Marvel’s Most Gruesome Spider-Man Story Unravels Venom’s Most Iconic Host

WARNING: The following contains major spoilers for Darkhold: Spider-Man #1, available now from Marvel Comics.

When the dark elder god Chthon began to manifest on Earth, the world's greatest heroes turned to the pages of the mystical Darkhold in search of a way to stop him. In spite of what they had hoped, this has only resulted in those heroes being dragged into their own worst nightmares. In Peter Parker's case, this left him to stitch back together a city in which everything and everyone is constantly unraveling. Seeing his loved ones come apart day after day is horrific enough, but it is the fate of Spider-Man's closest rival that stands out as being even more tragic and horrific.

Peter Parker has always carried the weight of impossibly great responsibilities, but never before has that been as taxing as it appears in the world of Darkhold: Spider-Man #1 (by Alex Paknadel, Dio Neves, Jim Charalampidis, and VC's Clayton Cowles), where the world has been struck by an event known as the Unraveling. This mysterious plague began with buildings falling apart and has evolved to the point where it now affects the living as well. Spider-Man's constant attempts to literally hold the world around him together has only prolonged the inevitable, but the reappearance of Venom has given the hero hopes of finding a more permanent solution to the problem. Unfortunately, Peter's former enemy is suffering a fate that may be even worse than anything he has thus far experienced on this already tragic world.

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When Peter finds the symbiote, it is barely clinging to life while harboring the desiccated corpse of Eddie Brock within itself. Spider-Man believed that he could use Venom to permanently stitch the city back together, but those hopes are dashed by the current state of the symbiote. As it explains to Peter, leaving the corpse of Brock behind to save itself was never an option because the body had become its home. It has therefore clung to the shell of a long gone host with it's own life energy slowly ebbing away.

Venom and Eddie's bond may have been initially born out of a mutual hatred for Spider-Man, but it has grown into one of the most complicated yet endearing relationships in the entire Marvel Universe. From initially being the Lethal Protector of innocents to becoming the living god of the symbiotes, Venom and Eddie have developed the kind of bond that is genuinely unshakable. This in exemplified in the fact that the symbiote chooses to die rather than bond with Peter Parker.

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Thankfully, the vision of the world seen through the pages of the Darkhold is only that, though that doesn't lessen the impression it has left on those who have read from it. As disturbing as it might be, Venom's story speaks to the heart of the character rather than simply putting them through a gruesome demise.

Although the mainstream version of Venom doesn't appear to be in any danger of literally coming apart at the seams, it still remains a vital part of Eddie Brock's life, even as it now forges a new bond with his son, Dylan.

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John Dodge (1282 Articles Published)

John Dodge has been an avid consumer of comic books and nerd culture for as long as he can remember. An expert on competitive gaming and obscure kids shows from the 80's and 90's, John has far too many opinions about Beetleborgs for someone in their thirties. You can find him occasionally discussing them over on Twitter at @JohnJDodge.

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