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Hey everyone, Gary here adding to VenomFest 2010!  For those of you who know me in the online fandom or at the conventions KNOW that I have been a very VOCAL member of the community who has been calling for a Dr. Venom figure. Now, I admit, I have not been the lone voice  – there have been others.  Without their constant pestering of the club they may not have ever considered him; and to have him as the enemy antagonist against the Adventure Team is an awesome way to tie-in the two mythos.
What is the allure of Dr. Venom?  I don’t know, many things I guess.  I know I liked his character ever since I was a kid.  In the first 20 issues, Venom was by far the most evil of the henchmen.  I even remember in the letter’s section at the end of each issue, fans asking Hasbro for a figure way back then.  I was kind of surprised to discover that until the club’s official announcement, Venom appeared in the second most number of issues to NOT have a figure made after him.  A travesty!!  Seriously, characters that have appeared in less issues, or less cartoon eps get a figure (see Big Lob), but not Venom??  Let’s face it, his Marvel lifetime spans less than 10 issues, but what a 10 issue stretch it was!  Venom’s legacy lasted MUCH longer.  It was his Brainwave Scanner that provided the fictional element to shift a plot rather quickly.  Plug anyone into the scanner – make them good – make them bad – reprogram them – whatever!
How does one boil down Venom into the 10 “Best of” moments?  There were so many.  Here are my Top 10 Best of Venom moments:
10.) Dr. Venom’s Debut:  Woah!  Who is this crazy mad scientist dude??  You can’t have a top 10 list of his best moments without mentioning his debut.  Right off the bat you knew this guy was ruthless, cunning, and without scruples what-so-ever.  His debut pre-dates Destro, Bludd and Zartan and frankly his evil streak goes deeper than Cobra Commander.  While his debut lacked the tease of Destro, it was set up in a way that you hoped you saw more of him in the issues to come.  Ironically, his comic debut is also the debut of Billy – although not specifically named.
9.) Dr. Venom makes Snake Eyes his beeyotch:  Venom is the only guy in the comics other than Storm Shadow who took the fight to Snake Eyes.  Whether it was hooking him up to the Brainwave Scanner or pistol whipping him with a Luger, SE looked considerably more human versus the good doc.  Not bad for a middle aged mad scientist.  “Nobody dares to strike Dr. Venom!!”
8.) Dr. Venom – The Casanova:  What isn’t Venom an expert on?  Apparently he has thoughts on the matter of love.  Venom real quickly picked up on the fact that there was a bit more to the Destro-Baroness relationship than being evil colleagues.  Following the explosion of the Baroness’ HISS in Operation: Night Attack, a distraught Destro stood on the verge of a breakdown, all the while being chased down by Clutch, Scarlett and Hawk.  Never without a pithy thing to say, ol’ Venom graced us with this:  “Doesn’t he (Destro) realize that love is simply overestimating the difference between any one given woman and another?  Bah!  Gross sentimentality is such a waste.”  You’re all heart Doc!
7.) SNAKE Armor Inventor: Ah, probably something you didn’t know.  Yes, the good doc invented SNAKE Armor.  Servos help the person in the suit to move its legs and arms.  Servos in a suit…..where have I heard that concept before??  Similar to the Brainwave scanner, the suit taps into the “pilot’s” mind for control.  It was proven in issue #19 that a strong willed person can overcome the SNAKE mind control and assume operation of the armor.  Also, SNAKE Armor cannot shoot at anything in Cobra Blue.
6.) SE uses the Ninja Death Trick TWICE on Venom:  Ah yes, it was when SE was strapped into the Brainwave Scanner that he pulls out the famous Ninja Death Trick.  This trick allowed SE to slow down his breathing and heart rate to the point where he appeared deceased.   We witnessed the first time SE did this in issue #10.  SE dups the trick again in #12.  Venom places SE inside a their Sierra Gordo “legitimate business front” building and set it aflame.  While riding away on his escape boat, the vision of the burning building causes Venom to recall a dojo a scene collected during SE’s first encounter with the scanner.  Venom knows he’s been had, but still writes off SE as going to die in the burning building.  Later Venom realizes what we all know now – try as you might, you just can’t kill Snake Eyes.
5.) Team Venom escape the flooding bunker:  Good thing the Doc was a man of science and not brawn.  He realized that he had to flood the bunker in order for the pressures to match inside with what they were outside in order for the heavy door to open.  Heck, even The Mythbusters proved this.  The doc may not be Mr. Wizard-like friendly, but it was with his know-how that allowed he, Kwinn and SE to escape a watery grave.
4.) Cheesy Bond-like quips:  While not a poet on the level of Major Bludd (then again, Dr. Seuss is more of a poet than Bludd), what is a evil henchman without a vocabulary full of cheesy quips?  Check out a couple of these on for size.  I picked 5 for space, but if anyone is curious, I can post the rest in the comment section:

  • Venom maximum cheese: “So it was Cobra Commander who sold me out!  He must be having quite a big laugh on me right now as he attempts to use my toxin without my secret catalyst…  In fact, the laughter must be infectious.
  • Don’t cross Venom because:  “Dr. Venom never forgets!”
  • Venom while holding a syringe full of his toxin greeting Scar-Face at the Libyan airport:  “Welcome to Libya, Scar-Face, it’s time for your…inoculation
  • Venom’s last evil diatribe after shooting Kwinn in the back:  “So, what have you got to say now?  No more mumbo-jumbo aphorisms about weasel spirits?  No last lunge to try to strangle me with your last breath?”
  • Venom’s Last Words: (Grenade) “…Fallen from a dead-man’s hand…”  WHAMM!  The grenade goes off killing Venom.

3.) The escape from Sierra Gordo:  What do you do when you are part of an odd-trio of characters and you are trying to fly out of a banana republic before it melts down into a civil war?  Well, fly out of course!!  On top of being a top knotch evil scientist, Venom is apparently a multi-engine certified pilot.  What does the team spy sitting on the tarmac at Sierra Gordo International Airport…..a WWII era British Lancaster Bomber!  HOW CONVENIENT!  Not only was Venom able to pilot that bucket-o-bolts out of there, but he was able to do it while feather propping engine #2 to start, all the while getting shot at and dealing with a skeptical Kwinn as your default engineer.  Surely one of Dr. Venom’s more prouder moments.
2.) Father of the Brainwave Scanner:  In issue #10, he explains how it works on Snake Eyes: “…the electrodes attached to Snake Eyes head are recording his brain-wave reaction to the visual image on the TV monitor.  In this case, it is an apple…the computer will continue to flash thousands of images and record their corresponding brain-wave signature until it has amassed a personalized vocabulary of the subject thinking patterns reduced to digitized (images).  Very soon, our image vocabulary will be complete, then we can REVERSE the process!  The computer will be able to ‘read’ the subject’s thoughts, enhances them and projects them as a visual image on the TV monitor.”  Wow, what a mouthful Doc!  The Brainwave scanner was also instrumental to the creation of Serpentor.  Dr. Mindbender tweaked it to give the ability reprogram people.  The entire town of Millville became a victim of it.  The Scanner was also important to the later reprogramming of Storm Shadow, Billy, Destro, Zartan and the Baroness at the end of the Marvel run.  You would think this would be #1, but that goes to the last moment we see Venom…..
1.) Death of Venom: What a way to go Doc!  Blast Kwinn in the back only to have him turn around and toss a live grenade at your feet.  KA-BLAM-O!!!  At the end of it all, four lay dead and we have an end of an era!  What did we learn from this?  Bad karma comes to those who shoot others in the back.
So there ya have it!  Venom’s top 10 moments – as I see them.  In my opinion the 10 issue run from #10 to #19 were some of the best issues ever in the Joe Marvel Universe.  I had a GREAT time reliving these moments!  When you are done reading all of GeneralsJoes VenomFest articles, head on over to the club site and order yourself the Dr. Venom/AT Commander set.  I can’t wait to see Dr. Venom carded.  It is LONG overdue and it will be a beautiful sight to see!
When shall we start the campaign for Billy??  Anyone?  Anyone??