BY MATT TUCK
Insomniac is putting a twist in the Venom narrative with Harry Osborn taking Eddie’s place. That leads to plenty of keys getting the rub from Spider-Man 2.
Maybe the new game should be titled, Spider-Man 2: When Harry Met Venom. Where’s Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan when we need them?
All Sony’s new PS5 exclusives look amazing, at least judging by the trailers. There was Wolverine, Guardians of the Galaxy (with comic-accurate characters), and a Knights of the Old Republic remake. The biggest hit of the week was Spider-Man 2 and the absolutely perfect Venom cameo that echoed his 1988 origin.
For fans of the game, this was three years in the making. However, the gaming-verse has taken on a life all its own, and it has merged two different origin stories into one.
THE ORIGINAL GAMES
If you finished both Spider-Man and Spider-Man: Miles Morales, you already know this part: there are two different Venom teases at the end of both games. In case you missed it, the games close with Norman Osborn inside a secret laboratory tended by Dr. Curt Connors, which suggests we will get the Lizard in the new game. There is a Star Wars-esque pod with Harry Osborn and what appears to be the Venom symbiote inside. Of course, the room is bathed in green light, hinting that Norman will don the Green Goblin suit and terrorize the city. What got fans more excited was that it would seem Venom was being bonded with Harry.
Venom purists, like myself, don’t like it when Eddie Brock is shoved out of the picture. In this case, it could create some unique scenarios and ultimately lead back to Eddie.
In the comics, Harry began his comic life as Peter Parker’s best friend. That fell apart when Harry blamed Spider-Man for Norman’s death, seeking revenge as the second Green Goblin in 1974. A decade later, Eddie would blame Peter for ruining his career while Spider-Man struggled to rid himself of the alien costume. There’s nothing like mutual hatred to bring people and alien costumes together, and Eddie and the symbiote bonded to become the spider-squashing Venom.
The thing is, we’ve seen both of these stories multiple times. Between comics, cartoons, and movies, the song remains the same. As gamers saw with both Spider-Man and the Miles spinoff, Insomniac is aiming to stay true to the comic ideas but with twists and turns all their own. While combining Venom and Harry’s stories may not seem like a perfect match on the surface, it could work. Not only that, but it could also open the door to plenty of other symbiotes.
With all this talk of Harry and the symbiote combining to make an all-new Venom that we have never seen before, it will have an impact on both characters’ key issues. On that note, let’s take a closer look at the top collecting prospects.
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #31
Age before beauty or, in this case, publishing date before popularity. This has long been a famous comic among Spider-Man collectors. Practically anything from the Silver Age is held in high regard, particularly a key issue drawn by Steve Ditko. Naturally, Harry Osborn’s first appearance is a pricey comic to own, and it doesn’t make it any cheaper since Gwen Stacy debuts in these pages as well.
Want one of your own? On Sunday, a 6.5 sold for over $1k, while a 2.5 earned $232. A day later, a raw copy brought a respectable $200.
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #136
Even though Harry will likely debut as Venom in Spider-Man 2, that has not stopped collectors from targeting his original turn as a villain in ASM #136. There is so much we don’t know about the plot of the new game that there is nothing to say he won’t become the Green Goblin at some point.
At any rate, seeing Venom in the game trailer, assuming that is Harry inside the alien costume, has helped Harry’s Goblin debut. On Saturday, a 9.8 set a new record with a $1,560 sale while a 9.0 brought $300. A day later, an 8.5 sold for $250.
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #300
The crown jewel of Venom comics, ASM #300 has plenty of reasons to be expensive. At the forefront is the movie sequel, Let There Be Carnage. In the comics, Dylan Brock has taken over as the new Venom while Eddie has transitioned to God of the Symbiotes. Adding in the Venom cameo to the Spider-Man 2 trailer is the icing on the proverbial cake.
Over the weekend, two 9.8s brought big numbers. While neither one broke records Sunday, they earned impressive figures of $7,100, which happened to be the highest price since May, and $6,700.
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #654 SECOND PRINT
The Spider-Man 2 trailer depicted a more traditional, menacing Venom from his original Todd McFarlane/David Michelini days. The chamber in Norman’s lab and the symbiote being bonded to an injured Harry should remind collectors of the origin of Agent Venom. On the cover of the second print of ASM #654, we clearly see Venom locked in a glass pod before it is paired with Flash Thompson.
Who knows what changes Venom will undergo in the new game? There could be twists and turns that give us Agent Venom or the sentient costume could find its way to Eddie. No matter the case, the Venom symbiote inside the pod has an ASM #654 vibe, and that could very well boost prices for the second print.
Between the standard and second prints, the subsequent printing is by far the more valuable. The last time a standard 9.8 sold online, it brought $204 on September 12. Compare that with the 9.8 second print. Although we have not seen a grade that high trade hands since April, it brought $1,995 at that time. More recently, a 9.6 sold for a record $550 on September 5. Over the weekend, two raw copies brought $190 and $227.
A SYMBIOTIC FUTURE
Although it veers away from the comic origins, mashing up the Osborns with the symbiotes can create so many interesting scenarios for the Spider-Man sequel and any games to come afterwards. I predict we will see plenty more of the symbiotes, including Carnage and perhaps even the Red Goblin, but that’s a story for another day.
Matt Tuck is the author of the novel, Lost Bones of the Dead. He is a professional writer, avid comic collector, former teacher, and an international man of mystery. You can follow him on his Facebook page, The Comic Blog.