Characters Appearing: Eddie Brock (Venom), Microchip, Punisher, Venom Symbiote
Venom: Funeral Pyre #1-3
Issue(s): Venom: Funeral Pyre #1, Venom: Funeral Pyre #2, Venom: Funeral Pyre #3
A journalist has embedded himself with a gang. To keep his cover, he's forced to stay with them while they hunt down and kill a man chosen at random. But the reporter sends the guy's nephew to get word to the police. Instead, the kid goes to Venom.
This is an unfootnoted nod to the idea that Venom became "Lethal Protector" to the homeless group in his first miniseries, and it's the only such reference to that set-up.
Venom has an interest in helping the reporter since he was once one himself.
Meanwhile, it turns out that the reporter had been trying to infiltrate the gang because his father was a member of Hydra. The gang is currently using his father's former lab location as their base, unaware of the secret passage that leads to the lab area.
The Punisher is also in town, after the gang.
So while Venom fights the Punisher to prevent him from accidentally killing the reporter...
...and then later teaming-up with the Punisher against the gang...
...the reporter tries to hide, and he finds the secret passage and discovers a "super-soldier pod".
It turns him into Pyre.
Pyre is bitter because the kid went to Venom (and taking forever in doing so) instead of going to the police, and in the meantime he was forced to commit crimes. I mean, ultimately it's his own fault, and it's hard to think of him as being anything but crazy.
Pyre has microwave powers, making him well suited to fighting Venom. But the Punisher uses his super-van, trying to cancel out Pyre's powers but instead causing him to overload.
The amplification causes Pyre to hurt Venom even more, so - continuing the weird kind of blame game going on in these issues - Venom goes crazy and attacks the Punisher again.
Luckily he listens when Punisher tells him to can the $#%@.
Venom is still trying to save Pyre and is mad at the Punisher for firing grenades. But when Venom tries to help and Pyre just attacks him again, Venom drops a machine on him.
Like the Black Knight in Monty Python's Holy Grail, Pyre just keeps trying to fight. Venom says, "We... are so sorry!".
More falling debris and a fire cause Venom to abandon Pyre. Venom then goes after Punisher, blaming him for Pyre's death. Punisher is unsympathetic, saying that if the reporter were "innocent" he wouldn't have let the gang pressure him into committing crimes. Then the sound of sirens cause both Venom and Punisher to flee in separate directions (Venom is said to be weakened from the fight, for what it's worth).
I actually thought this started off good, but it got lame pretty quickly.
Quality Rating: C-
Chronological Placement Considerations: N/A
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
I bought this in real time because Tom Lyle was penciling it. I also thought that there was a certain potential in having Venom and the Punisher being forced to work together because it meant that for once Frank Castle would actually be the more sane half of a team-up. But in the end I just found the story really underwhelming, and I later sold it off along with many of my other Spider-Man related comics.
Posted by: Ben Herman | February 10, 2017 4:15 PM
Tom Lyle used to draw Roger Stern's Starman for DC. He deserved better than this.
Posted by: Luis Dantas | February 10, 2017 5:17 PM
Venom also killed a couple of doctors at the Vault in Amazing Spider-Man 330-331.
Posted by: Michael | February 10, 2017 5:45 PM
At least Venom is on the receiving end of the same BS logic that justified his vendetta with Spiderman. And amazingly enough, despite blaming the Punisher for delaying him, he also accepts partial responsibility for failing to rescue Grey/Pyre.
Grey somewhat indirectly acknowledges that his curiosity about the Hydra lab got him in that situation, so my bigger problem here is that Venom had an opportunity for some character growth and it was overlooked. No, Eddie, don't realize you were full of crap calling yourself "innocent" before Spiderman "ruined" you.
Posted by: iLegion | February 10, 2017 9:42 PM
I just remembered- Venom also killed at least one guard in Avengers: Deathtrap the Vault.
Posted by: Michael | February 11, 2017 8:52 AM
Added Deathtrap as a "reference". Thanks Michael. He also killed a regular police officer while awaiting transfer back to the Vault in Amazing Spider-Man #373 but i don't think that or the Vault doctors should "count" (i mean, it's not really an explicit reference anyway).
Posted by: fnord12 | February 13, 2017 10:01 AM
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