The following contains spoilers for Thor #28, on sale now from Marvel Comics.
Marvel’s popular anti-hero Venom has been a hit since his debut in the late 1980s. Born from Spider-Man’s rejected life suit the wall-crawler obtained during the first secret wars (and clearly portrayed as a villain), many writers have redirected Venom towards heroism in recent years. Although the symbiote is most often associated with its most common human host, Eddie Brock, the alien life form is most interesting when it possesses the existing superheroes of the Marvel Universe, including the Mighty Thor.
In Thor #28 (by Al Ewing, Donny Cates, Salvador Larroca, Edgar Delgado, and VC’s Joe Sabino) the God of Thunder and Venom battle a newly spawned alien symbiote, Bedlam’s Son, who controls a mindless Darkoth. To effectively fight this childlike force of destruction, Thor allows the Venom symbiote to bond with him. However, this isn’t the first time Thor and the Venom symbiote have merged in a Marvel comic. In fact, 1989 And yes…? #4 (by Danny Fingeroth and Mark Bagley) featured a strikingly similar pairing that shares parallels with current events.
How Thor and Venom merged in What If…
And yes…?, always a great platform for writers and artists to play with drastically altered continuity, featured the story “What If the Alien Costume Had Possessed Spider-Man?”. In the story, Peter Parker waits too long to try to separate himself from the living black suit and Reed Richards is unable to break the bond between the two. The suit slowly drains energy from Parker, then seeks out other powerful victims to expand his power, possessing the Hulk before turning his attention to Thor. The God of Thunder is initially overwhelmed and succumbs to the disguise, but Richards develops a sonic weapon powerful enough to split the two.
During this bond, the symbiote was exclusively thirsty for power and energy and its takeover of Thor was a means to that end. This strongly implies that the alien’s original plan was to absorb Earth’s heroes until he became unstoppable, had he not permanently bonded with Eddie Brock and become the Venom persona.
The Last Thor/Venom Fusion Was Different But Still Similar
The most recent ‘Thornom’ bond was a mutually agreeable team-up, with Thor, Venom, and Brock keeping their specific identities and working together in their battle against Bedlam’s Son. Odinson’s incredible strength and lightning control, enhanced by Venom’s alien strength and power, proved to be an unstoppable force against his new antagonist, though the symbiote still proved to have ulterior motives.
Although recent history finally reveals that there is more to the temporal bond than meets the eye, it is still a reflection of the classic problem. In both cases, the alien force is in a desperate search for greater power (albeit for different reasons) and finds it in the form of the God of Thunder, creating an even more powerful new force of nature in the process.