Venom's longest ongoing series will soon come to an end and yes, we're pretty bummed out over the news, too. To make matters even more troubling for Flash Thompson fans, an upcoming story arc in SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN called "Darkest Hours" will pit Flash against Superior Spider-Man for the very first time. Naturally, many are wondering what the future has in store for Flash Thompson. Will he overcome this more brutal and relentless version of Spider-Man -- the man he admires -- or will his time with the symbiote finally come to an end? And if so, what does that mean for the symbiote?
When Tony 'G-Man' Guerrero interviewed Dan Slott at this year's NYCC, the writer said, "There is no VENOM monthly book to go back to! Anything can happen to Flash and/or the symbiote." Well, today the Marvel solicitations for January were posted and the cover for SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #25 immediately caught our attention. Will we soon see.... Superior Venom?!
• Otto Octavius, the Superior Spider-Man, in a life-or-death struggle against the original Superior Venom!
• Plus: With one last goblin on his side, the Goblin King’s court is now complete!
• Guest starring: The Avengers!
Yeah, let's take a minute to let that all sink in, shall we? Covers can often be misleading, but based on the solicit for #26, it's clear something big will occur. "That thing that happened at the end of #25... That thing that raised all of those questions... You don’t have to wait any longer. You’ll get your answers THIS ISSUE! Honest." The cover certainly implies Otto will wear the symbiote, but for how long?
It wouldn't be surprising if Flash wins their first encounter due to his physical edge, but a second fight with a man like Ock? He's sure to come prepared and take advantage of the symbiote's transparent weaknesses. In the past, the symbiote has left its host to reunite with Parker, but at the moment -- and please correct this if it is incorrect -- it seems like the symbiote's memories were apparently wiped after that whole deal with the devil ordeal. But, could part of the symbiote still have a craving to be with Parker again? Upon seeing how "Supeiror" Spider-Man is, will it slither over to him when Flash is losing? If so, will it be able to notice that he is not who he seems to be? And, in turn, will this make the Venom symbiote pull away? Then knowing the symbiote is aware of his true identity, could Otto destroy the classic symbiote once and for all? That would be shocking, sure, but it wouldn't leave any real questions that need to be answered in the next issue. So, what's more possible in that scenario is Otto does indeed become the new host and with another mind in the mix, things could be messy, leaving Otto in an uncertain direction. The biggest fight in this story arc could wind up being a mental one, after all. Parker has taken control of the symbiote thanks to his incredible willpower... but could Otto accomplish the same or will the symbiote take the wheel?
Or, could Ock view this as another means of power to add to his growing arsenal and then keep it stored away for use when needed? Once Flash is left helpless and defeated, could Ock contain the symbiote, leaving us wondering what he'll do with it? Yes, the symbiote has weaknesses which can be exploited -- weaknesses he knows about and we'll likely see utilized in this story -- but it's still a tool which gives its user some great powers. Bulletproof, boosted durability, shape shifting, tendrils... surely these extra abilities must be slightly tempting for a hero who's always trying to be more and more effective.
Another fun thing to speculate is whether Flash will notice Spider-Man is totally out of character and something is awry. Flash has idolized the wall-crawler for so long that maybe -- just maybe -- he could have an epiphany and realize the man under the mask isn't who he used to be. Then, even if he's left without the alien, there's still story potential for the character as he hopes to investigate what's wrong with his favorite hero.
Lastly, maybe this story could conclude with a third party being a big factor. If the symbiote slides onto Ock and is jolted by his mind, perhaps it could then find a new host -- someone we're not even considering? And, in turn, said new host would know all about Spider-Man. It's far-fetched, sure, but why not have some fun while speculating, right? There's about a 0.01% chance Cardiac would become the new host, but you can't blame a man for dreaming.
Covers have mislead us countless times before, but the chances of Superior Spider-Man wearing the symbiote -- no matter how long it may be -- certainly seems probable. From there, it's all about why he's wearing it and what'll happen next. You've read just a few of our theories, but what do you think will happen in "Darkest Hours?" Share your theories below!