Since his debut, Venom has generally been considered one of the most blood-thirsty characters of the Marvel lot - even in his 'Lethal Protector' era - but in the new event series Venomverse, the alien symbiote and his reunited partner Eddie Brock are meeting their match in a Venom-eating alien race known as the Poisons.
The five-issue weekly series debuts this week from writer Cullen Bunn and artist Iban Coello, reuniting Bunn with the symbiote as he's the star of his biggest storyline in almost 20 years.
Although Venomverse #1 is on stands now, Newsarama is holding back on any spoilers just yet and talking with Bunn about the series, his reunion with the Venom symbiote, and what gruesome Venom/Marvel superhero mash-ups readers can expect.
Newsarama: Cullen, Venomverse is shaping up to be Venom’s biggest story ever. How are you going to celebrate the Lethal Protector’s big moment?
Cullen Bunn: Every issue of Venomverse is a celebration of Venoms of every shape and size! Classic Venoms, raccoon-sized Venoms, flaming head demonic Venoms! You name it, we've got it! And the theme of this party: put these characters in the most dire fight of their lives against an enemy who is far more powerful than they are and who outnumbers them 10 to 1.
Nrama: Venomverse will “Venomize” numerous Marvel heroes. Who are you most excited to see bond with the symbiote? Any characters that might shock some readers?
Bunn: There are a few characters I'm excited to write. Eddie and Mania, of course, but of the new characters I think you might be surprised the most by Rocket Raccoon and Ant-Man. They both kind of jumped to the forefront for me. It surprised me how much I really liked them.
Nrama: What’s drawing Eddie Brock – and these other Venoms – into Venomverse?
Bunn: It's less of a "what" and more of a "who." The Venoms are being conscripted into a war, drawn to a battle-ravaged world where they must stand against an alien menace called the Poisons. These beings have a... taste for Venom symbiotes.
Nrama: We’ve now seen some of the Poisons – what you’ve called the universe’s answer to Venom. What can you tell us about the Poisons and how they work?
Bunn: Wow. I'm not sure how much I can reveal here without spoiling some cool story moments. The Poisons are connected to symbiotes in a major way. They have only recently discovered the existence of symbiotes - Venom in particular. There is something about the symbiotes that makes them very important to the Poisons. The Poisons are quite different from the symbiotes. They're more rigid, less fluid, but they also have more than one form. Some of those forms make them very dangerous.
Nrama: Iban Coello is drawing the core Venomverse story. What’s his take on Venom like, and how has his approach helped shape the story?
Bunn: If you've seen some of the pages, then you know Iban is not messing around when it comes to drawing Venom! He draws some awesome crazy comic book action! And he does such a great job with the Venoms in general. When you have a bunch of characters wearing what is essentially the same costume (most of which are fully masked) it can be tough to sell some of the emotional beats. But Iban brings these characters to life. And he draws some mean, monstrous baddies.
Nrama: What can you tell us about Venomverse: War Stories, which you’re also contributing too?
Bunn: Venomverse: War Stories gives readers a look at many of the various Venoms from all across the multiverse. You'll see some fun versions of your favorite Lethal Protector here, and some of those characters will appear in the main series (in one way or another). My piece of War Stories is sort of a quick prelude to the first issue of Venomverse - a look at something that was happening right before Eddie gets pulled into the fight.
Nrama: You had a long run on Venom’s solo series writing Flash Thompson as Venom. How do you approach Eddie Brock differently than the other hosts?
Bunn: Eddie is both better and worse than Flash as a host. I imagine that the symbiotes enhance who you are, and Eddie was not a nice person. In his case, though, he is actually trying to be a better man, and that's due in some small degree to the symbiote itself. He doesn't want to be drawn into a war on some far-off world. That's not his style at all. But once he's there, he goes into full Lethal Protector mode. In this case, though, he's protecting the symbiotes and their hosts.
Nrama: Will you be involved in what’s next for Venom after Venomverse?
Bunn: Who says there will be any Venoms left post-Venomverse?
That's a loaded question, and the loaded answer is "you bet!"
Nrama: What can you tell us about Venomverse that you haven’t told anyone yet?
Bunn: Hmmm. Tough one. Well, I just saw Iban's art for the last page of the final issue of the series, and it has such a glorious, shocking moment, I think it will drive readers wild.