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Venom: Lethal Protector Story Arc Explained

VO: Adrian Sousa
Written by Thomas O'Connor He’s no angel, but he’s not quite the monster people think he is. Welcome to “Story Arc Explained”, the show that gets you up to speed with the comics storylines you didn’t read. Today we’ll be recapping 1993’s “Venom: Lethal Protector” - a 6-issue miniseries written by David Michelinie, with art by Mark Bagley, Ron Lim, and Sam DeLarosa. Have an idea you want to see made into a WatchMojo video? Check out our suggest page at http://WatchMojo.comsuggest and submit your idea.
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Transcript
He’s no angel, but he’s not quite the monster people think he is. Welcome to “Story Arc Explained”, the show that gets you up to speed with the comics storylines you didn’t read. Today we’ll be recapping 1993’s “Venom: Lethal Protector” - a 6-issue miniseries written by David Michelinie, with art by Mark Bagley, Ron Lim, and Sam DeLarosa.

While the character Venom was originally introduced as a fearsome villain, he’s since gone on to become something of an anti-hero - albeit, one with a somewhat warped sense of right and wrong. This series showed the character’s first steps on that path, flexing his muscle as a crimefighter in sunny San Francisco.

The story opens with Venom enjoying his new West Coast stomping grounds, saving a woman from a mugger before setting out to find a new place to hang his hat... or, symbiote. Despite not looking for trouble, trouble finds him when a pair of beat cops recognize Eddie Brock, wanted fugitive, and attempt to arrest him. During the scuffle, a nearby shutterbug snaps a photo of Venom beating a retreat, which soon alerts Peter Parker to his old foe’s whereabouts when the photos make their way to the Daily Bugle.

Spidey heads to San Fran to confront Venom, believing Eddie has already gone back on his recent promise to fight for good. He catches up with Eddie just in time to get caught in a shootout after Venom attacks some mobsters who he saw hassling some nearby vagrants. In the chaos of the battle, Venom disappears, leaving Spidey back at square one.

The people Brock saved take him to their home in the sewer system, where they reveal that someone by the name of Roland Treece has been attempting to drive them away for months. And he hasn’t given up yet! More of Treece’s goons attack, this time armed with massive mech-suits, and one of them takes Venom for a ride when the floor collapses beneath them. When the smoke clears, they realize they’ve fallen into a subterranean city!

After making quick work of the mechs, Eddie learns what’s going on below the city surface. Following the San Francisco Earthquake of 1903, a section of the city was buried underground. Preserved in a cavern, this relic from a bygone era was eventually found by the city’s homeless population, becoming a safe haven for them. Despite saving them, Eddie is asked to leave by the city’s ruling council.

Meanwhile, Spidey discovers why Brock came to San Fran: it’s the home of his dear old dad! Peter attempts to confront Papa Brock but doesn’t exactly get far. The elder Brock still doesn’t feel chatty, but his housekeeper fills Spidey in on Brock’s childhood, and how his desperate need for his father’s acceptance led him down the path to villainy.

While all of this is happening, Venom heads to Treece’s corporate headquarters hoping to find some answers about why he has it out for the residents of Sanctuary. For his trouble, Venom gets attacked by guards and driven away before he can get the answers he needs. No sooner does he escape the office than he comes face-to-face with a new foe: a man leading a group of armored warriors called The Jury.

The man introduces himself as Orwell Taylor, and after his men subdue Venom, he spills the beans in classic villain fashion. Taylor’s son was formerly a guard at the high-tech prison called The Raft. During a jailbreak, young Hugh Taylor was killed by none other than Venom himself. Taylor swore revenge on Venom and assembled The Jury to take him down. Venom narrowly escapes with his life, but the Jury viciously pursues him, eventually cornering him in the city streets.

In an unexpected turn, a Treece helicopter arrives to whisk Venom to safety. Treece, offering Eddie a job as his new head of security, brings Venom to a remote facility in the Mojave. This turns out to be a case of “out of the frying pan and into the fire” when this is revealed to be a trap, one with a new player at the controls: a man who identifies himself as Carlton Drake, head of The Life Foundation.

Drake reveals that The Life Foundation caters to a group of wealthy elites who believe that nuclear armageddon is just around the corner. With Venom imprisoned, Drake takes a sample of the symbiote.

It doesn’t take long for Spidey, still searching for Venom, to come across the fruits of Drake’s labor: a new symbiote by the name of Scream! Spidey narrowly averts Scream’s rampage before the villainess escapes in a hovercraft. Spidey hitches a ride and holds on for dear life while the craft takes off. As you may have guessed, the ship returns to the Life Foundation, where Spidey finds yet more symbiotes and a seemingly deceased Eddie Brock!

Spidey battles the new symbiotes, created by the Life Foundation to be soldiers and policemen in the post-apocalyptic future they think is headed their way. Things look dicey for the web-slinger until Eddie appears, alive and well after all, but separated from his symbiote. Brock finds and reunites with his better half, and Venom dispatches the Foundation’s symbiotes, aging them into dust with the same technology used to bring them to maturity so quickly. Spidey and his unlikely ally escape before the facility goes up in flames, but Venom branches off, leaving Spider-Man to have to find him all over again.

With all that out of the way, Venom resumes his hunt for answers about Treece and discovers the villain’s plan: to steal a shipment of gold thought buried in the 1906 earthquake. Treece is willing to kill everyone in the underground city in order to get the gold, and Venom recruits Spidey in stopping Treece once and for all.

In a fiery confrontation, the pair confronts Treece one last time in an intense battle with Treece’s robot diggers. In an unexpected turn of events, Venom even saves Treece, putting himself in danger by diving through a wall of fire, one of the only things capable of harming him. Before Spidey can congratulate Venom on saving the villain’s life, Eddie disappears, leaving Spidey to return to New York.

In gratitude for saving the sanctuary, Venom is given a place to live and swears to protect the innocent, be they underground or above.

The iconic Spider-Man foe has had a number of incredible adventures since his first solo outing, but this first tale retains a soft spot in the hearts of fans for setting Eddie Brock down a whole new path.
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