"There can be only one": Al Ewing promises that Venom War will settle the rivalry between Eddie Brock and his son Dylan once and for all

Venom War #1
(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

After starting out as one of Spider-Man's most vicious foes, Venom has spent the last few decades building a reputation as Marvel's top anti-hero, a fan favorite protagonist capable of carrying a full Marvel Universe crossover on his shoulders. And along the way, Venom's original host Eddie Brock has gone on to share the symbiote with others - most recently his own son, Dylan Brock.

But with the upcoming Venom War event, nearly every symbiote in the Marvel Universe will rally around the two Venoms, taking sides in a battle that will end with one Venom standing, with the main Venom War event title's writer Al Ewing promising "there can be only one."

Newsarama caught up with Ewing ahead of Venom War #1's August 7 release date, digging into his take on why Venom is so popular, what it means to crown the one true Venom, and what fans can expect as the crossover kicks off.

We've also got an early look at some unlettered pages by artist Iban Coello and colorist Frank D'Armata along the way.

(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

Newsarama: Al, Venom seems to really captivate fans every time the symbiotes take the spotlight in the Marvel Universe. With Venom War on the horizon, what do you see as the qualities that have led Venom to become one of Marvel's most popular characters?

Al Ewing: It's very difficult to tell a boring Venom story. Even when our run's been at its timey-est and wimey-est, something about the symbiote demands a degree of all-out action, wildness, and weirdness. 

Venom and his hosts have a degree of inherent unpredictability - not to mention antisociability - that makes for all manner of thrill-power, and also a fair amount of gritty character drama as various humans have to work out their relationships with this alien goo-beast. (And the many other alien goo-beasts he brings along for the ride.)

(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

You've focused a lot on the cosmic horror side of the Venom mythos in your run. How does that side of things come into play in Venom War?

Most of the horror comes from the Zombiotes - mindless semi-symbiotes who act like an infection, spreading violence and mayhem through NYC. 

How do they impact the central conflict between Eddie and Dylan Brock? Whose deeper plans have they been unleashed to serve? As Venom War hots up, all these questions and more will be answered in full.

Venom War has been billed as the showdown to decide the "one true Venom." Does that mean that either Eddie or Dylan Brock will be out of the picture at the end of the story?

There can be only one. All the main Venom hosts are involved in this to one degree or other, but only one host will get to be the Venom of 2025. Who will it be? That's a mystery we'll keep to ourselves for a little while.

(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

Do you feel a push from fans or from the larger industry to try and focus on a single, definitive version of a character or concept, given how many heroes and even villains are sharing their mantles at this point? What do you see as the ups and downs of that approach?

We've been telling our intricate time-travel Tale of Two Venoms for a good three years at this point, and it was always going to end with the two ends of the story crashing into each other. 

In terms of sharing the mantle... it's been a long time since Venom was just Eddie Brock, and what makes this particular mantle unique is that gaining or losing the symbiote is never the beginning or end of someone's story - just a new chapter in it. So I think it's not so much about feeling a push for a definitive version as it is about knowing when to end one chapter and start the next.

(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

You're working with Iban Coello on the main Venom War title. He's proven his Venom chops over the years. What has he brought to the art so far that has surprised you?

Iban's always wonderful, and every time I get to work with him he brings something new to the table. 

What I've been surprised by this time round is the sheer energy and fluidity of motion he brings to the action - he was always great for that, but he's on another level right now.

(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

With Venom War encompassing its share of tie-ins, what are your big considerations as you're planning the event and figuring out where all the characters and subplots fit in?

Essentially, I provide a hub that everyone can revolve around. We're like a tree trunk that other stories can branch off - so I try to make sure there are no conflicts in the main book so everyone's as free as possible to tell wild stories shooting off from it... and sometimes looping back in for a big payoff.

It's no surprise that Eddie Brock tops our list of the best Venom hosts of all time.

George Marston

I've been Newsarama's resident Marvel Comics expert and general comic book historian since 2011. I've also been the on-site reporter at most major comic conventions such as Comic-Con International: San Diego, New York Comic Con, and C2E2. Outside of comic journalism, I am the artist of many weird pictures, and the guitarist of many heavy riffs. (They/Them)