Venom In Animation - A Retrospective

Part One - Part Two - Part Three - Part Four - Part Five

The episode was going to be a difficult one to crack from the very beginning. The world and his friend was expecting nothing less than a classic episode for the first appearance of Venom and the build up had been done exceptionally well.

Rhino and The Shocker again return to act as jobbers for Venom as he easily lays the smackdown on both of them, much to the confusion of The Amazing Spider-Man. I always liked how they had Brock reveal himself to be Venom, rather than the other way around. Venom quickly outclasses Spider-Man and begins to torture him by threatening his friends and family.

"You know nothing about us but we know everything about you. You'll see us everywhere - even in your nightmares." It’s often stated that this episode doesn’t quite live up to parts one and two but it’s by no means a terrible or even a bad episode. I think the biggest drawback is that it simply doesn’t look anywhere near as eye popping as either of the previous parts. The majority of the episode takes place at night and the models were re-coloured for this episode. Spider-Man looked a lot duller than he previously had but Venom simply looked crap. They chose far too light a colour palette – baby blue and a red so faint it’s practically pink. Considering how awesome Venom looked in the comics at the time thanks to the sensational pencils of Todd McFarlane, Erik Larsen and Mark Bagley, it was such a disappointment to see his design lack that special spark.

The most memorable part of the episode features Spider-Man battling his venomous foe as Venom rips his mask off with a sea of spectators below, with J. Jonah Jameson, fearless publisher of The Daily Bugle zooming in, trying to get a close up on his face. See, this version of Spider-Man is actually interesting, and cares about his secret identity, unlike the current bore from the comics who does little but make Spider-Man fans question what exactly they’ve done to deserve such tedious stories. Spider-Man Unmasked, my ass. The drama is ruined by the scene lasting just a little too long and stretching the believability a little too thin.

After getting his spare mask from home and having his date ruined, Peter comes up with a plan to end this nightmare he’s currently living through. A rather clever piece of detective work leads him to Eddie’s new address and he taunts him again, revelling in Eddie’s firing from The Bugle by posting pictures of it all over his wall.

He eventually leads Venom back to the John Jameson space shuttle and separates the symbiote from Eddie and launches the goo back into space and leaves Brock on the premises. He’s arrested shortly afterwards and sent to Ravencroft. There’s some nice characterisation in there – no one is willing to believe that Eddie is Venom and they simply believe he is a figment of Brock imagination, brought on by the stress caused by Spider-Man.

“He took my job, my health, my apartment... my symbiote”

He was quite the completely evil SOB from the original appearance in the comics, but still, I thought Venom received a stellar introduction and I couldn’t wait to see him again. I just didn’t realise at the time I’d have to wait so long…