Appearing in 1st story
- King in Black (Eddie Brock) (Death of physical body)
- Venom (Dylan Brock) (Bonds to the Venom symbiote)
- Symbiote Hive
- Absent Throne (First full appearance)
- Unnamed soldiers (Main story and flashforward) (Death of several)
- "Ringo" Symbiote (Controlled by Meridius) (Joins group) (Death)
- Imposter Eddie Brock
- Meridius (First full appearance) (Controls the "Ringo" Symbiote and impersonates Eddie Brock)
- Unnamed scientists
- Skrull space-pirates
- Unnamed bully (Only in flashback)
- Bedlam (Only in flashforward) (First appearance)
- Kang the Conquerer (Nathaniel Richards) (Only in flashforward)
- Knull (Mentioned) (Deceased)
- Dormammu (Mentioned)
- The Beatles (Referenced)
- Principal Bean
- Spider-Man (Peter Parker) (Mentioned)
- Carnage (Cletus Kasady) (Mentioned)
- God (Invoked)
Races and Species:
- Symbiote Hive-Mind
- Furthest End of All That Is (First appearance)
- Meridius' Garden (First appearance)
- Spire (Mentioned)
- Skrull Space Pirates' ship
- Refugee Vessel
- King in Black (Referenced)
- Last Annihilation (Referenced)
- Extreme Carnage (Referenced)
- Timeless (Only in flashforward)
Synopsis for 1st story
Hiding in the burning wreckage of a motel surrounded by soldiers wielding anti-symbiote weaponry, Dylan Brock thinks to himself that he's done everything he was warned not to do - get in trouble, draw attention to himself, and bond to the Venom symbiote. Speaking in Dylan's mind, the Venom symbiote tells him they should run, Dylan snapping that he knows. The Venom symbiote admonishes Dylan for getting them into this situation in the first place and for wanting to stay and fight, telling Dylan that Eddie is gone and that this won't bring him back. Dylan shouts at the symbiote to shut up and stop telling him what to do as he forces it to retract from his face, breaking down in tears as he snaps that it's not his father.
Twelve hours earlier, four symbiotes drift through deep space 12 000 light-years from Earth waiting for hosts to bond to. Detecting a distress signal from a nearby ship, they call out to Eddie Brock - the King in Black - who responds by remote-piloting one of them and directing the other three to assume humanoid forms. Eddie greets the symbiotes and notes that the ship appears to be a relief freighter under attack from space-pirates. Eddie directs the symbiotes to prioritize rescuing the crew and that if they need to fight to let him handle it; recapping how he became the new God of the symbiotes by killing Knull, who he emphatically states is gone for good and never coming back. As Eddie states that as long as he's in control of the hive-mind, nobody has to fear the symbiotes ever again, one of the symbiotes ominously stares at him - its eyes glowing red. Ripping open the secondary airlock, Eddie directs one of the symbiotes to form a seal to prevent an atmospheric breach, noting that even after helping repair the damage wrought by Knull's rampage and Dormammu's incursion there's so much to do that he loses track of time.
Traversing the interior of the ship, Eddie notes there aren't any bodies and surmises the crew made it to the escape pods. Deciding to name the symbiotes after the Beatles, Eddie leaves "John" to seal the airlock, sends "Paul" to hunt for the pirates, and sends "Ringo" to check on the escape pods. Before long, "Paul" alerts Eddie that it's found the pirates, Eddie hopping from "George" to remote-pilot it. Clinging to the ceiling, Eddie watches as a group of Skrull space-pirates discuss their plans to sell the ship's crew as slaves and profit off the cargo as well. As the Space Pirate captain congratulates the bosun on a job well done, the bosun spots Eddie and panics at the sight of a symbiote. As they open fire on "Paul" with lightning guns, vowing to avenge the dead of Largo-4, Eddie surmises that was one of the planets destroyed by Knull and evades the blasts. Landing on the floor of the bridge, Eddie says that Knull is no longer in control of the symbiotes and introduces himself as Venom before leaping into action. As he fights, Eddie laments that being the King in Black is a full-time job that takes him away from Dylan more often than he'd like - noting that it's gotten almost too easy to remote-pilot the symbiotes - but that Dylan understands, or at least he hopes that he does.
On Earth, Dylan Brock sits in Principal Bean's office as he's scolded for getting into yet another fight, leaving the bully who he'd been brawling with badly injured. Remarking that Dylan should know he can't take on the world one person at a time, Principal Bean sighs and asks where Dylan's father is - having been trying to get in touch with him all week, then says that Dylan will be expelled from Midtown High School if things continue the way they have. Rushing out of the school as it starts to rain, Dylan finds Sleeper waiting for him in the form of a cat. Noting Dylan's bruises and dour demeanor, Sleeper asks if he wants to talk about it but Dylan bluntly refuses, saying there's nothing to talk about. As they walk home, Dylan bitterly wonders if the reason that Eddie is spending weeks at a time synced to the Hive-Mind is because he finds his son boring, sneering that he saw it coming right from the start. Buying a hotdog and can of soda for supper, Dylan rhetorically asks if he really blames Eddie for abandoning him when he's got all-important god duties to take care of, Sleeper asking if Dylan does. Retorting that he'll be fine and figure things out, Dylan wishes he could stop being so angry all the time. Sleeper replies that Dylan is a teenager going through puberty, but Dylan tosses his pop can at the symbiote-cat before it can continue that awkward topic. Arriving at Eddie's townhouse, Dylan sadly announces that he's home to the empty room, gazing down at a photo of himself and Eddie from happier times and wondering where his father is... while outside a shadowed man in a hoodie and baseball cap watches the building.
In deep space, Eddie battles the Skrull space-pirates, wondering to himself how long he's been away from Earth. Noting that even his ex-nemesis Spider-Man would be proud of how he's handling things, Eddie notes that he's having the time of his life... but as he webs up the space-pirates he senses that something is profoundly wrong. Abruptly, "George" calls out to him in a terrified voice and Eddie jumps from "Paul" to it... finding himself inside the escape pod looking at "Ringo" - the red-eyed symbiote - standing over the butchered bodies of the ship's crew. Impaling one of the refugees on an arm-blade, "Ringo" calmly announces that it has a message from the future - Eddie realizing it's being remote-piloted by someone or something other than himself and mentally panicking at the thought of it being Knull or Carnage somehow returned from death. As Eddie asks who he's speaking to, the being indwelling "Ringo" tells Eddie that his tenure as the King in Black is going to end soon, that everyone Eddie cares about is going to die, and that he won't be able to do anything to foresee or prevent this from coming to pass. As Eddie is terrified by the cold, predatory way the entity controlling "Ringo" is looking at him - like he's nothing more than an insect and that it's already won - "Ringo" crumbles into dust as the entity controlling it forces it to commit suicide. Noting that the ship's distress signal will bring others to arrest the pirates and dispose of the corpses, Eddie commands the remaining symbiotes to evacuate the ship with him, unable to answer when they repeatedly ask him what happened. As he and the other symbiotes drift away from the ship, Eddie notes that he needs time to figure out what this new threat wants with him and Dylan, and what he can do about it.
At 2:00 in the morning, Dylan is awakened by Eddie telling him to wake up and get packed, saying that they need to leave. As Dylan groggily wonders what's going on, Eddie says he'll explain later before asking where Venom is. Dylan replies that Venom has taken to going out by itself, but that since he hasn't heard of anyone being eaten he surmises it's just trying to adjust to no longer being bonded to Eddie. Eddie remarks that he's going to take a look around the house while Dylan packs, and once he leaves Dylan launches into an angry tirade berating his father for showing up out of nowhere after spending weeks away, not saying anything about where he's been or even checking in on his own son, and expecting Dylan to upend his life to go along with him. As Sleeper tries to calm Dylan down, Dylan's smartphone rings and he pulls it out of his hoodie pocket to see that his father is calling. Confused, Dylan answers it and Eddie tells him to be quiet, warning him that the Eddie inside the house is an imposter. Eddie tells Dylan not to leave with the imposter Eddie, but to grab the things he's packed and sneak out the window like he usually does. Dylan demands to know how Eddie knows about that, Eddie wryly replying that he's Dylan's father. Warily, Dylan asks how he can know the Eddie on the phone isn't the imposter, and Eddie replies that he can't and will have to trust his instincts. Eddie tells Dylan to go to Room 112 of an old motel near Central New York, not to draw attention to himself, and if he runs into the Venom symbiote to not bond to it. Dylan departs, leaving the imposter Eddie searching his empty room, and walks down the street with Sleeper to a bus stop - not noticing the man in the hoodie and baseball cap following him.
At the motel, Eddie notes that he chose this place to "sleep" while synced up to the Hive-Mind due to them not asking questions, and that he doesn't even need to connect to the Spire to do so anymore. Checking his phone to see several missed calls and messages from Dylan, Eddie deliberates calling his son - or at least leaving a message; second-guessing all the decisions he's made since becoming the King in Black. Eddie notes how alien his still-mortal body feels after weeks of remote-piloting symbiotes, and decides to test his theory that the Hive-Mind can be used to time-travel - attempting to project his consciousness into the future to see the threat that's coming for him and his son. Plunged into the timestream, Eddie is confronted by a jumble of visions: Dylan approaching the motel and himself running out the door only to be engulfed by an explosion, a helicoptor pilot ordering Dylan's capture at all costs, a humanoid crimson symbiote called Bedlam roaring, Kang the Conquerer calling himself Eddie's oldest friend and telling Eddie that he cannot win, a hand resembling Venom's with flames burning at the fingertips, and a strange voice welcoming him to the Center where all roads lead. Jolting himself back into his body, Eddie realizes it's now night. Lamenting not having spent more time with his son, Eddie calls to warn him of the coming danger presented by "Absent Throne" and goes straight to voice-mail. Eddie leaves a rushed message explaining everything that he can, then notices lights outside the window. Peering through the blinds, Eddie sees Dylan get off the bus and realizes he's too late.
As Dylan approaches the motel, he resolves to give his father a piece of his mind - angrily thinking that he hates Eddie for abandoning him, his school for blaming him for defending himself against bullies, Venom and all the events that led to him inheriting it, and everyone who has ever lied to him. As Eddie throws open the motel door, a panicked expression on his face, a pair of military helicoptors swoop out of the night - one of them firing a rocket that shoots past Dylan and blows up the motel. As Eddie is engulfed by the explosion, Dylan lets out a scream of shock and anguish, running towards the flames only to be tackled by the man in the hoodie and baseball cap - revealed to be the Venom symbiote in disguise. As soldiers are deployed to capture him, Dylan realizes that he can't follow the orders his father gave him and bonds to the Venom symbiote. Giving into rage and going berserk, Venom crashes the helicopters and sets out to avenge Eddie by slaughtering the soldiers sent to apprehend him. Not understanding the repercussions of feeding the Venom symbiote's addiction to bloodlust, Dylan hears it echo Principal Bean's statement -- telling him they can take on the world one person at a time, and that when filled with rage they are unstoppable.
His physical body torn to pieces by the explosion, Eddie's consciousness is cast into the Symbiote Hive-Mind and pulled through the time-stream millions of years into the future, noting that he has the uncanny sense that rather than dying he's returning home. Eddie emerges in his King in Black form from a lake of living abyss on an alien planet. A voice greets him, and he looks up to see a jet-black masculine entity with multiple horns, who says that Eddie has taken the first step of what is to be a long and arduous journey. Assuring Eddie that he will be with him every step of the way, the entity introduces himself as Meridius and welcomes Eddie to his Garden.
In the present day, at the Absent Throne's headquarters a scientist deposits a charred skull and a few scorched bones - all that's left of Eddie Brock - on a table. Meridius picks up the blackened skull with a smug expression, ominously stating that all that is happening now has already happened before.
AN EPIC NEW ERA FOR THE SINISTER SYMBIOTE STARTS HERE!
Hot off the heels of VENOM #200 and EXTREME CARNAGE, we're closing out 2021 with one of the most ambitious books in symbiote history – an all-new VENOM from some of comics' greatest talents! Marvel mainstay AL EWING, who himself has just ended a character-redefining run on IMMORTAL HULK, is being joined by RAM V, a horror maestro all his own, to craft a mind-bending and gut-wrenching tale of symbiosis the likes of which the Marvel Universe has never seen! AS IF THAT WASN'T ENOUGH, they've been joined by industry legend BRYAN HITCH, who is leaving IT ALL ON THE PAGE! We haven't led you astray yet, have we? So trust us when we tell you that you have NEVER seen a VENOM like this!
- A trailer was released by Marvel on YouTube to promote this issue:
- Per Extreme Carnage Omega #1, at this point in time Sleeper should be bonded to Hank rather than still living with Dylan in the form of a cat.