WARNING: This article contains spoilers for Venomized #1 by Cullen Bunn, Iban Coello, Matt Yackey and Joe Caramagna, on sale now.
Thanos is one of the most intimidating figures in the Marvel Universe, and that's even without his cherished Infinity Gauntlet. But if you substitute that gauntlet for another powerful weapon, the Mad Titan becomes someone both heroes and villains will have nightmares about.
This scenario just became a reality in Venomized #1, as the Poisons -- an alien race from the Venomverse miniseries that feeds on symbiotes and their superhuman hosts -- have declared an all-out assault on the Marvel Universe. Leading the charge for the Poisons is none other than a Venomized Thanos from an alternate reality -- and he's not even the scariest part of this scenario.
Venomverse and Poison-X Collide
This business with the Poisons began last year in Venomverse, when Venom and Eddie Brock were recruited into a war between lethal protectors from across the multiverse and the symbiote-eating (yes, eating) Poisons. The way Poisons operate is simple; they wait for a superpowered individual to be bonded with a symbiote, and then they attempt to feast on the pair.
The Venoms from the multiverse were on the ropes until Eddie had the bright idea to recruit the psychopath Carnage to their side. For some reason, Carnage was immune to the Poisons, and he helped tip the scales in their favor as one last ditch suicide run seemingly destroyed the Poisons and sent the heroes back to their respective dimensions.
We soon learned that other Poisons remained, including their leader Thanos. Venom would cross paths again with the parasitic aliens in a crossover with the X-Men Blue team in "Poison-X," and as a result of the story arc, Jean Grey has been possessed by a Poison and our heroes stuck in space. Meanwhile, the Poisons have chosen Earth -- with its many superheroes -- as their next target.
Their first step involves infecting heroes like the X-Men, Thor, Hercules and even Spider-Man with symbiotes. When Spider-Man tries to use the sound of a clock tower's bell to remove his symbiote (a nice throwback to Web of Spider-Man #1), he learns that this time can't detach himself from the being. These symbiotes have been altered in a way where they are forced to stay with their hosts, no matter the pain, most likely a part of the Poisons' master plan.
Carnage Is The Key To Victory
The Poisons are quick learners; after their last encounter with Carnage, they're determined not to leave Carnage as a wildcard to be played against them. Thanos and his second-in-command, Doctor Doom, send Black Cat and others to fetch the serial killer so they can separate him from his red symbiote and replace it with one of their own. However, what they find is a Cletus Kasady who is no longer bonded with Carnage. In fact, the Carnage symbiote is busy at the moment in the pages of Amazing Spider-Man, where it's helped Norman Osborn level-up to Red Goblin status.
For whatever reason, Cletus is resisting the symbiote bonding procedure. Whether this can be chalked up to his bloodlust or something unique to the Carnage symbiote is up for debate, but the fact of the matter is, Cletus is an anomaly to the Poisons -- which makes him all the more appealing. He could hold the key to victory for the Poisons, or be their undoing.
Thanos and Doctor Doom desperately want to bring Cletus into their hive, thereby making themselves stronger in the process. They've failed once already in Venomverse, and would rather not disappoint their "beloved" again. One trick a Poison uses to lure in their prey is showing them a vision of a loved one; for Doctor Doom it's his mother, but Thanos, of course, sees the grim reaper of Death, who he is constantly trying to please. It's anyone's guess who this might be for Cletus, but it's a safe bet it's not pretty.
If the Mad Titan is able to convert Cletus Kasady to his hive in Venomized, he could very well serve the entire Marvel Universe up on a silver platter to Death.