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Venom: You were always talking about responsibility and power. You didn't want them anymore, Peter. So I took them both. Something wrong? Not enjoying my little gift? Surprise, surprise! It was so easy to find someone like Waters. Together we did what you could only dream of! We saved this city from itself! Jealous? Spider-Man: This...this whole thing...is about me? Venom: Yes! That's it! My whole existence is about you!
~ Venom mocking Spider-Man
Venom is the main antagonist of Karee Andrews' 2006-2007 Spider-Man: Reign comic book miniseries. Like in most incarnations, Venom is a sentient alien Symbiote with an amorphous and liquid-like form, who survives by bonding with a host, usually humans. After Peter Parker retires from being Spider-Man following Mary Jane Watson's death, Venom recruits Mayor Waters to take over New York City while disguised as Edward Saks, Waters' assistant. However, when Spider-Man comes back from retirement thanks to J. Jonah Jameson, Venom prepares for a final showdown against the wall-crawler, whom he deems responsible for abandoning it.
Much like its mainstream counterpart, Venom was part of the Symbiotes, a parasitic species from the planet Klyntar. Venom was eventually brought to Earth from Klyntar thanks to Peter Parker and bonded with him as his new host. However, Parker got rid of Venom due its villainous influence, leading Venom to resent and blaming him for abandoning it. Eventually, Venom bonded with Eddie Brock, an employer of The Daily Bugle whom felt abused by J. Jonah Jameson, the newspaper's editor-in-chief. The two became enemies of Spider-Man, fighting against him for many years until Peter Parker retired following the death of Mary Jane Watson, his wife.
After Parker's retire, Venom somehow came up with the idea of taking over New York City. As it couldn't do it by itself, Venom recruited a man named Waters and had him elected as Mayor of New York in the next years while posing as his assistant Edward Saks, becoming more lonely and hungry and leading it to replicate its symbiote thousands of times for its future plans. Together, they created a new police force known as the Reign, composed of brutal yet efficient officers. Over all those years, however, Venom seemingly consumed Eddie Brock until Eddie's life was completely drained up and only Venom remained, yet Venom insisted that a part of Eddie still remained on it.
Thirty years after Spider-Man's retirement, in its disguise of Edward Saks, Venom accompanies Mayor Waters to his annual dinner with the Kingpin on the mayoralty after Waters announces the WEBB system, a type of laser-composed dome which will keep New York City safe from any potential terrorist attacks in the next one hundred years. After Waters finishes his dinner, he asks Saks when Kingpin ate his last solid meal, having kept alive him via an IV drip for his amusement, before leaving the weakened Wilson Fisk to be put away until next year.
However, when Spider-Man gets back to the streets to defend the senile J. Jonah Jameson from two brutal Reign officers, Waters asks Saks for any ideas on how to handle with the wall-crawler, to which Saks orders Waters to advance the WEBB's release to that night while he sends the former Sinister Six, now known as the Sinner Six, to take out Spidey. When Waters expresses his doubts about releasing the Sinner Six to fight against Spider-Man as the WEBB would then trap them with the supervillains, Saks reveals that he has implanted nano-bombs on them and that if they defeat Spider-Man, they will be able to leave the city for good before the WEBB is activated, but if they fail otherwise, they will be eliminated.
Said and done, the Sinner Six give a brutal beating to Spider-Man until the now deceased Doctor Octopus rescues Spidey and takes him to the cemetery to meet Mary Jane's corpse while Jameson and his children army are taken into custody. Afterwards, Venom accompanies Waters along with several Reign officers on his announcement of the WEBB's release, activating it and effectively sealing all the New Yorkers inside the city. However, once in Waters' office, Jameson stabs Waters in the neck albeit not fatally when Waters tries to slit his throat, having suspected someway that Venom is behind the WEBB. However, when Waters bleeds, Jameson realizes he was wrong and stabs Saks when he asks him if he's surprised, leading Venom to reveal itself as two Reign officers succor Waters.
Later on, Saks announces to the press that WEBB's activation and determines that no one will enter nor exit from the city from now on. Saks then visits a recovered Waters, whom Jameson is trying to talk him out from helping Venom. Surprised on how Jameson deduced its identity, Venom rants on Jameson for all the things he did to Brock in the past and proceeds to devour all those present in the room minus Jameson and Waters. Under Venom's orders, Waters activates the Phase 2 of the WEBB and it projects Venom's suit, launching Venom's replicated symbiote into the streets, where they start to take over New Yorkers as their new hosts to do Venom's bidding while the Sinner Six and the Reign officers are asked to guard the mayoralty.
As they witness the Symbiotes' attack below on the streets, Jameson still tries to talk Waters out of Venom's plan, but a doubtful Waters refuses in fear of what Venom will do with him if he doesn't cooperate. However, when Jameson's child army encourages other citizens and start using sound to combat Venom's symbiote, Venom orders Waters to send Sandman to stop the civilians' plan, but Sandman ultimately desists upon releasing that Susie Baker, a girl from Jameson's army, is her long-lost daughter, turning on against the Reign. Meanwhile, Venom orders Waters to tell Electro to electrify the building so Spider-Man can't enter, but Spider-Man manages to enter anyway and takes out the remaining five members of the Sinner Six one by one until he reaches Waters' office.
Now prepared for a final showdown, Venom sarcastically asks Peter if he's jealous as it and Waters did what he only was able to dream: protect New York City from itself. Venom then reproaches Parker for abandoning it to die and revealing its intentions to let the Symbiotes devour all citizens of New York, including Jameson and Waters. Finally realizing that Venom had tricked him all these time, Waters runs away from the room and leaves Venom to fight against Spider-Man when Spider-Man assures him that he will be blamed for Venom's actions. With Jameson out of their way, Venom insults Mary Jane before taking Spidey and trying to suffocate him, but an illusionary Mary Jane encourages him to give his best and defeat Venom. Luring Venom and the Symbiotes to the top of the mayoralty, Spider-Man fights them until he considers surrendering and let them kill him to join his wife in death, but a reformed Sandman appears and gives Spidey the detonator Waters used to control the Six before sacrificing himself to give Spidey more time. Coming in terms to Mary Jane's death and deciding to resume his crusade against crime for the rest of his days, Spider-Man activates the detonator and the mayoralty explodes, not only deactivating the WEBB in the process, but killing Venom and putting an end to his "Reign" once and for all.
This is, by far, one of the darkest incarnations of Venom, enjoying being evil and having no redeeming qualities. Indeed, alongside the incarnation of Spider-Man: Web of Shadows, the Venom incarnation of Spider-Man: Reign is considered one of the two incarnations of Venom to be truly evil.
This Venom's past history resembles that of the Venom from Spider-Man 3, the last installment of Sam Raimi's Spider-Man trilogy: bonding with Peter Parker until Parker leaves it due its bad influence and then bonding with Eddie Brock, who had worked for The Daily Bugle and had a resentment towards J. Jonah Jameson. Considering that Spider-Man 3 was released one month after the last issue of Spider-Man: Reign, it's possible that Kaare Andrews was asked by Marvel to make Venom the main antagonist of the miniseries to tie-in with Raimi's film, but this is unconfirmed.
Interestingly, Raimi's Venom is also one of the few incarnations of Venom that enjoys being evil, yet his actions aren't as heinous as this incarnation of Venom. Additionally, Venom's use in Raimi's film met a mixed reception from critics while Venom's use in Andrews' miniseries was well received by critics.
Ironically, Venom acts as a foil to Spider-Man: both of them were left alone and blamed someone for it (Peter Parker blamed himself and his responsibilities for making Mary Jane fell ill due his radioactive fluids and not spending together her final moments in spite that he had no way to know about it and that duty called him while Venom blamed Peter Parker for abandoning him to die in spite that it was his own fault due the bad influence he gave him). Thus, Venom serves as an example of what Spider-Man could have become if he hadn't realized his selfishness nor to move on from his wife's death.
Some comic book critics deem Venom as a victim while they deem Peter Parker as the true villain of the story. This is because Peter realizes over the course of the story how selfish he used to be (bringing Venom to Earth and then abandoning it, spending years lying to J. Jonah Jameson to make a living for his Spider-Man photos, never considering how his changed physiology could hurt Mary Jane, etc). However, while Venom does have a motive on being evil by feeling rejected for its abandonment, Venom fails to realize that Parker left it due its bad influence and goes away far from being excused by draining up Eddie Brock's life and trying to devour all New Yorkers to make them its slaves for the sake of power whereas Peter realizes his mistakes and redeems himself.