On June 14, the Venom symbiote gets a brand new, untarnished host in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN: RENEW YOUR VOWS #8 written by Gerry Conway with art by Ryan Stegman. That’s right, responsible mom, loving wife, and trend setting fashion blogger and boutique owner Mary Jane Watson-Parker tackles a new challenge: showing that alien space suit who’s boss.
To see just where the bar is set let’s take a look back on past hosts…
Spider-Man: While fighting alongside his fellow heroes on Battleworld, Spidey went looking for a suit to replace his damaged one and instead accidently found the Venom symbiote. Peter Parker definitely remains the host that Venom loves to hate. The oldest pairing of the bunch, they have a bad relationship that just won’t end. After rejecting the alien entity, Spider-Man frequently finds himself either the target of Venom’s rage, or the eye of a desperate attempt to reclaim him. Hell hath no fury like a weird alien death suit scorned?
Deadpool: Fun fact for all you thinking it’s Spider-Man or nothing at all, Deadpool actually became the first human to bond with the symbiote. He also came across the alien while searching for a way to repair his outfit on Battleworld. However, in a somewhat ironic twist of fate, he immediately detached himself thinking he would corrupt the suit. Oh Wade, if only you knew… But after Spider-Man abandoned the little guy it sought out Deadpool once more and thus began Wade and Venom’s moral rollercoaster ride.
Eddie Brock: A Spider-Man-resenting news reporter who just so happens to come across our poor rejected alien symbiote after Deadpool sends it packing. Sensing his fixation on the Wall-Crawler, Venom merges with Eddie because the enemy of my enemy is my friend. Eventually Eddie sells the symbiote to Angelo Fortunato’s father, Don.
Angelo Fortunato: With this host, for the first time we see the symbiote setting some standards for itself instead of getting kicked to the curb. After only a brief period bonded to Angelo, Venom finds him cowardly and unworthy and abandons him while jumping between buildings. Yes, that does mean he fell to his death. And yes, that’s probably a bit of an overreaction.
Mac Gargan: Venom choose to bond with the villain known as Scorpion and somewhere between the Sinister Twelve and a Thunderbolts team we find out that Mac had special implants to help control the symbiote. They evidently did not work considering by the end of his time with the suit he had some pretty strong “let me eat you” vibes going on, forcing the government to split the two.
Flash Thompson: The U.S. military’s brilliant attempt to weaponize the creature, known as Project Rebirth. Flash took a novel approach to controlling the suit: basically, this entailed getting it addicted to drugs so it couldn’t leave him and wouldn’t make him eat people. But over the course of their team-up Venom began to like the hero lifestyle so that’s still a win, right?
Ann Weying: Eddie Brock’s ex wife briefly bonded with the symbiote, becoming She-Venom on two occasions; once on Eddie’s request to save her from dying from a gunshot wound, and the second as a way to escape police custody. Poor little symbiote just wanted to be helpful but ended up turning her into a real man-eater causing a guilt ridden Anne to commit suicide after killing a couple thugs.
Otto Octavius (Peter Parker): Otto tricked our poor defenseless symbiote into bonding with him, thinking it a true return to his favorite host, Peter Parker; he of course became overwhelmingly violent until Mary Jane asked the Avengers for help. Flash Thompson coaxed his little buddy back to him and the symbiote ended up alerting him to something being off with the so-called “Superior” Spider-Man.
There have been many other brief hosts of Venom including: Patricia Robertson, Lee Price, Carol Danvers, Red Hulk, Gorilla, Groot, Rocket Raccoon, Drax, Mercurio, and Otto Octavius. As well as a few “What If?” story lines with The Punisher, Wolverine, Thor, Galactus, Black Bolt, and Captain America.
So with all the hosts before her there’s quite a bit of wiggle room for MJ. Even if she’s not in perfect control she really just has to avoid randomly killing or eating people and as far as history is concerned she’s right in that sweet spot.
Be sure to catch all the potential limb devouring in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN: RENEW YOUR VOWS #8, out June 14!