WARNING: This article contains mild spoilers for Venomized #1 by Cullen Bunn, Iban Coello, Matt Yackey and Joe Caramagna, on sale now.
The Marvel Universe is being overrun by a species of symbiote-eating aliens called Poisons. Part of their goal is bonding superhuman individuals with Klyntars — the alien race where the Venom symbiote originated from — so they can then feast on the pairing. Heroes such as the X-Men, Thor, Hercules and others have already fallen prey to the Poisons’ opening salvo.
One superhero in particular who finds himself bonded with a symbiote is Spider-Man, who so happens to have a history with the aliens. In fact, a scene in Venomized #1 pays homage to a classic moment in Spider-Man’s mythos that dates back to Marvel’s original Secret Wars miniseries.
The Origin Of Spider-Man’s Black Suit
Spider-Man’s first encounter with the Venom symbiote came in 1984’s Secret Wars #8. After his red-and-blue costume became torn up on Battleworld, Peter noticed his fellow heroes were getting theirs replaced with brand new ones via a special device. Not one to be left out of receiving an upgrade, Peter activated what he thought was the uniform-making device, releasing the black alien symbiote called Venom. Engulfing his entire body, this new black suit changed the spider symbol and eyes to white.
When Peter returned to earth after Secret Wars, he brought the symbiote along with him and wore it for a short amount of time, before realizing it was bad for his health. The cover to Secret Wars #8 famously shows Spider-Man in the black suit for the very first time, in a pose with his arms extended to his sides and a surprised look on his masked face.
As the Poisons begin to make their way across New York City infecting superheroes with symbiotes, they catch the web-slinger’s attention. Spider-Man finds himself squaring off with an alternate dimension Poison-Punisher who still uses military weapons, even though his whole body is now a weapon. The explosion from grenades tossed Spider-Man’s direction results in him being covered head to toe with another black symbiote, as artist Iban Coello and colorist Matt Yackey recreate Spider-Man’s pose from the cover of Secret Wars #8.
Seeing as how Spider-Man doesn’t have the best memories of his time wearing the Venom symbiote, he manages to take this new development pretty well. Spidey does remember that one of the symbiotes’ weaknesses is sound, so he tries his old trick of taking it to a clock tower so the ringing would make the alien flee from his body. However, the Poisons have altered these symbiotes to be resistant to their old flaws, throwing a wrinkle into how Marvel’s heroes will need to combat them.
It’s been over 30 years since readers got their first glimpse of what a black-suited Spider-Man looks like. They say fashion is cyclical, and what was once old will soon be new again, for a new generation. The weekly Venomized miniseries is testing that theory with Spider-Man’s Secret Wars callback, and Marvel will look to keep the trend going in writer Dan Slott’s final Amazing Spider-Man story and into the title’s “Fresh Start” relaunch.
You never know… Spider-Man may come to finally appreciate the “less is more” look that comes with dressing in all black. Especially when the suit doesn’t have a mind of its own.
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