- Love is a precious thing. Painful. Confusing. But precious. Every day, work to earn it.
Appearing in "Skin Deep"
- Venom Symbiote (Main story and recap)
- Bodega robbers (Only appearance)
- Late Edition anchor (Only appearance) (Appears on a computer screen, TV, or hologram only)
- Shocker (Herman Schultz) (Appears on a computer screen, TV, or hologram only)
- Spider-Man (Peter Parker) (On-screen in main story and appears in recap)
- Spider-Man (Miles Morales) (Appears on a computer screen, TV, or hologram only)
- Avengers (Mentioned)
- NYPD (Mentioned)
- Silver Surfer (Norrin Radd) (Mentioned)
- Dr. Steve (Mentioned)
- Fantastic Four (Recap)
- Venom/Scorpion (Mac Gargan) (Recap)
- Norman Osborn (Recap)
- Venom (Lee Price) (Recap)
- Tombstone's Gang (Recap)
- U.S. Army Rangers (Referenced)
- Pawn shop owner (Only appearance)
- Father David (Only appearance) (Appears on a computer screen, TV, or hologram only)
- Venom (Flash Thompson) (Recap)
- Red Hulk (Thaddeus Ross) (Recap)
- Ghost Rider (Alejandra Jones) (Possessed by Zarathos in recap)
- X-23 (Laura Kinney) (Recap)
- Mania (Andrea Benton) (Recap)
- God (Yahweh) (Invoked)
Races and Species:
- Humans (Main story and recap)
- Klyntar (Main story and recap)
- Demons (Behind the scenes in recap)
- Mutants (Recap)
- Earth (Main story and recap)
- United States of America (Main story and recap)
- New York (Main story and recap)
- Nevada (Recap)
- Las Vegas (Recap)
- Pennsylvania (Recap)
- Philadelphia (Recap)
- East Asia (Mentioned)
- United States of America (Main story and recap)
- Battleworld (Recap)
- Shocker's Vibro-Shock Gauntlets (On-screen)
- Spider-Men's Suits (Appears on a computer screen, TV, or hologram only)
- Web-Shooters (On-screen in main story and appears in recap)
- Alchemax Symbiote Blood Serum
- Fantastic Four Uniforms (Recap)
- Scorpion's Suit (Recap)
- Adamantium (On X-23's claws in recap)
- Hell-Mark (Behind the scenes in recap)
- Silver Surfer's Surfboard (Mentioned)
Synopsis for "Skin Deep"
As Eddie Brock sleeps, the Venom symbiote keeps watch over its host, noting that while Eddie calls their reunion a "dream come true," it can't dream and therefore doesn't understand the significance of the metaphor. Turning to watch the TV, the symbiote notes that it's slowly learning as a documentary on the Shocker comes on. Noticing a clip from one of Eddie's old fights with Spider-Man and that it is referred to as a "horrifying creature," the symbiote bitterly contemplates being labelled a monster. Turning to look at Eddie, it views his nightmarish dreams using a trick it picked up from a medical drama, but is distracted by a report that several bodegas were robbed by assailants using a powerful chemical mace similar to bear spray. Eyeing the medicine created by Doctor Steven, the symbiote notes that Eddie worries about it and says it's sick, grinning viciously as it states that it doesn't feel sick.
The following morning Eddie awakens to see he's over two hours late for his scheduled appointment with Alchemax. Bonding to Eddie and web-swinging through the city, the symbiote notes that Eddie gets scared when it needs medicine, voicing dislike towards Liz Allan and calling her a horrible woman. In her office, Liz has her assistants apply makeup while she barks orders over a headset, demanding that twelve crates of antibiotics be sent as disaster relief to an epidemic in East Asia. Standing in the door, Eddie notes she's hard at work and she retorts that she has to spend sixteen hours a day in her office and look still presentable, and then tells him to wear a shirt when he comes for his treatments. Eddie transforms the symbiote into a shirt and coat, but she tells him that if he's already met with Dr. Steve then he can leave. The symbiote observes that while Eddie may say he doesn't like Liz, it senses conflicting emotions towards her from him. It notes that while it traveled to many worlds, none were as strange as Earth: it had understood simple feelings, but bonding to Spider-Man had inundated it with complex emotions like guilt, fear, agony, betrayal, and jealousy; and that was also the first time it had been labeled a parasite and a monster.
Influencing Eddie subconsciously, the symbiote guides him to a bodega being attacked by the group of assailants from the news. It wonders if it's wrong to trick him like this, then justifies doing so to stop criminals. Eddie enters the bodega in human form pretending to be a customer, the symbiote commending this tactic to ensure that the clerk isn't harmed and that his enemies underestimate him. While one of the thugs brashly confronts Eddie, the symbiote extends a tendril along the floor and subdues a thug keeping watch outside. The thug threatening Eddie tells him he got his gear by killing a supervillain called the Sprayer, threatening to kill Eddie too, but Eddie responds with an amused smirk and pokes fun at the man's attempt to be intimidating. The thug sprays him in the face with a gas, but Eddie transforms into Venom and knocks the two thugs inside the store out, apologizing to the clerk for the mess. The symbiote notes it feels good to be a hero, but that it can't deny it enjoyed doing bad things too: when bonded to Mac Gargan, the symbiote had reveled in being a bloodthirsty predator, knowing it was bad to kill but not caring due to Gargan's evil poisoning it. It relishes having punished Gargan for his corruptive influence over it, dismissing him as evil and afraid. In contrast to Gargan, Lee Price had been a soldier and, far from being afraid, had been power-hungry and ruthlessly ambitious. Taking advantage of the symbiote's desperation and weakness, Price had abused and dominated it with his will, caused it to succumb to corruption again. The symbiote notes that Eddie sometimes hurts it too, but never intentionally.
As Eddie carries the television to a pawnshop that evening, the symbiote pleads with him not to sell it, but Eddie says they need the money. Expressing concern with how much he's been sleeping lately, Eddie wonders if it's an unknown side effect of the medication. The pawn shop owner contemptuously refuses to buy the TV, and later that night the symbiote watches a medical drama. It observes that while Eddie had been angry at being unable to sell the TV, it had been happy; and expresses concern that while it trusts Eddie, instances when they feel different emotions are confusing and abnormal. Having put Eddie to sleep so that it can ruminate over this quandary, it wonders if the fact that they disagree means that it is a monster after all. The symbiote fondly recalls its time with Flash Thompson, who had helped it overcome its corruption, redeem itself, and become a true hero. It reminisces fighting alongside other heroes during Blackheart's attempt to create Hell on Earth, learning to mentor its wayward clone, and that despite a rough start Flash had come to call it his partner as a member of the Agents of the Cosmos. Lamenting that Flash is gone, the symbiote resolves to continue following his example and own up to its mistakes.
Taking on its humanoid form, it travels to the hospital where the priest it had brutalized has regained consciousness. The priest is initially terrified, believing Venom has come to finish him off, but the symbiote apologizes for its actions and states that it wants to do good, but that it did so many terrible things without knowing they were wrong that even now it still finds matters of morality confusing. The priest asks if it's asking for forgiveness, but the symbiote laments that it doesn't know what it wants or whether it's a hero or a monster. The priest remarks that it is impossible to know without grace, and that everyone from the greatest hero to the lowliest monster needs salvation. Stating that the world can be a hopeless place, the priest observes he's seen people lose their will to live or their souls without loved ones to support them, asking the symbiote if it has love in its life, someone who matters to it. Finally understanding, the symbiote says that it does, and that while he is currently sleeping he is always with it. However, it expresses uncertainty, saying that it has felt love before and only received pain and hatred in return. The priest acknowledges that love is confusing, but tells the symbiote to work every day to earn it. The symbiote resolves to do so by crushing criminals, ignoring the priest's wry remark, and then says that it's glad it didn't kill him and that he is now under its protection. As it departs, the symbiote tells the priest it will work at earning love, and is learning.
A FIRST-OF-ITS-KIND TALE TOLD IN THE MIGHTY MARVEL MANNER!!
• You’ve seen things from Eddie Brock’s perspective; now see how things look from the other side – in this, a whole issue from the perspective of the Venom Symbiote!
- First and only known appearance to date besides flashbacks
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