WARNING: This article contains spoilers for Venom #3 by Donny Cates, Ryan Stegman, JP Mayer, Frank Martin and VC's Clayton Cowles, on sale now.
There are many terrorizing figures in the Marvel Universe, but one that may go overlooked is Eddie Brock's Venom. The Lethal Protector made his full debut in 1988's Amazing Spider-Man #300, with his larger-than-life tongue and razor-sharp teeth defining his overall look.
Though Venom underwent a visual overhaul as Agent Venom under Flash Thompson's control, Eddie Brock returned to don the white and black symbiote once again for the antihero's 30th anniversary, culminating in a new series from writer Donny Cates and artist Ryan Stegman.
Part of the Venom relaunch includes a never-before-seen history of the symbiotes as military weapons, a giant symbiote dragon and the self-proclaimed god of the symbiotes. If those revelations weren't enough, Marvel Comics has also unleashed Venom's new ultra-creepy "freak-out" mode, complete with a new color scheme, symbol and alien language.
Everybody Get Your Freak On
Our first look at this intense version of Venom came in Issue #1, when two police officers attempted to apprehend Eddie as he took down Jack O'Lantern. As the officers opened fire, Eddie tried to calm the symbiote down but was unsuccessful. For some reason, the Klyntar wasn't responding to Eddie's commands, until Venom finally spun around to face the policemen while debuting his new look.
As you can see above, gone are the white spider emblem from Venom's chest, replaced with a red dragon and a swirl symbol occupying the space where his eyes would normally be. Venom's word balloon also incorporates the red color scheme, with a weird alien language coming from his lips. This appearance became so popular that Marvel chose it as the cover of Venom #1's second printing.
As Venom #1-3 would reveal, the symbiote would take on this look whenever it was in the presence of the symbiote god, Knull. The deity's powers appear to include control over all symbiotes, leaving Eddie unable to control his "other."
We're Killing Spider-Man
As the symbiote dragon rampaged through New York City, Venom prepared to leap into action to take it on. However, he wasn't the only superhero in the city looking to do the same thing, as Miles Morales swung onto the scene. Unfortunately for the young Spider-Man, he learned firsthand how unhinged Venom can be when he enters freak-out mode and Eddie blacks out, where he is at the whim of the symbiote's deadly impulses.
Venom was already a dangerous superhero when Eddie and the symbiote worked in unison, but the unpredictability of his freak-out mode poses a unique challenge to any characters that cross his path. Miles and Venom eventually put their differences aside (the Ultimate Universe Venom was responsible for killing Miles' mother), but that isn't the last time the freaky side of the Lethal Protector goes wild.
With Knull in control of the Venom symbiote, Eddie has his work cut out for him to devise a plan to reunite with his darker half. If Cates and Marvel were so inclined, they could take advantage of this new look for Venom and keep it around for the long haul, especially when a visual storyteller like Stegman is providing the artwork. We're ready for the day when "Freak-Out Mode Venom" is adapted into toys and other media properties like animation, television and big screen movies.