Appearing in 1st story
- Venom Symbiote (Main story and flashback)
- Black Cat's Gang
- Tombstone's Gang
- Alchemax (Mentioned)
- Ty Stone (Mentioned)
- Thor Odinson (Mentioned)
- Unnamed homeless man (Only appearance; dies) (Temporarily bonds with the Venom Symbiote)
- U.S. Army Rangers (Only in flashback)
- Guardians of the Galaxy (Only in flashback)
- Spider-Man (Peter Parker) (Only in flashback)
- Iron Man (Tony Stark) (Mentioned)
- Lee Price's mother (Only appearance; dies) (Only in flashback)
- Lee Price's father (First appearance) (Only in flashback)
- Unnamed Mutant boy (First appearance) (Only in flashback)
- NYPD (Referenced)
- FDNY (Only in flashback)
- New York City Administration for Children's Services (First appearance)
- Sarah (First appearance) (Only in flashback)
Races and Species:
- Humans (Appear in flashback and main story)
- Klyntar (Appear in flashback and main story)
- Zen-Whoberis (Only in flashback)
- Halfworlders (Only in flashback)
- Flora colossi (Only in flashback)
- Mutants (Only in flashback)
- Earth (Main story and flashback)
- Hell (Invoked)
Synopsis for 1st story
Lee Price, a man with a gloved left hand, walks down the street with a duffel bag over his shoulder, holding an eviction notice stating his rent is past due. He receives a text message from his childhood friend Tony, who asks if he's still looking for work and says to meet him in a local diner in an hour. Elsewhere in the city, a weakened and exhausted Venom symbiote crawls down the wall of an alley, thinking to itself how hard it is to be good and how easy it is to be evil, but that it's learned that being good requires strength and that strength necessitates help.
Walking into the diner, Lee meets with Tony, who introduces him to Mac Gargan, a security guard at Alchemax and an enforcer for Black Cat's Gang. Gargan notes that Tony mentioned Lee was once an Army Ranger and asks if he's killed anyone. Lee states that he has, asking if the job will require bloodshed, but Gargan protests that his employer runs a non-lethal organization and that the job is strictly transactional. When Tony protests that Lee is just nervous, Gargan remarks that the stoic Lee doesn't look nervous. Noting that Lee has all the markings of someone who was turned into a "murder machine" by the horrors of war, Gargan remarks that he's spent a lifetime around psychopaths and monsters and isn't looking to add another one to the list, adding that even if Lee has PTSD he'll get no sympathy. Lee pulls off his glove, revealing he's missing the pinky and ring fingers of his left hand, and states that he was discharged due to his injury and was classified as "disabled" to qualify for benefits, which haven't come through. As a result of his designation, no private security firms are willing to hire him and he refuses to go back overseas, but he needs work. Lee says that he can follow orders and stay cool when trouble happens, but when he says that if anyone needs to be killed he can take care of it Gargan interrupts and says all Lee needs to do is look like he's going to kill someone, which he says Lee has down.
In the alley, the symbiote collapses from exhaustion just as an elderly homeless man approaches. Lamenting that sometimes compromises have to be made, the symbiote bonds to him, vomiting before observing that it's just one more lost person in the city. Later in the evening, Tony and Lee wait with members of Black Cat's gang in order to deliver a stack of crates. Tony complains about how dangerous thefts have gotten, observing that their cargo is a toxic, mutagenic gas and that the year before he helped move a nuclear warhead. Lee tells Tony to shut up, as their contacts -- a group of gangsters working for Tombstone -- arrive. Tombstone's representative tells Black Cat's thugs to give them the crates and leave, and when Tony asks where their pay is, Tombstone's representative tells them that their payment is getting to live and that his boss thinks that Black Cat is a joke. As both sides pull guns, Lee remarks that the deal wasn't supposed to turn violent and that he doesn't have a weapon, and Tombstone's representative calls him an idiot for assuming that would be the case and holds him at gunpoint. Coldly staring down the man pointing a gun at him, Lee tells him to get it over with and pull the trigger. The Venom symbiote abruptly rips through a wall and shields Lee from the gunfire, separating from the old homeless man and bonding to him in the process.
Exchanging memories, the symbiote excitedly interrupts Lee's confused protests and observes that he used to be a soldier, remarking that its last host was a soldier as well and one of the most honorable people it knew. As it gushes that they're going to do great things together, Lee snaps at it to shut up and that it's not the one in control. Transformed into Venom, Lee ignores the symbiote's horrified protests and massacres both Tombstone's and Black Cat's thugs. Retracting the symbiote, Lee revels in the power it grants him, assuring the terrified Tony that he can control it. When Tony says they need to get him to a hospital, Lee tells him to be quiet, remarking that he can hear the symbiote talking inside his head. When Tony asks if "the suit" makes him like Iron Man, Lee states that it's even better, since it's alive and powerful enough to take on Spider-Man. When Tony asks how he knows all these things, Lee says that he can hear its thoughts, marveling at the possibilities if they keep it secret. Tony excitedly remarks that with the symbiote's power he and Lee could make a big move, but Lee bluntly retorts that he wasn't talking about himself and Tony, but himself and the symbiote. Casually snapping Tony's neck, he approaches the old homeless man, who protests that he won't tell anyone. Lee callously states that he just killed his best friend since grade school because he knew Tony couldn't keep a secret, and the old man protests that no-one would believe him even if he did say anything. Lee agrees, noting that the man is very convincing, and transforms into Venom before stating that's the problem and killing him too.
To silence the outraged symbiote, Lee forces it to witness his memories of growing up in Queens with his abusive parents, befriending a pyrokinetic mutant boy who razed the apartment and killed his mother when government agents came for him. Abandoned by his father and taken in by Children's Services, Lee notes that if he'd had the boy's powers he would have razed the apartment even sooner and not gotten caught. Lee coldly states that one thing he learned in the Rangers is that the people who scream are the ones who have lost, while the ones who win are those who stay calm and that those who are lucky exploit the breaks they're given for all they're worth. Piling the corpses into the Tombstone crew's van, Lee blows it up to dispose of the evidence and takes the crates they were supposed to deliver. Having minimized all the variables in his situation and capitalized on the gains, Lee returns to his apartment in Brooklyn intent on figuring out how to use the symbiote's power to his advantage.
Venom is back and badder than ever!
The symbiote you know and love has returned to New York City. No more “Agent of the Cosmos.” No more “Lethal Protector.” It’s time for a new Venom, and it’s great to be bad.
- The location of Lee Price's residence was revealed during a Newsarama interview with Mike Costa and Devin Lewis.