Venom is now in theaters, and although it may not be officially part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, that doesn’t mean it’s lacking in comic book shout outs. Eddie’s symbiotic alien adventure isn’t as crammed full of Easter eggs and nods as his web slinging pals over in the MCU proper, but there are certainly some. So, of course, we’re going to count them down. Be advised, Venom spoilers abound here, so proceed with caution.
Venom is a totally reimagined origin story for Spidey’s obsessive alien enemy, set in Sony’s isolated Spider-Man free Spider-Man universe. It focuses on Eddie Brock as an intrepid investigative journalist in San Francisco as he tries to uncover the truth about a shady biochemical firm known as The Life Foundation. Unfortunately, in the process of digging for dirt, Eddie crosses some lines and winds up disgraced, alone, and desperate for a break. Thankfully, one comes in the form of a Life Foundation scientist, Dr. Skirth, who finds herself in a crisis of consciousness over her job’s unethical methods. Eddie becomes embroiled in the strange, parasitic world of the Life Foundation’s alien pet projects: the symbiotes, tar-like aliens that require a biological host to survive.
It doesn’t take much effort to start connecting the dots from that point. Eddie winds up saddled with a symbiote named Venom who can engulf him in black goo and puppeteer him around for all sorts of wacky, violent hijinks. Naturally, the Life Foundations’ shady motivations become clear and the whole thing culminates in a full on oozified splatterfest as Venom clashes against a fellow symbiote for the fate of humanity.
Look, the Venom story is a weird one even in the comics, OK? If you were expecting high stakes moral quandaries, you’re looking in the wrong place. That doesn’t mean it’s not worth seeing–as Venom’s box office results clearly show, fans are eating it up. Now read on for all the Easter eggs and references you might have missed.