Earlier this week, a sequel to VENOM received confirmation and publications everywhere celebrated. While they danced and cheered, however, I found myself consumed by one question. Who will the Lethal Protector be punching? Look, sure, we all know the answer most likely will end up being Carnage. They teased it at the end of the first movie for goodness sake. They would have to be ridiculous not to just go there. After all, I have made it very clear that one must strike right away when it comes to comic book adaptations. Why even contemplate alternate antagonists?

Still, AVENGERS introduced Thanos and then waited about six years to truly give him the stage. So, you know…it might be a cool idea. But it’s only cool if there are good other antagonists to be had. But don’t worry everyone, Sony, I got ideas!

Alternate Antagonists Nominee #1- FIRESTAR

Alternate Antagonists- Firestar
Would Firestar sail above the other possible alternate antagonists in VENOM sequel? Perhaps. (Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment)

Though technically a mutant, I’m willing to bet dollars to donuts that Angelica Jones aka Firestar ended up grouped with the Spider-Man license. After all, the first place she ever showed up was the SPIDER-MAN AND HIS AMAZING FRIENDS cartoon. Much like Harley Quinn after her, Firestar proved so popular in the cartoon, she ended up a comic book character, not vice versa.

One thing that did not come up much or at all in VENOM — if memory serves — is the titular character’s issues with fire. See Venom has a weakness to fire. I mean, so do I, but I guess it is more intense for the Lethal Protector. While Firestar does not technically produce fire, despite her name, she can make fire with her microwave powers. That could prove interesting in a film where Venom’s weakness to sonics has been strongly defined but fire might serve as a surprise.

Additionally, Jones has always been more of a traditional hero type. The conflict between Venom as a ruthless anti-hero and Firestar as the more traditional “cart ‘em to jail” superhero type would make for a conflict unusual in superhero films so far.

#2- STEEL SPIDER

Alternate Antagonists: Steel Spider
Steel Spider grits his teeth and accepts his nomination as one of five alternate antagonists for the VENOM sequel. (Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment)

Sure, Spider-Man probably cannot be used in this sequel, even after VENOM proved an unexpected monster — pun may or may not be intended, you’ll never know! — but that does not mean we cannot still find ways to work the rivalry. Enter Ollie Osnick aka Steel Spider.

Almost no one remembers this Spider-Man obsessive turned Spider-Boy turned gritty hero Steel Spider. And that’s fine! Put him in the teaser, let the mystery build, get that buzz on a full boil! Then, boom, reveal the truth and really get them hooked.

Now, if Spider-Man does not exist in the Venom Universe, obviously, we need a new way in. Might I humbly suggest Osnick is a Venom fanboy who tries to help and gets batted away literally and figuratively by the alien symbiote/Vice-style journalist two-fer anti-hero. In response, Osnick becomes Steel Spider and becomes a hero on his own terms as well as planning to eventually take out his former idol.

Think Syndrome from THE INCREDIBLES with a better moral compass.

#3- SHRIEK

Alternate Antagonists: Shrief
Shriek, one of five possible alternate antagonists, impressively wields her power and monologues at length. (Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment)

I admit that I have never found Shriek a particularly compelling villain in the funny book pages. However, I do think that has been a case of execution not an inherent issue with the character. From an origin perspective, all the building blocks are there for a silver screen-worthy villain.

First, from a pretentious interpretive perspective, they both share the same color scheme. Given how far towards villain Venom already dwells on the hero vs. villain continuum, there will be plenty of “we are not so different you and I” things to play with in a movie with Shriek as the villain. The shared color scheme is a symbolic reflection of that.

Don’t buy it? Ok, fine. I mean, I think I sold it well, but I get it. You need a little more.

Consider this then. Shriek has two categories of power — fear and sonics. As noted above, Venom’s weakness to sonics has already been well-documented so we know she can be a threat to him. However, imagine what she could do after she separates them. Before the symbiote regathers itself and rushes back to Brock’s side, she can begin her assault on the man beneath the alien. She can bombard him with visions of his worst fears, with hallucinations so real he may be utterly useless to his alien partner even if the creature manages to rebond to Brock. Cool idea, right?

#4- CARDIAC

Alternate Antagonists: Cardiac
Imagine Cardiac shouting this but substitute in Venom. That there’s the making of a good option amongst several alternate antagonists. (Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment)

Look, I love Cardiac. I’m already on the record about that. So I’m biased. I also happen to be right though.

Cardiac, for those not in the know, was born when Elias Wirtham learned his brother died from a disease that pharmaceuticals had a cure for but were hiding until it became more profitable for them to offer it. Wirtham remade his own body to become a vigilante to punish those who might create suffering in medicine in the name of money.

Given the themes of the first film, perhaps Wirtham could seek out Brock and, at first, they become a formidable partnership. However, as a sign of Venom becoming increasingly heroic, the Lethal Protector might start to feel Cardiac has been going too far, punishing the hourly worker at a medical tech company as brutally as the CEO. Thus, in the third act, Venom must turn on his former teammate to stop the out of control surgeon turned anti-hero.

#5- THE JURY

Alternate Antagonists- The Jury
Ignore that dude in the middle. He’s got nothing to do with this corps of alternate antagonists known as The Jury. (Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment)

This will be a tortured analogy but please indulge me. Imagine Venom as Spider-Man. Cardiac, thus, is the Venom to Venom’s Spider-Man. Follow so far? Ok, the Jury then is Venom’s Green Goblin. That is, the most dangerous opponent Venom faces that is not an outright doppelganger.

In the comics, the members of the power suit wearing Jury are family members of those badly hurt or killed by Venom. Now we cannot perfectly recreate that dynamic in the movie as the movie Venom does not have years of being a pure villain before he tries out being heroic.

Still, he is a brutal anti-hero who enjoys munching on criminals. So the Jury can utilize one of two approaches or a combination therein. First, they could be the family members of bystanders hurt by Venom’s activities. As evidenced in the first movie, the Lethal Protector does not always spend much time paying attention to his surroundings. He is more of an act first, then never follow-up on the fallout after type. Thus, leaving some badly injured passers-by in his wake does not feel unexpected.

If, perhaps, that paints Venom as too villainous, the second approach is the family member of the villains that Venom has dispatched. In this version of the movie you would have a less morally ambiguous Jury, but given Venom’s pre-existing moral issues, that could play just fine on the screen.

Anyone Other Alternate Antagonists

Are we missing any good Venom villains? Any non-Carnage antagonists you think could, proverbially, sing on the big screen? Tell us. Tell your fellow readers. Drop it in the comments below, tweet it to us @ComicsVerse, or visit our Facebook page, won’t you?

One Comment

  1. Luis Maldonado

    Luis Maldonado

    January 17, 2019 at 11:51 am

    Please no, Venom was a terrible movie.

    Reply

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