|Preview art courtesy of MTV.com|
In Agent Venom's first adventure with the Guardians, he and his teammates were each separated and captured by different alien factions for different purposes as a part of Peter Quill's father's plan to dismantle the team. As members broke free of their captors in their own respective ways and reassembled, Agent Venom became separated from the group—seemingly at the will of the symbiote for a mysterious scheme that will be revealed during "Planet Venom."
There have been several instances throughout Marvel's history when the veil concealing the truth about the symbiote race was lifted only slightly, including scenes from Venom: The Hunger back in the '90s and in the recent Minimum Carnage crossover series. There have even been events in which readers got to see a planet full of of symbiotes in the noteworthy "Planet of the Symbiotes" story from the '90s and Mighty Avengers: Venom Bomb (although the Venom Bomb in question contained viral clones of the Venom symbiote and not legitimate symbiote spawns). However, in all 30 years of the species' existence, there has never been a story revealing the true homeworld of the symbiotes.
"I looked it up and I was like no, there's been a planet we've seen taken over by symbiotes, but have we not seen the planet of the symbiotes?" Bendis said. "I called [Marvel Senior Vice President Of Publishing] Tom Brevoort, I go, could it be that even in the craziness of the '90s when it was Venom, Venom, Venom every five seconds, that this story has not been told? And he goes, yeah we've never been there. And I'm like, now I have to do it! It's crazy."Editor Mark Marts promises the series will add more content to the symbiote canon as well, including why the Venom symbiote was trapped within the machine Spider-Man fatefully crossed paths with back in Secret Wars #8.
As a veteran Venomaniac (a Venom fan, if you're not familiar with the term), the latter point about finding out why the Venom symbiote was trapped in the machine on Battleworld struck a chord. We already know half of the answer to that mystery: the Venom symbiote was cast from its home because it was deemed insane when it wanted to permanently bond with a single host—something that goes against symbiote nature. (Read more about symbiote biology and behavior in my expansive analysis.) Bendis claims that he won't be retconning any current symbiote canon, but I can't help but dread that he'll somehow forget this important tidbit and somehow redefine the world of symbiotes in a way that is adversely counter to what was already established.
If you know me well, you'll know that my track record with liking what Bendis does with Venom and symbiotes (and Moon Knight, for that matter) leaves much to be desired. I didn't mind Ultimate Venom's reinvention, but his history with symbiotes puts a sour taste in my mouth when I think about it. He's making up for it so far with handling Agent Venom in Guardians of the Galaxy, but I'm still apprehensive about what he's going to do to define symbiote canon. (Mostly because I thought I did a good enough job of it with the aforementioned analysis, and that took a lot of research!)
An aspect I'm really looking forward to in "Planet Venom" and future story arcs, though, is the new dynamic Agent Venom will be taking on during his intergalactic adventures. On Earth, symbiotes are viewed as vicious and violent alien beings; but as is apparent from Agent Venom's first adventure with the Guardians, his symbiote is a familiar and discriminated scourge akin to STDs in the galactic community. Bendis will be utilizing his experiences with his multiracial family and their international travels to bring this new dynamic to the symbiote mythos as we learn more about "Planet Venom."
Sound off, people! Are you excited or nervous (or a little bit of both, like me) for "Planet Venom"? What answers are you looking forward to being answered? Who else besides me wants the Spawning to be the next big symbiote event? Comment below, and look for another volume review of Guardians of the Galaxy from yours truly in the coming weeks! Also, if you're a big Venom and symbiote fan, I urge you to wander over to the brand-new blog, A Dose of Venom, brought to you by The Venom Site—your definitive source of symbiote news, reviews, and point-of-views!