Venom In Animation - A Retrospective

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

By the time Venom had reappeared in the show, a lot had changed if only because of the various complications in the lives of both Spider-Man and Peter Parker. The tone (and many argued quality) had changed substantially since the opening season. He finally returned in Venom Returns (the show never was very clever with it’s titles) as Dormammu and Baron Mordo guided the rocket back to Earth so they could claim the power of the symbiote for themselves. Realising that only someone with the rage and frustration of Eddie Brock could create Venom they offered him the chance to become Venom again.

As mentioned earlier, Brock was now in Ravencroft as everyone believed his mental health had crashed. He also fell in love with Dr Ashley Kafka, who believed Venom was a figment of his imagination. After being reunited with the symbiote, Venom went to Stark Enterprises to steal his inter-dimensional transporter to bring Dormammu back into our dimension and who else would be attending the conference? That’s right, Debra Whitman. Plus, War Machine was there, ready to whoop ass. Oh yeah, so was Spider-Man. The two of them teamed up as Venom caused chaos.

Meanwhile, the real interesting part of the episode was happening in Ravencroft as Baron Mordo offered the symbiote to Cletus Kassady, a complete psychopath who had previously been captured by Spider-Man who was now sharing a cell with Eddie Brock. Accepting the symbiote, Kassady became Carnage and left to assist Brock in stealing the transporter.

I’m aware that a lot of people here don’t care for Carnage, but I thought the show did a very good job with him – I actually found him to be a lot more interesting than Venom. After a brief team up between the two as they battled Spidey and War Machine, Venom and Carnage soon parted ways – Brock had no more time for Dormammu and Carnage felt they didn’t need him to begin with.

Venom, meanwhile, visits the Parker house to find Peter, only to find Mary Jane and Aunt May. He then continues to attempt to ruin Peter’s love life by telling MJ that Pete still has feelings for her. He attempts to attack Peter at the Bugle but instead runs into Dr. Kafka and begins to realise that the symbiote is indeed effecting his emotions and making him angry, just as it did Spider-Man. His rage consumes him when Spider-Man arrives on the scene and is worsened when Iron Man decides to lay the smack down too before he eventually overcomes it and kidnaps Dr. Kafka.

Ugh.

If there’s one thing I hate about Venom, it’s when he’s a good guy. I want him to be Spider-Man’s worst nightmare, not his uneasy alley. The two have teamed up several times in the comics and it only ever really worked the first time in Carnage’s very first (and best) appearance, as Spider-Man realised that he was teaming up with a murderer, a psychotic one at that and betrayed Venom with a little help from Mr. Fantastic and The Human Torch. Ah, Mr. Michelline, will anyone ever understand Venom and Carnage like you? Has anyone even attempted to try?

Anyway, back to the cartoon. Brock doesn’t want to be a monster anymore – he wants Ashley. So, with a little help from Doc Conners, who knows everything about everything, by the way - the man can even speak brail and count backwards from infinity. Where was I? Oh yeah, Brock and the symbiote separated whilst Carnage began to suck the life out of the townspeople as Spider-Man and Iron Man proved helpless to stop him.

After a silly scene in which Madame Web made Spider-Man look like a complete dumb ass by practically spelling out for him that he should approach Brock for help, Spidey and The Golden Avenger asked him where to find, Dormammu, Bordo and Carnage. Feeling that the two of them stood no chance against the troublesome trio and Dr Kafka’s like now in the balance, he re-bonded with the symbiote and became Venom once more before the three went to kick ass.

Both he and Carnage met their demise by the episode’s end when they got stuck in Dormammu’s dimension. Such a shame… they could’ve done so much more with Carnage.

I really would’ve liked to see another Venom appearance before we got Carnage but looking at season two and how much it already had going with the Neogenic Nightmare I don’t know where they would’ve fitted it in. Perhaps a single standalone instead of that tedious Tablet Of Time arc? Any thoughts?

We actually did get a very, very cool villain who really was everything Venom should’ve been in the show though when Spider-Carnage was introduced in the finale. You’re probably think Spider-Carnage and rolling your eyes right now, but they created a much more interesting than the waste of time from the comics – this was an evil version of Peter Parker with all his powers but had nothing but contempt for life and everyone around him because of the way he’d been treated. Sound familiar? Spider-Carnage failed to realise that with great power there must also come great responsibility and got nothing but grief from his powers to the point where he utterly snapped. And as with all great villains, he truly helped define the hero;

Spider-Man: “I’ve gotta stop him! No… that’s what I’m doing wrong… I have to remember, that my enemy here is me. Maybe I shouldn’t be trying to defeat him… maybe what I need to do is understand him.”

I’ll stop there before I have yet another off topic rant on the unparalleled brilliance of Farewell Spider-Man because hopefully you’ve got the point – Spider-Carnage was everything Venom should’ve been. One wonders if saving Venom for the shows finale is something The Spectacular Spider-Man should consider…

Overall, a pretty good but not great show for Venom. He was never quite as cool or interesting as Spider-Man was in the alien costume and was completely trumped by Carnage in his second. But rest assured, as far as animated appearances go, it was about to get much, much worse…