Appearing in "Rune-Venom"
- Lana McCann (Only appearance; dies)
- Prime (Kevin Green)
- Captain America (On-screen)
- Spider-Man (On-screen)
- Scarlet Spider (On-screen)
- Carnage (On-screen)
- Venom Symbiote
- Star Stones
- Mandroid Armor
- Captain America's Shield
- Captain America's Uniform
- Carnage Symbiote (On-screen)
Synopsis for "Rune-Venom"
As night falls on Manhattan, a group of men corner a woman in a dark alley intending to rape her.[Continuity 1] However, they are interrupted by a symbiotic creature that appears to be Venom. However, this is something far older and the embodiment of evil. It is the dark god known as Rune, who has been bonded to an alien symbiote. Frightening the men away, Rune bites into the woman's neck and drinks her blood. Totally drained, the woman is left a lifeless husk as Rune takes to the skies to search for more prey.
This is the 76th victim of Rune, however, the news media has attributed these murders to Venom due the fact that the killer wrote Venom's name in blood at all the murder scenes. Watching one of these reports is Venom's ex-wife Ann Weying who wonders if her former husband has become a murderer.[Continuity 2] The report goes on to mention Venom's recent involvement from stopping an invasion of Earth by the symbiote race.[Continuity 3] The only other symbiote on Earth is Carnage, however the report states that he is still incarcerated at Ravencroft Institute. When they try get a comment from Dum Dum Dugan, the acting director of S.H.I.E.L.D., Dugan refuses to comment.[Continuity 4] Hearing all this brings Anne to tears, as she wonders how Eddie can defend himself against the entirety of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Meanwhile, aboard the S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarrier, Dum Dum Dugan is briefed on the agencies plan to capture Venom. They have deployed a team of Mandroids to search for the killer in the sewers of Manhattan. Despite the assurances of his agents that they have Venom trapped, but Dugan's experiences during World War II suggest to him that they be wary that they aren't walking into a trap.[Continuity 5] While down in the sewers, the squad of Mandroids search for Venom. That's when they are ambushed by the real Venom who has no idea why the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents are after him. He is furious that they have attacked him unprovoked and easily slaughters the Mandroids. He then demands one of the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents why they are after him. Before dying the S.H.I.E.L.D. agent explains that they are after him for killing innocent people. Although he did not get details, Venom realizes that the agent actually believed this and decides to learn is responsible.
At that moment, Anne Weying wakes up from a nightmare where she killed Eddie Brock.[Continuity 6] In it, the couple were in bed when Anne suddenly turned into a symbiote and started eating Eddie's brain. Disturbed by this dream, she looks out her window and sees that there are S.H.I.E.L.D. agents staking out her property in case Venom comes to her home. Although she believes that Eddie has been driven insane by his own symbiote, she wonders why it was her who killed him in her dream. After washing up, she goes back to bed and that's when she finds Rune clinging to her ceiling waiting. The dark god descends down to her bed, looking forward to sating his hunger. Later, Venom -- having heard that Anne has gone missing -- scours the city to find the real killer but finds no trace. Suddenly, he is ambushed by Rune, who bites Venom, injecting him with poison. As the two battle it out, Venom demands to know what happened to Anne. Rune confuses the symbiote by using his mystical powers to make himself resemble Anne. Although Rune is ready to kill Venom, the symbiote he is bonded with wants Brock to suffer. Agreeing, Rune vows that the last time he'll see Anne is as he is killing her and flies away.
This battle ended in the Flatiron District of Manhattan, prompting S.H.I.E.L.D. to lock down the area. However, Dum Dum Dugan later gets a report that Venom had somehow evaded capture. This is because Eddie Brock had his symbiote disguise itself as a S.H.I.E.L.D. uniform, allowing him to slip away unnoticed. Brock decides to search for clues in Anne's apartment, even though the place is swarming with S.H.I.E.L.D. agents. There, he finds a room where Venom's name is scrawled all over in Anne's blood. As he tries to make sense of this clue, he is caught by S.H.I.E.L.D. agents and is forced to flee the scene. Once he reaches safety, Venom goes through what he knows and tries to figure out how he can find where Anne is being kept. Suddenly, he is wracked with pain from the poison in his body. He then remembers that his symbiote can track the one that has bonded to Rune. To do this, he needs some of the rogue symbiote's DNA. Using his other to extract the symbiote DNA from his bite, Venom is able to sense the location of Rune. Meanwhile, in a warehouse, Rune decides to tell Anne who he is and where he came from. He explains that his other was a symbiote left to guard the stargate that was used during the recent symbiote invasion of Earth. Suddenly, there was an energy surge that somehow summoned Rune to Earth, who had been trapped within the Negative Zone for some time.[Continuity 7] In gratitude for being freed, Rune then killed and fed from the symbiote's original host. In response, the symbiote then bonded to Rune. He then witnessed as Venom, Spider-Man and the Scarlet Spider fought against the symbiote invasion. When Venom used his own symbiote to slay all the invaders, Rune's symbiote survived thanks to its connection to the dark god. Rune then agreed to assist his other get revenge against Venom's symbiote for betraying his kind.
It's then that Venom comes crashing in to save Anne, unaware that S.H.I.E.L.D. has been following him. As he battles rune, the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents come crashing in and blast him with a sonic gun. This stuns Venom long enough for Rune to get the advantage of the battle. In the ensuing struggle, the stargate is reactivated. When one of the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents blasts Rune, it weakens his symbiote long enough for Rune to gain full control of his faculties. He then rips the symbiote from his body and consumes it, happy to finally be free from the alien influence. Consuming the symbiote causes a change in Rune, making him lose his hair and gain a costume. Venom leaps in to attack him, but Rune is far too powerful. That's when Anne comes to Eddie's aid and strikes Rune in the head with a metal pipe. This distracts the creature long enough for Venom to push him back through the stargate. With their foe sent through the gate, Venom then destroys it, sealing the portal forever. Although the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents are prepared to arrest Venom, Dum Dum Dugan orders them to stand down, pointing out that Venom stopped the real killer. In the aftermath of the battle, Venom assures her that he will always be there to protect her.
While in another universe, as the world sleeps, Rune appears through a portal in Egypt, returning home to terrorize an unsuspecting world anew.
- The original twin towers of the World Trade Center are depicted as part of the New York City skyline here. This should be considered a topical reference per the Sliding Timescale of Earth-616. The original towers were destroyed in a terrorist attack on September 11, 2001, and have since been replaced by the Freedom Tower.
- The details to the failed marriage of Eddie Brock and Anne Weying were detailed in Amazing Spider-Man #375.
- Venom helped Spider-Man and the Scarlet Spider turn back the invasion of symbiotes during the Planet of the Symbiotes story arc.
Planet of the Symbiotes Amazing Spider-Man Super Special #1 Spider-Man Super Special #1 Venom Super Special #1 Spectacular Spider-Man Super Special #1 Web of Spider-Man Super Special #1
The symbiotes are known as the Symbiotes race. However this name is not identified until Deadpool: Back in Black #1.
- At the time of this story, Nick Fury was seemingly assassinated by the Punisher in Double Edge: Omega #1, leaving Dugan temporarily in charge of S.H.I.E.L.D. However, this was a Life Model Decoy as revealed in Fury / Agent 13 #1.
- The fact that Dum Dum Dugan fought in World War II is a factual reference. The reason why he appears here in his relative youth is due to the fact that this is actually a Life Model Decoy body. Dugan was fatally shot in 1966 as revealed in Original Sins #5. His body was put into stasis and his mind unknowingly controlled a Life Model Decoy from then on, as revealed in New Avengers (Vol. 4) #17.
- Anne has been haunted by the fact that she was briefly bonded to Venom's symbiote during Venom: Sinner Takes All #1–5.
- Rune had been trapped in the Negative Zone since Rune (Vol. 2) #1.