Venom (1st series) #162

Issue Date: 
April 2018
Story Title: 
Poison-X, part 3

Cullen Bunn (writer), Edgar Salazar & Ario Anindito (artists), Dono Sanchez-Almara (colorist), Virtual Caligraphy's Clayton Cowles (letterer) Will Robson & Edgar Delgado (cover artists), Dave Johnson (variant cover artist), Tom Groneman (assistant editor), Devin Lewis (editor), Nick Lowe (executive editor), Christina Harrington, Chris Robinson, Darren Shan & Mark Paniccia (consulting editors), CB Cebulski (editor-in-chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)
X-Men created by Stan Lee & Jack Kirby

Brief Description: 

The X-Men have bonded with Symbiotes, and use the enhanced abilities the Symbiotes give them to take down the robots and the Haze Mancer. Venom wants to kill the Haze Mancer but Marvel Girl talks him out of it. The Haze Mancer apparently knows Venom, but Venom isn't sure why. Marvel Girl uses her powers to discover that Haze Mancer modified the Symbiotes that bonded to the aliens who kidnapped the Starjammers with tracking devices, and using the Haze Mancer's technology, the Beast is able to track the Symbiotes. Indeed, Killer Thrill and her team are headed out into space, with Corsair as her prisoner, she taunts him by telling him that one of her crew, Naga, gutted his son and left him for dead. Corsair is concerned, but tells Killer Thrill that his son will be coming for her. After retrieving Danger, the X-Men, still bonded with the Symbiotes, and Venom are headed after Killer Thrill. Venom tries to convince the X-Men to ditch the Symbiotes, but Marvel Girl tells him that the Symbiotes want to be bonded to them. Danger reports that she has contacted Magneto, and as the X-Men become accustomed to being bonded with a Symbiote, tensions rise between Venom and Cyclops. At a prison run by Nova Corps, Haze Mancer is liberated by a mysterious being who is bonded to a Symbiote and wants Haze Mancer's help for one last hunt.

Full Summary: 

A far-away spaceport, where inside a warehouse used to trade alien Symbiotes, Scott Summers of the X-Men appears shocked as one of the Symbiotes suddenly engulfs him. Eddie Brock a.k.a. Venom watches, and decides that if the X-Men had bothered asking him, he could have told them what to expect. The pressure – constricting – suffocating – everything changes. 'My visor! My eyes!' Scott calls out as his face is covered by the strange black Symbiote. Scott clutches his face and realizes that he can still see – with every cell. Venom knows that the weight of the world rushes in so fast that you can't catch your breath. 'I can see!' Cyclops calls out, as he fires an optic blast. Venom knows that the X-Men are kids, though, and they think they know everything – including how to control Symbiotes. 'But they didn't ask me' Venom thinnks to himself, as the other X-Men – Jean Grey a.k.a. Marvel Girl, Bobby Drake a.k.a. Iceman, Warren Worthington a.k.a. Angel and Hank McCoy  a.k.a. Beast have all been bonded with  a Symbioe, their appearances change, and they engage several large robots that were preparing to trade Symbiotes with the Haze Mancer.

Venom watches the chaos unfold before him and tells himself that this is why he doesn't usually run around with hot-headed mutants like the X-Men. 'All these... eyes... all these blasts... almost too much' Scott utters, as Venom remarks to himself that even though his longtime partner is a suit of extra-terrestrial Symbiote flesh, they don't often go gallivanting though space, either. Venon lunges at one of the robots and tears into it, as Jean uses her telekinesis against another, 'Two minds now... dividing again and again... becoming many... and all of them mine' she utters. Venom recalls how the X-Men kidnapped him, as they need a subject matter expert when it came to the Klyntar – for all they good he and his Symbiote have done. Bobby looks at his new darkened ice-form and wonders if the Symbiote is inside him.

Venom drops to his knees as the Haze Mancer approaches him and holds a weapon out towards him. 'Well, well, well. The Symbiote that got away. I always wonderedwhen our paths might cross again' the Haze Mancer calls out. The Symbiote part of Venom tells Eddie that the Haze Mancer says he knows them, but he doesn't remember him. Angel screams as one of the robots blasts him with fire, knocking  him across the warehouse. Jean goes over too him, and Warren assures her that he is fine, as the suit took the worst of it. He adds that he could feel what the suit felt, and points out that it has been a while since he has been afraid of fire. Another robot holds up the Beast, who has been transformed into a hooved, horned furry creature. 'Subject detained' the robot states, before Cyclops tells his friend to hand on – and fires an optic blast from an eye that opens up in the palm of his hand. 'I've got you' Scott calls out as he fires the blast at the robot's arm, severing it and freeing Hank.

'Oh, yew brought me some treats, didn't yew!' the Haze Mancer calls out as he prods Venom with the device, adding that the Klyntar are already picking up on their hosts' power. 'So these guys...they're sort of like Sentinels... only for gooey aliens' Bobby remarks as he lashes out at one of the robots with a long, spiked ice-tentacle. 'Now that those suits are are adapting to all these special features, they're gonna fetch a premium' the Haze Mancer declares. 'After I peel them off tha carcasses of yer friends, of course' he adds. Jean realizes that Mancer's customers have bolted, but Warren tells her to forget them and focus on the main jerk himself. Jean telekinetically levitates herself towards the Mancer and fires some psychic blasts at him, while Angel swoops towards him from the other direction. Mancer tells the X-Men that he isn't sure they noticed, but that this is not his first time tangling with slime suits. 'Ya might feel stronger all of a sudden...but yer weaker than yew even kn-' Mancer begins, before Angel grabs him and flies across the warehouse.

Mancer looks up at Angel and boasts that he has enough anti-Symbiote tech to sear that thinf alive, and Angel's comic flame is forced back upon himself. Mancer drops to the ground, boasting that he will come though the fight fresh as a tarvil cluster. 'You're pretty, Angel, but kinda dumb. When are you gonna learn that flames are no longer your friend?' Bobby asks his teammate, blasting his wings with ice. 'Funny' Warren mutters. Haze Mancer looks pleased with himself as he declares that he is going to make a freighterload of credits selling the lot of them, when suddenly, Venom appears 'I know all those new toys are exciting and all... but don't forget about us!' Venom snarls as he slams his fist into Haze Mancer's face.

'Fascinating! These Symbiotes...they not only enhance our natural abilities...they amplify out emotional state' the Beast realizes as he uses some small winged demons against one of the robots. Jean telekinetically tears one of the robots in two as she points out that Hank's manifested as demons. 'This is why we worry about you' she tells him. Venom slams the Haze Mancer into the ground and tells him that he is done using those gadgets of his. 'You got your licks in.'s our turn' Venom declares, leaning into Haze Mancer, remembering how he said he knows him. Venom's sharp teeth are mere inches from the Haze Mancer's face, 'Eddie! Eddie, no! Stop!' the Symbiote within Venom calls out. 'Venom – no!' Marvel Girl shouts as she suddenly traps Venom in a telekinetic field. 'You can't just kill him!' Marvel Girl exclaims. 'You know who this guy is, right? You know what it is he does. You gonna tell us he deserves to live?' Venom asks.

The Symbiote falls away from Marvel Girl's face, as Jean looks at Venom intently and tells him that the X-Men don't kill. 'We're not one of you' Venom retorts, reminding Jean that she brought him here against his will to help. 'But now you want us to just look the other way when -' Venom begins, before Cyclops calls out 'You're right. You're not an X-Man. If you want to do things your way, be my guest. But he sold Symbiotes to the people who attacked my Dad. I want to question him... before you kill him' Cyclops eexclaims, as he snaps a weapon across his thigh. 'Scott. Come on, man. You can't mean that' Angel calls out. The Beast explains that it is his Symbiote, that it is angry at Mancer, and his feels the same way – it wants to punish him. Bobby looks at his hands and asks how get gets the Symbiote off him.

'You heard the kids. They want answers, and so do I. Tell us everything about your operation' Venom orders Haze Mancer, holding him off the ground. Haze Mancer looks bemused and asks the terrans if they have never heard of client confidentiality, adding that divulging information about his customers is bad for business. 'You're out of business, pal. Or haven't you figured that out?' Venom asks. The Haze Mancer reports that there is still money to be made, and offers to cut the X-Men in on the deal. 'Yew could work with me... help seek powers like yers in a new batch of Symbiotes' he explains, before telling Cyclops that they would be so rich, he could buy himself a new daddy. Scott hisses at Mancer in return, but Jean tells him that it is all right, that Mancer is just looking for an angle – any angle thay might present him with an opportunity to slip away.

Jean approaches Haze Mancer and points out that it is a good thing they don't need Haze Mancer to cooperate, as she unleashes her psychic power on him. 'What are yew doing? Get out of my dead!' Haze Mancer calls out, before Jean reports that his mind and thought patterns are strange, but that he is close enough to human, she just needs something to latch onto – a stray thought or a memory or ahint of fear. Haze Mancer suddenly cries out, and Jean finds something she can use. Armed with knowledge, Jean informs her teammates that Mancer modified these Symbiotes, rugged them with tracking devices – that's how they will find his clients.

Beast goes over to a console and announces that now they know what to look for, it should be simple enough to hack into his Mancer's tracking protocols. 'You gonna conjure a bunch of little demons to act as IT specialists?' Bobby jokes. 'Hilarious' Beast mutters. 'Those demon jokes never get old'. The Beast then asks if the Symbiotes enhance who they really are, then why is it that Bobby is becoming invisible?' Bobby's eyes narrow at this remark, as indeed, his form is slowly becoming invisible. Angel goes over to Beast and tells him ot lay-off, and for them both to stop attacking each other. 'It's hardly my fault. I think I'm experiencing a bit of sibling rivalry' Beast suggests, realizing that his Symbiote and Bobby's were brothers. Hank turns back to the task at hand, examining the console panel he decides that his future tech should allow him to connect directly with the system. Hank retrieves the information and turns to his teammates, reporting that a cluster of Symbiotes were sold to a group of interstellar bounty hunters recently. Beast tells the others that they are going to have to move quickly if they want to catch them.

In the spaceship that blasts through the stars, Killer Thrill leans back as she addresses her various alien companions, '...and you're sure they were Earthers?' she asks. The alien with the red tendrils declares that she would stake her life on it – they are a long way from home, but they are terrans. 'And you say they had a Symbiote with them?' Killer Thrill asks. The red alien confirms that they did – a real nasty one, too, and she has the feeling he has been hanging around Earth. 'I wonder...' Killer Thrill remarks to herself, before turning as a humanoid crew member begins Corsair to her. 'There he is! My favorite little hostage!' she calls out. Killer Thrill leans in to Corsair and asks him how he feels and whether he is down in the dumps. 'What do you want from me and my crew, Killer Thrill?' Corsair asks through gritted teeth.

Killer Thrill leans back and declares that she loves it when he says her name, that it makes her giddy – it sounds almost as sweet as the sound of squealing baby xreeks when you crush their skulls. She leans back in towards Corsair and tells him that she thought he might want to know that there are still people out there who care about his sorry carcass, revealing that her team ran into some Earthers who were looking from him – they had eye-beams and mind blasts and ice storms and were loads of fun. 'The X-Men' Corsaair utters, his expression looking hopeful. Killer Thrill runs her hand along the face of a green alien and remarks that she has heard of the X-Men, and how they are always venturing out where they don't belong. She adds that she bets they will think twice about leaving Earth next time. She leans into the green alien and calling him Naga, exclaims that he gutted at least one of them, the one who said he was looking for his dear old dad.

'Scott...' Corsair whispers, his eyes turn to the floor. Killer Thrill kneels beside him and points at his face, 'That stings, doesn't it?' she asks. 'Your boy came looking for you...tried to save you before we sold you off...and now he's bleeding out in some stinkhole spaceport!' This shocks Corsair: 'You left him for dead?' he asks. 'You can cry if you want to' Killer Thrill tells Corsair, adding that she will think less of him as a man, but she will still lick the tears away. Corsair tells Killer Thrill that if she wanted them dead, she should have finished the job. 'Because I know my kid...and I'm betting he's coming for you' Corsair informs her. Killer Thrill runs her tongue through her jagged teeth and declares that she hopes so.

Meantime, inside Danger who has been transformed into the X-Men's Blackbird, Venom roars at the X-Men: 'You should have let us kill him! The guy's scum. If we'd been there alone -' he begins, but Jean interrupts him and points out that he wasn't there alone, and that it wasn't his call. 'We're not killers' Jean adds. She, Warren and Bobby have reverted to their human appearances, while Hank and Scott remain transformed by the Symbiotes as the inside of the jet glows red. Jean reminds Venom that they ruined the Haze Mancer and handed him over to the authorities. 'Isn't that enough?' she asks. Venom is sitting behind Jean and tells her that it must be nice having thoser high moral standards, especially when you carve out expectations for things like ripping thoughts out of people's heads, or, say, kidnapping people.

Cyclops tells Venom that whatever Jean did, the only thing that matters now is finding his Dad. Venom tells the young mutants that they are all too emotional, and that they should remove the Symbiotes before they fully bond with them. 'They served their purposes. Keeping them's too dangerous' Venom explains. 'Too dangerous for whom?' Cyclops asks. 'Scott -' Jean begins, hanging her head. Venom stands up and goes over to Cyclops: 'Are you trying to puff up on us, kid?' he asks. 'I'd say that's the alien talking, too, but I don't think the Symbiote's that stupid. If you need me to teach you a little humility, I'm happy to do so' Venom adds. 'I've been taught plenty by far worse than you!' Cyclops retorts, looking up at Venom, he gets to his feet, but before things can escalate further, Jean steps between them and tells them to both cut it out. Jean turns to Scott and points out that Venom is right – the Symbiotes are affecting them. Jean informs Venom that she can tell he isunsettled by all of this, she can feel it, and knows his Klyntar hates what Mancer is doing to its kind.

Jean continues, remarking that she knows Venom thinks they are not equipped to handle the Symbiotes, but points out that is not entirely their call, as the Klyntar don't want to leave them – they want to see this through and rescue the others that Mancer sold. 'I don't think they're going anywhere right now' Jean declares. Beast asks Danger how she is holding up, and the robot responds that she has been better, but thanks him for asking. Danger adds that, done correctly, self-repair is a marathon, not a race, but unfortunately, they have asked her to give chase to an enemy with a significant head start. Warren goes over to Hank and suggests that perhaps they send a message to Magneto, tell him where they are. He adds that the last thing he wants is for Magneto to start tearing apart cities looking for them. Danger reports that Magneto has been alerted, and explains that Beast prevented her from contacting Magneto initially, but his influence over her deteriorated, so  she took the liberty of sending a sub-space signal as soon as she was able. 'Uh...thanks, I suppose' Beast mutters.

'Funny. You talk about how you're not killers. But you answer to a madman like Magneto' Venom points out. 'People change' Jean tells him. 'You're young, Red. But you're not naive enough to believe that. People don't change... not unless you force them to' Venom adds.

Elsewhere, a high-security prison on a desolate rock. Nova Corps operatives patrol the cells within the prison, one of which contains the Haze Mancer, who sits forlorn in his cell. He looks up as several Nova Corps run past his cell, 'Scramble! Scramble! We've got a breach!' one of them calls out. Several of the Corps are suddenly taken out, while another one radios for backup – before he is knocked backwards. Other Corps members are attacked by tendrils, while another is skewered with a large spike. Haze Mancer looks up as a mysterious being appears before his cell. 'Are you the one called Haze Mancer? You are – like me – a hunter?' he asks. Haze Mancer replies that he is out of business now, as a bunch of super-powered Earthers shut him down and claimed the last of his supply. The mysterious being wears some sort of armor over his entire body, while a Symbiote radiates around him and the mysterious figure announces 'I think not. You're not quite out of business. You can help last hunt!'

Characters Involved: 

Angel, Beast, Cyclops, Iceman, Marvel Girl (all time-displaced original X-Men)
Venom / Eddie Brock

Hexxer, Killer Thrill, Naga, Tord and others, including crew members
Haze Mancer
Unidentified being

Various aliens
Nova Corps

Story Notes: 

This issue follows X-Men: Blue #21 and continues in X-Men: Blue #22.

Written By: