Spectacular Spider-Man #1-5 (2003): The Hunger

Paul Jenkins and Humberto Ramos helm the series that starts exactly when Peter Parker: Spider-Man ends, so really all this means is that it gets to be numbered issue #1.

It starts like a horror movie, with a woman getting attacked on the streets of New York in the middle of the night.  I’ll cut right to the chase: It’s Venom.  But he looks very different…

It’s because he doesn’t have a host to ride on right now. And it needs one. The symbiote tracks down its old host Eddie Brock….

But Eddie is very resistant to being host again, and has cancer to boot.  This forces Venom to continue to wander the streets, sucking out the adrenal glands of his victims, looking for a new, suitable host.

As we head to the story’s climax, Venom tells Spider-Man that it never wanted Brock anyway—Venom’s true love has always been Peter.

Brock, dying, realizes that his illness can trap Venom inside his body forever, and decides to commit a heroic act: Forcing Venom to bond with him.

And so this arc ends with Venom trapped inside a body that causes it constant pain and Eddie Brock prevented from dying but trapped, bonded with the Venom symbiote.

It’s a pretty harrowing ending for Brock (although we know it isn’t the end). 

Meanwhile, Flash Thompson is finally released from the hospital after being there for many months following catastrophic injuries caused by Green Goblin.  There’s lots of nice sequences with the supporting cast visiting him, helping him return home, etc.  He’s basically in stupor with severe brain damage, and Aunt May takes him in.

Good story.  I don’t love Ramos’ art style, but after a few issues it’s not distracting any more and I can appreciate some of its extremes.

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