WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Venom #25 by Donny Cates, Mark Bagley, Ryan Stegman, Andy Owens, JP Mayer, Frank Martin and VC’s Clayton Cowles, available now.
Eddie Brock and the Venom symbiote have barely gotten the chance to take a break since the newest volume of the Lethal Protector’s ongoing series began. The duo has faced one threat after another, including the massive Grendel dragon, the symbiote god Knull, the Ultimate Universe’s Maker, War of the Realms, Absolute Carnage and most recently, “Venom Island.”
Each story arc has added a new layer to the Venom mythos while tying into other sections of the Marvel Universe in surprising and creative ways. The end of “Venom Island” in Venom #25 closes out the first phase of Donny Cates, Ryan Stegman, JP Mayer, Frank Martin and Clayton Cowles’ run with a two-page spread teasing what’s to come.
From the return of Knull to mysterious new threats looming on the horizon, we’re taking a closer look at how each of these Easter eggs paints a dark future for Eddie Brock, Venom and the entire Marvel Universe.
The first image we see is a character that has already been teased for the next Venom story arc. Virus, a hybrid of Venom and Iron Man, was originally going to debut in Marvel’ Free Comic Book Day 2020: Spider-Man/Venom issue. With FCBD being postponed this year, it’s not clear if or when this issue will be released or if its intended contents will show up elsewhere. However, Venom writer Donny Cates provided a little bit of background on this new villain, who debuts on the cover to Venom #26.
“Absolute Carnage is a prelude to a larger thing, and we’ll see the opposite of what that is coming very soon,” Cates said. “With ‘Venom Island’, we’re looking back at his history, revisiting certain things from Venom’s past. With ‘Venom Beyond,’ all I will say is that we will be looking into the future.”
Since we know “Venom Beyond” will tap into Venom’s future, it’s safe to assume that Virus will have some message from or connection to the future, possibly bringing a warning or a message to the antihero. While the first thought is the person piloting the Virus armor is Eddie Brock, it could also very well be an adult version of his son, Dylan. All we can see when Virus begins to pull off his helmet in Venom #25 is the lower half of his face, so his identity is being kept a secret for a reason. Another possibility is Virus is the original Iron Man, Tony Stark. Eddie appears to join the Avengers at the end of Venom #25’s main story, so Tony could be coming from the future for a very specific reason.
The Reed Richards from the Ultimate Marvel Universe is known as the Maker. He’s one of the few characters to survive the collapse of the multiverse in 2015’s Secret Wars and arrive in the Marvel Universe. Though he’s found himself at odds with superhero teams like the New Avengers and Ultimates, he has now set his sights on Venom. Venom #20 revealed how Eddie’s symbiote plays into the Maker’s evil scheme, with it all tying back to the villain attempting to return to his original universe.
Venom #20 ended with Maker having a holographic meeting with the Council of Reeds, which is a gathering of Reed Richards from across the multiverse. The Maker has intentions of joining the group, but he must first find a way to restore the Ultimate Universe. In order to safely travel between universes, Maker is gathering symbiotes to repair the symbiote from his world. Dylan’s display of power in Absolute Carnage put the young boy on Maker’s radar, and our two-page spread displays evil Reed standing in front of a multiversal portal with a symbiote slithering around his body, which means at some point in the future he succeeds in his mission.
While some of these future visions are known threats, two stand out as being completely new, and thereby all the more dangerous. The middle top of the image features either a symbiote or a pack of symbiotes taking control of a piece of Celestial armor while the Grendel dragon soars around it. We know that Knull and the symbiotes have been around since before the birth of the Marvel Universe and even decapitated a Celestial with his Necrosword, the All-Black. Of course, fans will recognize this floating Celestial head as the Guardians of the Galaxy’s pitstop known as Knowhere.
However, an even more intriguing figure is revealed at the bottom-right of the symbiote Celestial. Whoever this person is, they are sporting a red logo of the Grendel on their chest, with a mask, armor and cape covering their body. The character has long black hair and appears to be walking on top of red mist bubbling up from the ground. Similar to Virus, the character’s identity is kept a secret.
Though he is a less-known member of Marvel’s cosmic corner, Wraith will play an integral role in Cates’ Venom stories. Wraith is a Kree gunslinger who has his body covered in an alien parasite known as Exolon, which Knull had a hand in creating. He guest-starred during Cates’ run on Guardians of the Galaxy as a part of Eros’ Dark Guardians, who were hunting down Gamora. They believed Gamora was going to be a vessel for a reincarnated Thanos, with the twist being that Eros was the vessel all along.
Wraith will star in a Web of Venom one-shot later this year that Cates promises will introduce “a brand-new concept that has never been hinted at or talked about in the Marvel Universe.” While that remains a mystery until the comic comes out, Venom #25 shows him battling the massive Grendel dragon. With Wraith being so important to upcoming storylines, expect to see a lot more of him over the next few months.
Last but certainly not least is Knull, the god of the symbiotes. Knull has been the boogeyman of this most recent volume of Venom, lurking in the shadows ever since he was imprisoned back on the planet Klyntar. Cletus Kasady and Carnage succeeded in getting Venom to release Knull from his prison in Absolute Carnage, which means the god is on a collision course with Earth.
Eddie finally came clean to the Avengers in Venom #25, telling them everything he knows about Knull and the threat he poses. Battlelines will soon be drawn as Earth’s Mightiest Heroes will stand alongside Venom to fight back Knull and his army of invading symbiotes.
Venom #25 offered a glimpse of Eddie Brock's future, which features the return of Knull, his first encounter with Virus and a mysterious caped figure.