The following contains major spoilers for Dark Web #1, available now from Marvel Comics.
Marvel’s Dark Web has only begun to unravel, yet it is already spinning some of the most destructive threads that Spider-Man has ever encountered. Not only have Madelyne Pryor and Ben Reilly joined forces to make the Wall-Crawler’s life into an abject horror story, they have brought out the worst in Peter Parker’s oldest rival. Eddie Brock may have come to terms with his past, but that hasn’t stopped it from coming clawing its way back to the surface with lethal intentions.
While Peter Parker and his friends are doing the best they can to take in the holiday season, Dark Web #1 (by Zeb Wells, Adam Kubert, Frank Martin, and VC’s Joe Caramagna) finds Madelyne Pryor and Ben Reilly plotting the Wall-Crawler’s downfall. While unleashing an army of demons and devils possessing ordinary objects throughout the city is enough to bring the hero out into the fray, they are just the beginning of what Spider-Man’s enemies have planned. In fact, Ben and Madelyne aren’t even the only ones with their sights set on Spider-Man, and Venom is poised to do more damage than either of them ever could.
Venom is Once Again Marvel’s Terrifying Lethal Protector
While Ben has been coming to terms with the loss of his memories and subsequent transformation into Chasm, Eddie has been dealing with a situation that is surprisingly even more tragic. After being ripped through time, he was confronted by his successors as King in Black, including the hulking Bedlam and scheming Meridius. Worse still, these future Kings in Black were all revealed to be future iterations of Eddie. Thankfully, he was able to escape his ethereal prison and seemingly break the cycle, though not without striking a dark bargain along the way.
In the Hellish pits of Limbo, Eddie met Madelyne Pryor, who convinced him that she could help him with his journey back home. To her credit, Madelyne has indeed brought Eddie back to Earth, albeit without reuniting him with his son, Dylan. Instead, Madelyne and Ben have stripped Eddie’s sense of self just as they lost theirs, leaving behind only the monstrous, cannibalistic version of Venom who many fans grew up with.
The X-Men’s Goblin Queen is not Stronger than the King in Black
Eddie and Venom may have embraced their antihero status during their Lethal Protector era, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t still killers at heart. At a certain point, it was the shadow of their former selves that made Venom’s transition to a genuine hero possible, yet what precluded that shift was still overtly violent. Now, that vicious, brain-hungry Venom is back with no apparent knowledge of what has happened over the past three decades.
That doesn’t mean the Venom who is hunting Spider-Man today is the same who was doing just that more than thirty years ago, however, as Eddie is still the King in Black. Whether Eddie is aware of his purely symbiote form, expanded strength, or genuine invulnerability doesn’t matter so long as he hasn’t lost any of his memories. Considering what the title of King in Black means, it’s hard to imagine that even the Goblin Queen of Limbo could take that away from him.