- —King in Black (Meridius)
Appearing in "The Garden Party"
- King in Black (Meridius) (Impersonates Eddie Brock)
- King in Black (Eddie Brock)
- King in Black (Tyro) (First appearance)
- King in Black (Wilde) (First appearance)
- James Graham Ballard (Mentioned) (Topical Reference)
- Symbiote Hive (Mentioned)
- King in Black (Knull) (Mentioned)
- King in Black (Finnegan) (First appearance)
- God (Invoked)
- "Ringo" Symbiote (Death) (Controlled by Meridius)
- "George" Symbiote (Mentioned)
- Dylan Brock
- Venom Symbiote (Mentioned)
Races and Species:
- Symbiote Hive-Mind
- The Garden of Time (Mentioned)
- Refugee Vessel
- King in Black (Mentioned)
Synopsis for "The Garden Party"
Concluding his meeting with Carlton Drake, Meridius sics Bedlam on Dylan Brock and then steps back through the portal of living abyss into the Symbiote Hive-Mind. Traversing the timestream, Meridius smugly thinks to himself that he's infinitely superior to his opponent, Eddie Brock, having had millennia to master his powers and set up his master plan. With a thought, Meridius returns to the distant future from whence he came and watches Eddie's time-displaced codex emerge from a lake of living abyss. Internally seething with disgust and hatred, Meridius smiles and cordially greets Eddie, welcoming him to the Garden of Time.
As Eddie inquires about the name, Meridius explains it was inspired by The Garden of Time by James Graham Ballard, explaining that it was about a man who could control time but was unable to prevent the coming Apocalypse. Meridius reveals that they are at the end of time, with only Oblivion and Entropy awaiting them, and that behind them lies the endless river of the Timestream. Saying that Eddie can return home if he learns how to traverse it, Meridius offers to teach him what he knows. Eddie laments that his physical body was incinerated, then stops as he notices that all the textures of the Garden appear synthetic and asks what it's made from. Meridius explains that -- like Klyntar -- the Garden is comprised of countless symbiotes, the Symbiote Hive having gone dormant, and remarking that by now Eddie should've noticed the lack of a mental voice in the symbiote he's piloting. As Meridius smiles and assures Eddie that he's perfectly safe, Eddie remarks that Meridius said that the Garden was his, Meridius saying that he shaped it to his preferences and that the sleeping symbiotes don't care, adding that after ten thousand years shape becomes meaningless. Pointedly saying he'll have to wake one of the symbiotes up to get its opinion on the matter, Eddie notes that Meridius must be a King in Black to have such control over the Hive, asking if he's Knull reborn. Laughing, Meridius states that he's not Knull but that he is a King in Black, as are the others.
Meridius introduces Eddie to the sarcastic blue-colored Wilde and subservient green-colored Tyro, two other Kings in Black who were unmoored in time and ended up stranded in the Garden; explaining that Wilde assumed the Throne relatively soon after Eddie's reign, while Tyro is from some time afterwards. Tyro interrupts to explain the intricacies of how the Hive-Mind's time travel works and is sternly reprimanded by Meridius, meekly apologizing and saying that he only wants to learn all that Meridius has to teach. Apologizing to Eddie for the interruption, Meridius says that he's been trying to teach them how to navigate the timestream so that they can return to their homes and he can be left in peace, but it's frustrating. Wilde's sarcastic retort is cut off as he spots the grey-colored Finnegan - another stranded King in Black - approaching. Spotting Eddie, Finnegan recognizes him and starts rambling that Eddie needs to listen to him. Before Finnegan can elaborate, Bedlam lunges out of the undergrowth roaring that he hates Finnegan and is going to kill him. As Eddie stares aghast, Wilde exasperatedly introduces Bedlam and explains that he has anger issues. Roaring that Finnegan should just die, Bedlam starts ripping him apart; Eddie launching himself at the two despite Wilde's protests. Remarking that it doesn't matter what Eddie does, Meridius smirks as Eddie uppercuts Bedlam away from Finnegan. Snarling that he hates Eddie even more than Finnegan, Bedlam bites off his arm; Meridius dismissing them as a pair of cavemen only for Wilde to sneer that not everyone can be as enlightened as him and pointedly ask why Meridius isn't the one breaking up the fight. Meridius reiterates that there's no point in doing so since they're all just piloting symbiotes and can reform later on, and letting Bedlam vent his rage makes him more manageable anyway. Wilde sneers that Meridius is just making up excuses because he doesn't want Eddie to see that he's just as trapped as the rest of them. As Bedlam tries to eat Eddie, Finnegan urges him on. His attention back on Finnegan, Bedlam snatches him up, tosses Eddie aside, and leaps away. Picking himself up, Eddie incredulously demands an explanation for what just happened, Meridius remarking that Finnegan is deranged and gets on Bedlam's nerves whenever he starts babbling. Wilde sneers that Meridius could do something about it if he really wanted, but Meridius pointedly says he has other matters to attend to and that Tyro will show Eddie the rest of the Garden. Tyro hesitantly says there was something he'd been meaning to tell Meridius but had forgotten until just then, but Meridius cuts him off and snaps that he's pathetic - ordering Tyro to stop crawling after him do as he's told. As Meridius' body melts into a pool of living abyss, Eddie remarks that he's a jerk.
Traversing the timestream through the Hive-Mind, Meridius seethes in frustration at having to deal with the other Kings in Black, griping that Wilde should be as broken and subservient as Tyro but still manages to irritate him and cause trouble. Noting that while Wilde's sarcastic barbs are an annoyance Tyro's constant bootlicking is a source of rage, Meridius chides himself for not having listened to what Tyro was trying to tell him before dismissing all the other Kings in Black as pathetic and contemptible. Too angry for fine work, Meridius selects a moment in time he can use to vent his rage - taking over the symbiote Eddie had called "Ringo" and using it to butcher the refugees on the stranded space ship. Sneering at Eddie giving the symbiotes names, Meridius relishes the bloodshed while waiting for the symbiote Eddie had dubbed "George" to notice something's wrong. When Eddie confronts him, Meridius delivers a cryptic warning that his death is imminent and then kills "Ringo" purely out of spite.
Having laid the groundwork for Eddie's death and trip through time to the Garden, Meridius time-jumps a few hours and takes over one of the symbiotes stranded on Earth in the wake of Knull's invasion. Emerging from the sink in the Brocks' house, Meridius decides to impersonate Eddie and tells Dylan that they need to pack and leave -- noting that Eddie's negligence has left Dylan feeling alone and abandoned, making him the perfect pawn. Meridius sets Dylan on the path to witness the real Eddie's death, the trigger to catalyze a metamorphosis in the original symbiote when he re-bonds to it. Sneering at Dylan's obliviousness, Meridius decides to not leave anything to chance and sets out to find a way to start him on his journey. Leaving Dylan's room, Meridius decides to leave some evidence pointing Dylan to the motel and abruptly vanish, then spots a rat eating some of the leftovers scattered around the living room. Despite seeing Dylan as nothing but an expendable pawn, Meridius is disgusted and furiously thinks that Eddie deserves to die for neglecting his son while he galavants across the cosmos playing hero. Forming a maw on his hand, Meridius eats the rat, intending to spray its blood around the room to scare Dylan, then hears Dylan speaking to someone on the phone. Recognizing the voice on the other end as Eddie's, Meridius wonders whether it's actually Eddie from when he finally manages to escape from the Garden or himself from further down the timestream having doubled back to not take any chances. As the "Eddie" on the phone tells Dylan to go to the motel and not bond to the Venom symbiote, Meridius hopes that it is Eddie just to twist the knife that much further. Dylan absconds, Meridius returning to his true form and revelling in his plans falling into place -- albeit not exactly as he'd intended. Admonishing himself to not get overconfident or complacent, Meridius reminds himself that for all his hatred of Eddie the Brocks are nothing more than pawns and that his true objective is the Venom symbiote. Smirking, Meridius thinks to himself that the time has come for the Venom symbiote to embark on its own journey to where he will be waiting for it, and that when it arrives he will discard his name and guise like he has so many other times before. His smirk transforming into a fanged maw with a slavering serpentine tongue, Meridius declares that when that time comes they will become Venom.
If you thought the first four issues of the latest volume of VENOM were crazy, all-out action, just wait till you get a load of this one! IN THIS ISSUE, Al Ewing returns to the pages of Venom – AND HE'S BROUGHT ANSWERS TO YOUR QUESTIONS WITH HIM!