Venom: Let There Be Carnage is all about relationships: Eddie and Venom, Venom and Carnage, brains and … chocolate?
It’s a Venom movie through and through — and that means weird, outlandish stakes are introduced to the titular couple’s struggles. Including dinner dates!
[Ed. note: This piece contains spoilers for Venom: Let There Be Carnage.]
Casual and veteran Venom fans alike will no doubt find a lot of silly heart in Venom 2’s story which sees the eponymous Symbiote and its host, disgraced reporter (and lobster aficionado) Eddie Brock, fighting and eventually breaking up over (among other things) dietary restrictions. The Symbiote is sick of eating chocolate instead of brains. Eddie doesn’t see the problem. It’s a tale as old as time.
But does any of this actually take place in the comics? Does the sinister spider ever really munch down on some domes? Is he really a chocoholic? Yes, yes, and it’s complicated! We must look no further than a few laughably obscure solo Venom comics of the 1990s to find out more.
The first, and arguably most famous, instance of Venom’s drastic dietetic desires comes from writer David Michelinie and artist Erik Larsen’s Spider-Man #333, which features Spider-Man fighting off a surprise Venom attack. Venom, still solidly on the villain side of superhero alignments, lunges at Peter Parker while proudly proclaiming “We want to eat your brain!” A line memorable enough to be quoted on action figure packaging, cementing the Symbiote’s signature hungers.
But it wouldn’t be until 1996’s more absurd but aptly titled spinoff, Venom: The Hunger, that we found out the how and why behind the whole brain thing. In that series, the Venom symbiote, spurred by its insatiable desire to eat brains and scorned by Eddie’s desire to uh…not do that, leaves Brock naked and alone in a desolate part of New York City to go get what it needs.
Hot on the heels of a break-up, and taking the form of a Xenomorph-esque snake, the symbiote set out on its own to feast while Brock found himself confined to a hospital of horrors under the direction of cannibalistic monster Dr. Paine.
Paine, who enjoys a good brain from time to time as well, took it upon himself to explore Eddie’s ailments and discovered that Brock was scarce in a real-life brain chemical called phenylethylamine, more commonly known as PEA. Whether it was because the symbiote had been eating at Brock’s PEA and had run out, or because Eddie never produced enough to begin with, Venom needed more. The most likely source being, of course, other brains.
But second most common source of phenylethylamine? Chocolate, naturally. Determined to save their relationship or die trying, Eddie Brock escaped Paine’s clutches and chased after the symbiote with flamethrower, sonic weapons, and candy in tow. The two eventually reconciled in a loving, slimy embrace, and Eddie’s narration notes that the brain makes an abundance of PEA, a governor of emotions, when you’re in love. Aww.
The implication the story ends on is that Eddie is ready to live with and love Venom again, sharing the PEA the Symbiote desperately needs while keeping some chocolates (cheekily tucked away in a Valentine’s Day heart shaped box) on hand for a sweet surprise from time to time — mirroring the movie’s eventual reconciliation.
Neither the comics or Let There Be Carnage’s plot make reference to Aphanizomenon flos-aquae (AFA), a blue green algae that produces more PEA than both chocolate and human brains, but maybe they’ll get to that in the sequel.