Appearing in "Original Sin!"
- Daily Globe
- Sin-Eater (Stanley Carter) (Mentioned)
- "Sin-Eater" (Emil Gregg) (Mentioned)
- Mary Jane Watson
- Robbie Robertson
- Hugh Taylor
- Black Cat
Synopsis for "Original Sin!"
Several years in the past, reporter Eddie Brock barges into a posh restaurant, sneering at the maître d' when asked if he has a reservation. As he walks up to Ann Weying - his ex-wife - she scolds him for startling her and tells him she went back to her maiden name following their divorce. Determined to win her back, Eddie shows her his new expose on the Sin-Eater serial killer; Ann angrily saying she thought they were getting together for lunch, not for an update on Eddie's latest press clippings. Eddie protests that he's bringing the truth to the people by breaking big stories, but Ann berates his selfishness and says that his self-absorbed attitude is why she divorced him, storming out of the restaurant. Eddie retorts that he's rising to the top and was going to give her one last chance to come crawling back to him, remarking that sooner or later she'll beg him to take her back.
Later, Eddie arrives at the Daily Globe wondering why Barney Bushkin called him in, hping to get a raise. Instead, Bushkin berates Eddie - showing him the headline of the Daily Bugle's afternoon edition - that Spider-Man had captured the Sin-Eater. As Eddie incredulously asks if this is a joke, Bushkin yells that he made a mockery of journalism by fingering the wrong Sin-Eater, unceremoniously firing him.
Storming out, Eddie blames Spider-Man for the loss of his job; and with his reputation as a reporter tarnished he is relegated to writing drivel for tabloids, barely making enough money to pay the rent for his cheap rodent-infested apartment in the Bronx. Venting his growing frustration and rage into exercising, Eddie achieves the physique of a bodybuilder but is consumed by hatred for Spider-Man. Unable to take his humiliation and despair any longer, Eddie - who had been raised a Catholic - goes to Our Lady of Saints Church to pray for forgiveness before committing suicide, lamenting that he's not powerful enough to seek revenge on Spider-Man. Asking for forgiveness, Eddie makes one last-ditch attempt to pray for a sign from above. Unbeknownst to Eddie, his hatred attracts the attention of the alien symbiote that had not long ago masqueraded as Spider-Man's black suit, but which Spider-Man had rejected upon learning it was alive and wanted to permanently bond to him. The symbiote bonds to Eddie, transforming him into a towering jet-black monster with jagged white eyespots, claws, fangs, and large white spider-emblems on his chest and back. The symbiote shares its memories of Spider-Man with Eddie, the ex-reporter realizing that it shares his hatred for Spider-Man and that together they can have their revenge.
Setting out to hunt Spider-Man down, Eddie travels at Peter's apartment and is mistaken for Spider-Man by his wife, Mary Jane Watson-Parker. With Mary Jane left traumatized, Eddie gleefully returns to his apartment, though the symbiote wordlessly reminds him that their real target is Spider-Man. Eddie remarks that not taking advantage of knowing Spider-Man is Peter Parker is silly, and that terrorizing his wife sends a message - that Eddie and the symbiote are looking for a fight.
Later that evening, Eddie returns to Our Lady of Saints Church to make preparations for the showdown, but is accosted by a cop who accuses him of robbing poor boxes. Eddie denies doing so, but the police officer doesn't believe him and tries to arrest him. Eddie smothers the cop using the symbiote, lamenting the death of an innocent who was just doing his job but saying that nothing can stand in the way of his revenge.
The next day Eddie checks on Spider-Man's apartment to find Peter and Mary Jane in the process of moving out. As Eddie decides to leave him in peace for now, Peter spots him leaving and excuses himself to chase after him.
Spider-Man - clad in a cloth replica of his black suit, made by his ex-girlfriend Black Cat - angrily thinks to himself that he won't let his new enemy get away with terrorizing his wife, dismissing his worry that his new enemy is bonded to the symbiote he thought he'd killed. Assuming his spider-sense will protect him from danger, Spider-Man enters into Eddie's apartment only to be sucker-punched. Introducing himself and the symbiote as Venom, Eddie unmasks himself and blames Spider-Man for costing him his job. Incredulous as to why Eddie hates him, Spider-Man tries to grab the sonic rifle he borrowed from the Fantastic Four but is attacked by Venom. Realizing the symbiote gave Eddie superior versions of his powers, Spider-Man grabs an I-beam and smashes Venom in the face with it. Grabbing the sonic rifle, Spider-Man opens fire on Venom and separates the symbiote from Eddie. The moment Spider-Man lets go of the trigger, however, the symbiote rebonds to Eddie - Spider-Man realizing that they've bonded to a greater degree than he had. Exhausted, Spider-Man decides to flee and come up with a new plan, but is snared by a web-line from Venom, who yanks him back into the room and punches him in the face.
When Spider-Man regains consciousness, he finds himself webbed to the inside of Our Lady of Saints' bell, Eddie having transformed the symbiote into a pastiche of a priest's robes. Eddie boastfully declares his victory and leaves to avoid risking the symbiote being injured by the bell's noise. With Eddie triumphantly celebrating in the main hall of the church, Spider-Man pushes himself to his limits and manages to break free of Venom's webbing just in time to avoid being crushed by the clapper. Realizing something is wrong, Eddie rushes back into the belltower and transforms into Venom. Spider-Man avoids Venom's attacks, reasoning that he can weaken the symbiote by getting Eddie to overuse its webbing - which is made from its constituent matter. Spider-Man's plan pays off and the symbiote is left too depleted to cover Eddie's body or save him when he falls off the belltower. With Eddie unconscious, Spider-Man calls the police to have Venom imprisoned before the symbiote can regenerate.
Imprisoned in the Vault, Eddie escapes the moment the symbiote has regained its strength, disguising himself as a guard and pretending to have been killed. When Hugh Taylor - one of the guards - investigates, Venom kills him - again lamenting having to kill an innocent - and escapes to resume his vendetta. Over the next several months, Venom battles Spider-Man and his allies numerous times, his rage and frustration at his nemesis' continued survival only growing.
However, Venom finds himself drawn to rescuing people in danger, though his monstrous appearance leads to his attempts at heroism being rebuked. Venom realizes that people assume he's a bloodthirsty monster due to his grudge against Spider-Man, admitting that a few innocents have gotten caught in the crossfire but insisting that a few casualties are unavoidable in the pursuit of justice.
In one of Venom's battles with Spider-Man, Ann Weying is nearly crushed by a collapsing apartment, Spider-Man and Venom teaming up to save her. As Venom makes to resume the fight, Ann begs him to stop and points out that all Spider-Man has ever done is save innocent lives. Eddie realizes that if he kills Spider-Man then all the innocents that Peter could have saved would die, begrudgingly agreeing to call off his vendetta in exchange for Spider-Man leaving him alone.
Admitting that Ann had been right about his selfishness and that his hatred for Spider-Man had blinded him to the needs of others, Venom resolves to dedicate his life to protecting the innocent as the Lethal Protector.
- "Dedicated to the memory of Mark Gruenwald."
- This issue has Eddie divorced from Ann at the time he wrote his expose on the Sin-Eater, while other stories had her divorce him after his source was exposed as a compulsive confessor and he lost his job.
- This issue retells Spider-Man's first battle with Venom.