WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for Venom #8 by Donny Cates, Iban Coello, Andres Mossa and Clayton Cowles, in stores now.
While most fans associate Venom with his main host, Eddie Brock, there was another character from the Spider-Man mythos who had a special bond with the alien symbiote, some who became a fan-favorite all his own: Flash Thompson.
As part of Project Rebirth 2.0, Flash became Agent Venom, making his comic book debut in 2011's Amazing Spider-Man #654 by Dan Slott, Paulo Siqueira and Ronan Cliquet. Agent Venom was more super-soldier than alien monster, however, and his new costume and firepower made him a force to be reckoned with.
He became a member of the Secret Avengers, faced down Carnage, joined the Thunderbolts for a spell, and even became a Guardian of the Galaxy. After losing the symbiote in 2017, Flash would become Agent Anti-Venom, a role he held until making the ultimate sacrifice to help Spider-Man defeat the Red Goblin in last summer's Amazing Spider-Man #800.
But even though he's dead, Flash Thompson and his Agent Venom alter ego manage to make a brief return in Venom#8, a return sure to delight (and possibly disappoint) the hero's fans.
For the past few issues, Eddie Brock has been held prisoner by Project Oversight, under the watchful eye of The Maker, aka the dimension-displaced evil Reed Richards of the pre-Secret Wars Ultimate Universe (trust us, it makes sense). Brock is still in possession of the Venom symbiote, although their confrontation with the Grendel -- an ancient and powerful symbiote dragon -- left Eddie's symbiote cut off from the hive mind of the Klyntar. As a result, it's now a shell of what it once was.
The door for Flash's return is opened when The Maker reveals that, through one of Flash's old blood samples, he was able to retrieve a small part of the symbiote, a trace amount that it leaves behind in its host bodies. More importantly, it's a codex that still contains an imprint of the host.
When Eddie and his symbiote lash out and try to escape from the clutches of Project Oversight, they find this codex, and absorb it. Then, for a brief moment, what's left of Flash Thompson takes over, and Agent Venom is briefly reborn as the Flash codex takes the wheel. Grabbing some guns from the Oversight guards, Agent Venom takes on a small army to escape captivity in a cheer-inducing action sequence.
Unfortunately, once freed, Brock informs us that whatever part of Flash was still in the codex was burnt out after being used. Agent Venom has once again left almost as soon as he returned. But if there is one thing this issue wanted to remind us of, it's how awesome Agent Venom truly is -- a fact that even Eddie Brock can't deny.
KEEP READING: Dave Gibbons Gives Venom a Watchmen-Themed Variant