Quote1 You have always smelled too much of blood...innocent or otherwise. Now it's time I stopped you once and for all. Quote2
-- Ghost Rider

Appearing in "Sign of the Boss: Act One"

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Synopsis for "Sign of the Boss: Act One"

Swinging across Manhattan, Venom thinks about how things have been looking up for him since he became an agent for the federal government.[Continuity 1] He quickly arrives at the safehouse that the government has set up for him where he gorges on a pile of chocolate bars which contain the phenethylamine needed to keep his symbiote properly fed.[Continuity 2] His feast is interrupted by the arrival of Agent Daryll Smith and Agent Jones who have come to give Venom his latest orders.[Continuity 3] She explains that Franco Santera, the president of the South American country of San Gregorio to make a speech about human rights at a parish in the Bronx. Since the United States does not want it to appear that they have a close association with such a hypocritical world leader, Venom is being assigned to covertly protect Santera while he is in the country. However, Brock is warned that should anything happen his the United States will disavow any knowledge of his operation.

By noon, people are gathering at St. Jude's in the Bronx to listen to the speech. Among those who are in attendence are Danny Ketch and his classmate Melissa Maro. Danny is surprised that people in the Bronx are so political. Melissa is also impressed that someone with such a horrible human rights track record, like Santera, would accept their invitation to speek.[Continuity 4] While in the basement, a group of nuns are rehearsing a song with some choir boys when they are interrupted by Eddie Brock who has arrived disguised as a nun. While upstairs, Franco Santera tells the audience that he was a horrible man and that he intends to change his ways, claiming that he was inspired to do good after meeting his wife, Mariana Santera. Although Danny Ketch is left to wonder if a man can truly change, however, the man sitting behind him still thinks Santera is a monster. He is not the only one, as armed men suddenly stand up seeking to take Santera prisoner. However, the president is not defenseless as he has his own bodyguard -- a woman named Stigmata whom he orders to protect him.

By saying payers to the saints in Spanish, Stigmata is able to gain super-human powers that allow her to incapacitate the gunmen. However, their leader -- a man calling himself Teraknid -- reveals his true cybernetic nature. He believes that he is santified by the Lord himself, intending to kill Santera for his crimes. Stinging Stigmata with one of his mechanical legs, Teraknid incapacitates her with his venom and then orders the camera crews to continue recording so that his execution is captured on television, unaware that they are not connected to a live feed. In the scuffle, Danny Ketch is knocked out, leaving him and Melissa out in the open as she frantically tries to wake him up.[Continuity 5] As the other gunmen lock down the building, Eddie stands back and prepare to make his move. While outside, the authorities arrive and begin trying to secure the area. This leads to an argument between Sgt. Stacy Dolan and the commanding officer in charge over jurisdiction. Her partner, Lt. James Sokolowski tries to calm her down, but to no avail. Watching from the side lines are Agents Smith and Jones who decide to give Venom the signal to act.

Going into action, Venom interrupts the execution, taking down most of the shooters. When Teraknid leaps into the frey. Unfortunately, his venom doesn't have any effect on the symbiote who gives Teraknid a taste of his own medicine. When the shooters try to take a shot at Franco again, Venom stops them but the preist is struck by a bullet. Furious, Venom is about ready to kill the shooter, but the priest pleads for Venom to spare him. Before the symbiote can make up his mind, he is suddenly attacked by the Ghost Rider who blames Venom for all the carnage and vows to destroy him once and for all. Watching from the sidelines, Franco is furious that these outsiders are intruding in his affairs and vows to make them pay.

Solicit Synopsis

  • When terrorists seize a born-again South American president in a Bronx church the U.S. government sends Venom in to kick booty!
  • Unfortunately, the Bronx is the home turf of that flame-headed spirit of vengeance and he thinks Venom has more innocent blood on his hands than the terrorists.


Continuity Notes

  1. 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.
  2. Venom discovered his symbiote's need to feed on phenethylamine, and that it is contained in chocolate during Venom: The Hunger #1-3. He became a government agent at the end of Venom: On Trail #3.
  3. Venom asks Agent Smith if she knows Janet Reno. At the time this story was published Janet Reno was the Attorney General of the United States. Her mention here should be considered a topical reference per the Sliding Timescale of Earth-616, particularly since Reno hasn't held this position since 2001 and has since passed away.
  4. Melissa mentions a recent visit to the Bronx by former Cuban ruler Fidel Castro. Castro made a surprise visit to make a speech in the Bronx in 1995. This should also be considered a topical reference.
  5. Melissa mentions how Danny once saved her life. Danny saved Melissa's life in Ghost Rider Vol 3 #72.

See Also


  1. First and only known appearance to date besides flashbacks

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