Thanks to a psychic cleansing, the alien Klyntar -- known to Earth's heroes and villains as Venom -- was given a second chance to leave behind its life as a rage-fueled monster and become a hero. It's fortunate, then, that the symbiotic being's current host is Flash Thompson, a former soldier and recovering alcoholic who appreciates the transformative value of second chances. In "Venom: Space Knight," writer Robbie Thompson and artist Ariel Olivetti have been detailing Flash and his symbiotic partner's shared exploitation of their second chances by working as cosmic knights errant for the mysterious "Agents of the Cosmos."
As Flash knows all too well, negative behaviors can cause relapses, with devastating consequences, and that's just what happened when an Agents of the Cosmos instructor attempted to take custody of Venom, believing the Klyntar had gone back to his old, villainous ways. The resulting struggle has pushed Venom over the edge and now Flash and his friends must find his symbiotic partner before the rampaging Klyntar does something that can't be forgiven.
CBR News spoke with Thompson about the series' current storyline, which finds the big, bad incarnation of Venom back in full force. We explore he supporting characters that will aid and oppose Flash's quest to save his friend, working with the new art team of Kim Jacinito and Gerardo Sandoval, and the series' upcoming "Civil War II" arc, which sends Flash back to Earth and brings him face to face with his role model, Spider-Man.
CBR News: "Venom: Space Knight" #7 kicked off a new arc, where the moments of negative emotion and rage the Klyntar has recently felt spiraled out of control. It's mentioned the cleansing process used on Flash's Klyntar can lead to impurities, which got me wondering -- is the Klyntar like Flash in that it's an addict?Â Are the moments of rage the Klyntar's feeling sort of it falling off the wagon?
Robbie Thompson: We're going to be exploring the role rage and anger plays in the Klyntar's personality, so we are definitely headed in the direction you're talking about. Did the cleanse completely purify the Klyntar, or are there things it still needs to work on? Is it addicted to its old ways, or can it find balance the way Flash has? We'll be digging further into those issues in the coming arc, and -- no spoilers, but if you've been looking for Big Bad Venom, look no further!
When the fight broke out, Flash's Klyntar felt a bit betrayed. Then, by the end of the issue, it was out of control. How was Flash feeling as he watched his friend fly away at the end of the issue?
Flash feels a real connection to the Klyntar, and a sense of kinship with regards to the emotions and issues you brought up in the first question -- Flash is in recovery, and as we've seen in previous issues, he's doing the work, and keeping on the path he's committed himself to, staying sober and taking it one day at a time. But there's a part of him that worries about falling back into his old ways, so, when he sees the Klyntar going back to old habits, it's very personal for Flash, and hard for him not to see himself and his own struggles in his friend.
This issue was the first with Flash and his permanent crew of Iqa, Pik Rollo, her daughter Hilla and 803. How does it feel to have such a large cast to bounce Flash and the Klyntar off of? What kind of roles will they play in the book moving forward?
Building out Flash's crew is something that came organically in the first arc, and it's been a lot of fun to have more characters for Flash to play off of as the series has moved forward into its second arc. It's always going to be Flash's book, but these new characters reflect and refract Flash's inner journey and they all challenge his status quo in different ways. Plus, I just love Space Bears.
This issue also marked the return of Flash's Agents of the Cosmos instructor, Tarna, who was revealed to be a Skrull beneath her Klyntar. What inspired the creation of Tarna? Was she always going to be a Skrull?
Early on, Editor Jacob Thomas and I talked about Venom learning more from other Agents of the Cosmos as the book progressed, which led us to bringing in new characters to help build out the established lore. Initially, my thoughts weren't Skrull -- but I saw Ariel Olivetti's design for the characters, and then shortly after, Jake and I were talking about who or what were under those Klyntars, and "Skrull" just popped into the conversation. It felt like an interesting mix -- an alien like that teamed up with a Klyntar. I'm really enjoying writing Tarna and we're going to get to know more about her, and how she wound up an Agent as the book goes along.
Tarna, Flash and his crew were left watching the Klyntar fly away at the end of issue #7.Â I imagine the title of the new arc, "Klyntar's Last Hunt," is a good indication of what they're going to do next. Ultimately, what's at stake for Flash and the Klyntar in this story?
This next arc is definitely going to test Flash and his new crew, and really push them to their limits. It's going to be told from the point of view of Flash, and as he and his crew hunt down the Klyntar all over the galaxy, we're actually going to be telling a much more personal story about Flash and shine a little more light on how and why he and the Klyntar have bonded.
What's at stake is Venom's life -- Flash wants to protect him and make sure he's okay, but Tarna and the Agents view him as a threat. Flash isn't going to let anything happen to his friend, so he's going to be putting himself in harm's way -- which means he's headed straight for an out of control Klyntar.
We know how Flash and Tarna feel about Venom, but how does the rest of the crew feel about hunting Flash's Klyntar friend?
Pik Rollo and Iqa are on Flash's side, but they've never seen this aspect of Venom before, and never been on the receiving end of his wrath. 803 probably wouldn't mind being torn to shreds by the Klyntar, but even he is starting to bond to the other folks on the ship. Their biggest antagonist is going to be the Klyntar itself, and that's going to push them all to the edge pretty quickly.
We will be seeing some familiar worlds and faces from the first arc of the book -- but we will also be visiting some new and fantastic worlds, including one from the Klyntar's past.
Does Flash's connection to the Guardians of the Galaxy mean a "Civil War II" tie-in is in the book's future?
We are headed for Earth! And as you can see in solicits for #10, that means a collision course with the one and only Spider-Man! I'm so excited we are going to be tying into the "Civil War II" event, and if you are like me and you loved Remender and Bunn's runs on Venom -- you will definitely be seeing some familiar faces and plot threads from those amazing comics.
"Venom: Space Knight" has really been a showcase of Ariel Olivetti's design skills with all the strange new characters and worlds. What's it been like watching him build the comic's universe?
Working with Ariel has been a dream come true -- he's a wonderful storytelling partner and his sense of design and pacing is phenomenal. Whenever he unleashes Big Bad Venom it's an absolute joy to witness. He was the perfect artist to launch this book, and I'm so grateful Jake and Marvel teamed us up. I'm super sad to see him move on, but I'm also super excited to see what's next for him -- he'll always be on my pull list! His art is always so stunning, but he went above and beyond with "Venom" and I'm so grateful for everything he brought to this book.
I'm really lucky, though, because Jake and Kathleen Wisneski have lined up Kim Jacinito and Gerardo Sandoval to take the reins of the book. I just saw some of Kim Jacinto's pages for Issue #8, and they are absolutely fantastic and terrifying! As Jake said, "Pure nightmare fuel!" Gerardo is killing it as well and I can't wait for people to see his work too. We also still have lettering mastermind Joe Caramagna on the book and his work continues to be outstanding.