1980s with copious amounts of that period's characters, from the classic Power Pack to Obnoxio the Clown, and even Kraven the Hunter. The long-time Deadpool scribe spoke with Newsarama about this retro rewind that's re-writing Spider-Man lore, and delving into just what exactly a Wade Wilson melded with the Venom symbiote would actually be.
Newsarama: Cullen, you’re moonlighting from Deadpool & The Mercs For Money with another Deadpool miniseries, Back In Black. What’s this story about?
Cullen Bunn: Way back in 1985, Spider-Man bonded with an alien symbiote. This symbiote gave him a cool power buff and a sweet new costume. The big drawback was that the symbiote had a mind and will of its own, and it tried to enforce that will on Spidey. Eventually, Spider-Man ditched the symbiote and, as comic fans know, the alien went on to bond with Eddie Brock to become Venom, the villain who hates Spidey more than anything.
What fans didn't know - until now - is that before the symbiote found Eddie Brock, it bonded with Wade Wilson – Deadpool - and went on a wild adventure through the 1985-era Marvel Universe.
Nrama: So does page one start right up in that 1980s Marvel era?
Bunn: The first issue picks up as Spider-Man was ditching the symbiote. This is what longtime readers might have seen in Web Of Spider-Man #1. But we very quickly get into territory that readers haven't seen yet, especially when a group of intergalactic bounty hunters - including Killer Thrill, who we were introduced to in Drax - show up to apprehend the wayward alien.
Nrama: So Deadpool with the Venom symbiote – how much Venom is in this for fans of that character?
Bunn: So much Venom. This is as much a Venom story as it is a Deadpool story. There's a debate about who makes the best Venom. I've often said Flash Thompson was the best. Maybe I've changed my tune. Maybe Deadpool was the best. I think this story will help sway some readers to that way of thinking.
Nrama: This is the second time you’ve put Venom and Wade Wilson together in a story. Why do you think the two are such a potent combination?
Bunn: This is a team-up that never goes in the direction readers might expect. It's hard to predict what Deadpool might do in any given situation. Throw the symbiote into the mix, and he's even more unpredictable. I like how the symbiote, in bonding with Deadpool, is exposing itself to his crazy way of thinking. And it's a lot of fun to see how the symbiosis between the two helps to cement how both characters feel about a certain wallcrawler.
Nrama: Power Pack is on the cover to Deadpool: Back In Black #2 – are they in this book?
Bunn: Oh, yes. Power Pack is featured in the second issue of the series, as is Obnoxio the Clown. Obnoxio is hired as entertainment for a kid's birthday party. Power Pack is in attendance. That brings the alien Snarks into the story. And that brings Deadpool. It'll be total mayhem!
Nrama: Any chance we’ll see Peter Parker, Eddie Brock, Flash Thompson, or any other people who’ve had the Venom symbiote?
Bunn: Hmm. I'm not sure how much to say without spoiling major elements of the book. Two of the three characters you mention have roles in the book. They may be smaller roles, but they're important.
Nrama: Who else can people look forward to in Deadpool: Back In Black?
Bunn: Let's see if I can remember them off the top of my head. Dansen Macabre, Machine Man, Black Cat, the White Rabbit, Kraven... and there are a few others, too, including a surprise or two. I went back and did a lot of research into what was going on in the comics being published around the time this story was taking place. I tried to use characters and events that seemed "right" for the era.
Nrama: So we’ve talked about everything here except for Wade himself. What is he after in Deadpool: Back In Black?
Bunn: Wade is brought into this story because the symbiote seeks him out for help. So part of the story is about Deadpool trying to keep the symbiote alive. But Deadpool also sees this as a chance to be a real superhero. But he's never been very good at that, so he messes things up royally.
Nrama: For this you’re working once again with Salva Espin, fresh from Mercs for Money. How are you keying into his style with your script?
Bunn: I'm trying to play to Salva's deftness with visual comedy. I've worked with him so many times, I can't help but write this as a "Salva comic,” and that means we're going for a lot of craziness and fun.
Nrama: Big picture, what are your goals for Deadpool: Back In Black?
Bunn: First things first... I want to tell a story that entertains the readers. I also want to weave some new mythology into the story of Venom... and I want to introduce this new character - the Deadpool/Venom team supreme - that readers will want to see more of. Listen, this story is set in the world of the comics of the 80s. Of course I'd love to follow it up with a Deadpool/Venom story set in the extreme 90s!