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Quote1 We need you to weaponize it. Me and Eddie, here, we're going on a hunt. For Lee Price. And all of his "made men." Quote2
-- Black Cat

Appearing in "Venom Inc. Part Four"

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Synopsis for "Venom Inc. Part Four"

In the Meatpacking District, a pair of thugs working for Black Cat's Gang attempt to hijack a truck transporting luxury food items. Spider-Man - his head covered by symbiote biomass - intervenes and steals the thugs' guns. The thugs wonder why his voice is distorted, but before they can react he pounces on him. The caterers are initially overjoyed to be saved, but quickly become horrified when Spider-Man brutally beats the thugs into a bloody pulp and then steals their truck himself.

At Karnelli's Scrapyard in the Bronx, Maniac and two of his Inklings chain Agent Anti-Venom to a conveyer belt, Maniac wondering why Flash is immune to his powers. Borrowing Eddie's old catch-phrase from his Anti-Venom days, Flash calls himself the cure to whatever Lee Price and his minions have got. Applauding Agent Anti-Venom's resilience - still being able to talk after having been beaten by the Inklings, Maniac turns on the conveyer belt to send him into the smelter. Noting that his stolen symbiote dislikes the heat, Maniac decides to leave his thugs to oversee Flash's execution. When one of them protests, Maniac cows him and exits the foundry, concerned for a moment that he's losing control before dismissing the possibility. Sensing something, he pauses, then dismisses it as the heat adversely affecting him.

Inside the foundry, Andi Benton drops down from a balcony, the Hell-Mark blazing on her chest and her eyes glowing orange. She takes out the two Inklings, and when Agent Anti-Venom calls out to her she realizes he's Flash Thompson but is unable to reach him in time to prevent him from being dumped into the smelter. Horrified, she grabs his leg - her demonic abilities granting her immunity to the flames - and pulls him out, too late to prevent the majority of his body from being covered in molten metal. Devastated by her failure to save him, she begins to cry, but Agent Anti-Venom bursts out of the metal shell. When she tries to ask where he got the white-and-black symbiote, Flash cuts across her and asks why she's not recuperating at the hospital. Andi asks if he really thought she was going to sit back in Philadelphia when he'd told her her symbiote was in New York, and that she can still sense it due to lingering traces left inside her. Flash fills her in on what's happened, asking for her help in saving Spider-Man.

At Alchemax, Dr. Steven glumly notes all his hard work with the astrobiological serum has gone down the drain, but on the bright side it's no longer needed. Turning the light on, he sees Venom sitting on the crushed ruins of his desk. Venom tells him he needs the Anti-Venom serum, but Dr. Steven said that Liz Allan had it removed to a secure location for study after watching the footage of what had happened in his lab. Dr. Steven indicates a security camera and states that they're probably being filmed at this moment, but Black Cat enters the room through the ceiling and smashes the camera, saying she's already rigged the security system. Venom assures Dr. Steven that she's with him, but Black Cat states she works on her own, causing Dr. Steven to complain he's unable to keep track of who's allied with who.

In the Bronx, Spider-Man drops off a stolen truckload of kitchen supplies and uniforms to Maniac and reviews the itinerary, Maniac jokingly considering having him dress up in a French maid costume. Maniac informs Spider-Man that Black Cat intended to steal these things herself and that he's trying to draw her out. Pulling out his smartphone, Maniac shows Spider-Man the Daily Bugle's headline labelling him a mystery bandit. Annoyed, Spider-Man decides to give them a one-on-one exclusive.

Black Cat breaks into Alchemax's secret vault, remarking to the sleeping guard that one thing she loves about underground vaults is that it's all-too easy to vent in knockout gas. Stealing his ID card, she lets Dr. Steven and Venom into the lab. When Dr. Steven remarks they can begin Venom's treatment again, Venom and Black Cat reveal they want to weaponize the Anti-Venom serum to use against Lee Price and his "made men."

At the Daily Bugle, Betty Brant, Robbie Robertson, and Ben Urich go over Spider-Man's crime-spree, with Robertson refusing to publish an article on it - citing the Bugle's bad rap for falsely accusing Spider-Man of crimes under J. Jonah Jameson's tenure. Spider-Man interrupts the discussion by crashing through the window and demanding they give him proper credit for his crimes. Robertson notes that going by his Venom-ish mask Spider-Man's being mind controlled, and Spider-Man sneers that it would have taken Jonah ages to figure that out, calling the new Bugle boring. When Urich demands to know what Spider-Man wants, he tells him to write an exposé revealing his intent to take over Black Cat's territory, intending to lure her into an ambush. Urich refuses and Betty Brant remarks that Spider-Man wouldn't do anything to hurt them, but when he threatens to do so Agent Anti-Venom yanks him out the window with tendrils.

Spider-Man tosses Agent Anti-Venom onto the roof, asking how Flash found him so quickly. Noticing Andi, he sneers that it's just like Flash to get someone else to do his homework, but that he forgot one thing: only symbiotes fail to set off his Spider-Sense. He backhands Andi off the roof, snidely remarking how terrible it is that Flash made him hit a girl. With Agent Anti-Venom distracted saving her, Spider-Man web-yanks the giant U letter onto him, pinning him to the ground. Spider-Man grumbles that using the I would have made for a better bad pun and that the mind-control is messing with his ability to make jokes, then tells Flash he always laughed at his self-proclaimed status as his biggest fan. Agent Anti-Venom tries to cure Spider-Man, but he evades and tells Flash it's time to die.

Andi reaches the roof but is told to stand aside by Black Cat, who apologizes for being late but had to stop to accessorize. She lashes out with her bladed whip, which doesn't set off Spider-Man's Spider-Sense. Remarking that she covered her whip in Anti-Venom serum, Felicia tells Spider-Man - restored to his normal self - to let her savor the victory. Venom arrives and demands to be given a shot at Spider-Man, brandishing a high-power gun. Felicia tells him to stand down and save his aggression for Price, Spider-Man agreeing that they need to set their differences aside and team up, to Agent Anti-Venom's surprise. Spider-Man explains that Price wanted Cat and the others occupied, taken over, or taken out so that he could make a move on the Five Families. Andi asks who they are, and Black Cat states they're the five largest crime families in the world, who hold an annual summit to maintain an uneasy truce with each other - which she knows because she'd intended to be offered a seat at that table. Realizing Price never wanted her gang, Black Cat notes with horror that he was aiming to take over the Five Families all along.

At a secret manor, the Five Families toast the renewal of their truce only to suddenly choke as symbiote biomass covers their faces. Wearing a waiter uniform, Lee Price remarks that he spat in all their food, transforming into Maniac and declaring his victory.

Solicit Synopsis

VENOM INC. Part 4

• Spider-Man has been compromised by Maniac and it looks like his only hope…

• …is Eddie Brock? Peter Parker isn’t going to like that!

Notes

  • Although not listed as a writer on this issue, Mike Costa is co-credited for his role in developing the story.
  • Unlike Gargan, who assumed a monstrous form reminiscent of his "Venorpion" persona due to a reaction the piece of the Maniac Symbiote he was bonded with had to traces of the Venom Symbiote in his body, Spider-Man's appearance did not resemble his black costume despite having traces of both Venom and another symbiote in his system.

See Also

Footnotes

  1. First and only known appearance to date besides flashbacks



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