Appearing in 1st story
- Spider-Man (Peter Parker) (Cameo)
- Parker Industries (Named only)
- Agent Wambaugh (Mentioned)
- Flash Thompson (On-screen)
- Kingpin (Wilson Fisk) (On-screen)
- X-Men (Mentioned)
- Tombstone (Lonnie Lincoln) (Mentioned)
- Daily Bugle (Mentioned)
- Patrick Healy (First appearance)
- Augustine (Black Cat's Gang member) (Mentioned)
- U.S. Army Rangers (Mentioned)
- Scott (First appearance)
- God (Yahweh) (Invoked)
- Scott's girlfriend (First appearance)
Races and Species:
- Hell (Invoked)
Synopsis for 1st story
Sitting on a bench outside Parker Industries, the Venom symbiote's manifestation worriedly watches as Spider-Man swings overhead, remarking that it doesn't like Parker Industries: it had been captured and held prisoner there. Lee Price replies that's the reason the FBI picked Parker Industries as a meeting place: he wouldn't turn into a slobbering monster and kill them on Spider-Man's front porch. As the symbiote remarks that it doesn't like being held prisoner and that Price is holding it prisoner, Price sees Agent Bagman approaching and tells the symbiote to be quiet, observing that it isn't speaking as sophisticatedly as it had been before. Lee asks Bagman where his partner is, and Bagman replies that Wambaugh said it was his turn to risk his life. Pulling out a tablet, Bagman shows Price an X-ray of Flash Thompson and says they know what the symbiote is. When Price acts unconcerned, Bagman clarifies that they've studied it and know all its weaknesses, but Price interrupts with the retort that he could easily rip out Bagman's lungs but won't because then he'd have to fight Spider-Man, and that Bagman's threats are empty. Bagman tells Price that they know the symbiote has memories of its prior hosts, and tells him to reveal Spider-Man's secret identity. Price expresses incredulity at this request, asking the symbiote if it knows who Spider-Man is, but it responds ambiguously. Price asks why the FBI would target Spider-Man since they're on the same side, and Bagman replies that Spider-Man is at the epicenter of New York's organized crime but refuses to share any of his knowledge with the FBI. With knowledge of who Spider-Man is under his mask, Bagman states the FBI would be able to circumvent the protection Spider-Man receives from Parker Industries and blackmail him into giving them information.
Bagman leaves, saying the FBI will be in touch, and the symbiote asks if Price will comply will their request. Price retorts that they couldn't even if they wanted to, and the symbiote admits that its brains aren't as good as they used to be. Price remarks that he couldn't care less about Spider-Man, considering giving them the name of someone with a higher profile so that the FBI will move on and leave him alone, which the symbiote agrees to. Price reconsiders on the grounds that the FBI will try to kill them when they don't need him anymore, noting that the smart thing to do would be to play this out; but the symbiote snarls that the more they do for the FBI, the more the FBI enslaves them. Price disagrees, saying that the more the FBI relies on them, the more power they have over them.
Later, Price meets with Black Cat, who tells him that she needs someone she can rely on for a special mission. Price remarks he didn't think he'd hear from her again, but Black Cat notes he's lying and says this job is easy: no money exchange and no alley ambushes. Adams passes Price a folder with photos of Daily Bugle journalist Patrick Healy, who has been writing a Pulitzer-level exposé on her organization, and Black Cat tells Price to "convince" Healy to write about something else. Price incredulously asks if all she wants is for him to intimidate Healy, and she replies that he needs to walk before he can crawl and that he has a lot of making up to do. Perched on Price's shoulders, the Venom symbiote's manifestation forms into its slender humanoid appearance - which remarks that no bodies is good - and its bulky, monstrous appearance - which snarls that they can and should be scary. Adams catches Lee's attention by saying that sending Price alone is a bad idea, just in case things get out of hand. Price asks how sending more people would minimize the risks of operational failure, and Black Cat retorts she doesn't want any mysterious bodies popping up. Price says he works best alone, but Black Cat snaps that as long as he works for her he'll do as she says. Adams suggests Augustine, but Black Cat dismisses him as not being scary enough, deciding to send Mac Gargan. The symbiote hisses that it doesn't like Gargan and asks Price what's going on, and Price grimly meets Adams' triumphant face and replies they're being out-maneuvered.
That night, the symbiote tells Lee it's scared and that they need friends to rely on. Lee retorts that they're not scared and that they don't need friends, noting that Adams and Gargan don't trust him, which jeopardizes his position in Black Cat's gang. The symbiote asks what will happen if Black Cat doesn't trust him, but Price says they'll have to hope she does or every mission might be a potential ambush. Price pegs Adams as the biggest threat, but says that they have nothing to worry about so long as no-one knows about the symbiote. It expresses concern about Gargan, but as they reach the floor of the apartment where Healy lives Lee dismisses Gargan as an idiot who's nothing to worry about. Gargan, clad in his Scorpion armor, interrupts Price's train of thought by snapping that they're supposed to be scary. Noting to himself that he thought Gargan's moniker was metaphorical, Price tells the Scorpion he looks ridiculous and asks how he got up to the floor in his armor, and Gargan replies that he climbed down from the roof. Lee disregards the symbiote's alarm and asks Gargan what the plan is, suggesting he go in and lean on Healy heavily but sloppily, allowing him to flee out the door right into the Scorpion. The Scorpion mockingly asks Price if that's his Army Ranger training talking, sneering that Price thinks too much and ramming through the door. The Scorpion grabs Healy in his pincers and slowly stabs him with his tail's stinger. The symbiote urges Price to take action before the Scorpion kills Healy, but Price says that Black Cat said there was to be no killing and he doubts Gargan would disobey her. Nevertheless, Price reminds the Scorpion that Black Cat says there weren't to be any bodies, asking if the plan is to make him look bad, but the Scorpion replies that the plan is to kill Price and peg it on Healy after killing him. As the Scorpion attacks him, Price sarcastically asks if Black Cat will buy that a Daily Bugle reporter would have a giant scorpion tail under his bed, but the Scorpion sneers that he'll just bludgeon Price to death and pins him to a wall. As the Scorpion pummels Price, the symbiote demands to be cut loose to protect him, but Price instructs it to protect his brain and heart and trick Gargan into thinking he's dead. As Lee passes out, the Scorpion tosses him aside and prepares to kill Healy, but the symbiote takes over Price and roars that there won't be any more killing. The Scorpion triumphantly exclaims that he knew Price was hiding something, but Venom snarls that the Scorpion will pay for that knowledge with his life. The Scorpion blasts Venom with a sonic weapon mounted on his tail, sneering that he wore the symbiote long before Price acquired it and knows all about its weaknesses.
Next door, Healy's neighbor Scott remarks to his girlfriend that something crazy is going on seconds before the Scorpion is smashed through the wall by a refrigerator, followed by Venom. As Venom tries to tear the Scorpion's armor off and eat him, Scott pulls out his smartphone and livestreams the battle, uploading it to the internet.
• Venom’s back and badder than ever!
• But people are starting to take notice, including Mac Gargan, who’s suited up as the SCORPION for the first time in years!
• Also featuring another WEB-SLINGING, WALL-CRAWLING, SPIDER-SENSE-ATIONAL GUEST STAR!
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- 6 Images from Venom Vol 3 4
- 1 Reprints of Venom Vol 3 4
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