Watch as the acclaimed writer goes inside the tortured mind of Eddie Brock!

A primordial evil has been awakened beneath the streets of New York City, and with it, something equally evil has awakened in that most Wicked of Webslingers. On stands now, writer Donny Cates and artist Ryan Stegman‘s VENOM #1 has launched a groundbreaking new era for the symbiote.

Watch the exclusive interview above, as Cates teases this strange and exceptionally toxic chapter for Venom and Eddie Brock. “Something’s happening to the symbiote that terrifies him. It’s starting to speak in this other language that Eddie can’t understand and it’s driving him insane,” he explains. “The symbiote is starting to be very cruel and it’s starting to kind of operate without Eddie’s consent.”

Much like Eddie Brock, the writer himself has been empowered by the vicious might of the symbiote. “I’ve been let off the leash on this thing,” he says, “and I’m kind of going ballistic.”

Get VENOM #1, by Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman, at your local comic shop or online right now!

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Two new arachnid adventurers arrive!

Break out the yule log and the eggnog, and get cozy around the fire as D3 Go! Producer Joe Fletcher sends you visions of “Marvel Puzzle Quest” future. Learn all about the game’s newest competitors and the other goodies D3’s setting out for players.

Marvel.com: You guys have a bunch of stuff planned for the holidays right? And from what I understand Spidey fans are going to have tons to celebrate.

Joe Fletcher: We’ve got a Spider-Trio coming to the game with two new characters and a new Spider oriented storyline! So yes, definitely something to whet the appetites of the Spider-Man faithful, with the story entertaining everyone regardless of fandom.  Character-wise, Miles Morales is coming in as our next 4* character, bringing the Peter Parker approved wallcrawler to our neck of the woods.  We needed someone to face off against him though, so we also decided to bring a fan favorite into the game with the sometimes villainous, sometimes heroic Eddie Brock version of Venom in as another 4*.  Mac Gargan, this guy ain’t. Both characters will be featured in the next story chapter, aptly called “Venom Bomb.”

Marvel.com: Tell us a little about Miles and what makes him different from Spider-Man’s Original and Amazing versions? Where does he stand between Original’s more balanced play style and Amazing’s support abilities?

Joe Fletcher: He pretty well stands alone, actually, while pushing synergy with the other Spider-Man variants and with 1* Venom through his Web tile generation. He’s got a more offensive skillset than Peter, but also brings a lot to the table in support as well, making him unique in the spider family. Running as a Purple/Yellow/Red character, Miles brings a bit of stealth, a bit of brains, and a bit of old fashioned butt kicking in.

Purple is a multi-step ability like Iceman or Vision has, with “Hide & Seek.”  Here Miles uses his spider-granted camouflage abilities to place an Invisibility tile on the board and avoid damage.  The ability then becomes “Surprise!” where a second usage will remove the tile and deal some good damage. On top of this, use of “Hide & Seek” also generates Web tiles which power his Yellow ability and the other spider friends’ abilities.

Yellow is “Power & Responsibility,” something all the people that have taken on a Spider-mantle have had to struggle with. Miles here uses his powers to create webs and save bystanders from incoming attacks, generating web tiles on the board. Pretty basic AP for Web tiles ability there. But as well, this ability brings a Passive to the table in that it will generate AP for the team whenever Web tiles are matched. Higher levels increase the types of AP gained, so improving this ability and splashing around Web tiles can be a nice additional boost to your team’s abilities.

Red is another Morales specialty, “Venom Blast.”  Here, for a low 6 AP, he can stun an opponent at Level 1. On leveling this ability, it also starts piling damage on top of the stun, making it into a low cost crowd control ability that also packs a bit of a punch.

Marvel.com: And what about Mr. Brock? I’ve gotta admit, after playing with Venom’s 1-Star version I can’t wait to see what new tricks he can pull off.

Joe Fletcher: Much like how Miles is different than Peter Parker’s Spider-Man, this version of Venom is a totally different beast than Mac Gargan’s take. This version of Venom focuses on raw power and canny tricks as opposed to the gluttonous appetite that Gargan Venom brings in. As a Green/Black/Yellow character, players that normally use X-Force Wolverine for those color combos may find a new character to use.

Green brings out the symbiotic relationship aspect with “Symbiotic Fury.” Eddie and pal rage across the battlefield, destroying all their opponents’ carefully placed traps and support while raging on a targeted foe. In game terms, this means that they’ll deal damage to a target, but also destroy random tiles for each enemy special tile on the board. This can create some great board shake and additional cascades depending on how much the opponent likes spamming special tiles.

“Give and Take” is their second ability, and is a pure Passive with a new mechanic, somewhat similar to Falcon’s ability to increase tile strengths. Here, Brock manipulates the battlefield and negates their protection but leaves the symbiote open to attack, which decreases enemy Protect tile strength but increases enemy Attack tile damage. At higher levels, this can nearly totally negate any strategies the opponent may have towards keeping themselves protected through copious Protect tiles, like Purple matches from Spider-Man for example.

Lastly, the Yellow power is “Lethal Protector.” Here, Venom provides his twisted take on power and responsibility, using brute strength to save innocents while creating chaos in the process. What this does is deal damage to a targeted opponent, but also creates decently powerful enemy Protect tiles in the process as a result of his inelegant attack.  Of course, with a strong showing in “Give and Take,” that may not mean too much…

Marvel.com: Would a full team of Spidery-Men work here? Say Peter, Miles, and Eddie? What sort of synergies do you see coming out of these guys?

Joe Fletcher: Peter, Miles, Eddie, and [Carnage] are all usable at the same time, but you’ll have to choose between Eddie Brock Venom and Mac Gargan Venom. The symbiote can only be with one host at a time. The Mac Gargan version will benefit greatly from the web tiles that Miles can produce, making his Devour instant kill become a real threat. But being a 1* character, he’s going to be pretty squishy out there with the guys and gals in the big leagues. 

Meanwhile, Spider-Man can make use of Miles’ webs for additional healing or stun for Classic, or for stung and damage if you’re using Original Spider-Man. Eddie Brock meanwhile is a natural foil for Spider-Man, negating his Protect tiles while also being able to destroy swathes of the board with each one Peter places. He still works well with either Miles or Peter, having 2 color strengths they each don’t have, but synergistically they’re not a perfect match.

Marvel.com: And can you dig into the newest episode a little bit for us? What sort of story are we looking at here?

Joe Fletcher: Venom Bomb is our next episode and is a continuation of the story and provides the first real media “oops” that H.A.M.M.E.R. has provided for the embattled S.H.I.E.L.D. In this episode, Norman Osborn has Doctor Octopus and a team working on a symbiote sample in order to create a controllable symbiote that he can use as the base of an army. You know, as you do. 

Peter and Miles discover this plot and go to foil it. In the ensuing chaos, one of Osborn’s agents detonates the semi-weaponized symbiote sample, called the Venom Bomb in the middle of Times Square. The newly released sample multiplies, creating dozens, hundreds of rogue symbiotes out of the surrounding city-folk. H.A.M.M.E.R., that’s not going to look good on the nightly news!

Marvel Puzzle Quest

Marvel Puzzle Quest

Marvel.com: And there’s some Holiday PVP coming up? What kind of fun goodies can we expect?

Joe Fletcher: The upcoming holiday Versus event is called “Naughty or Nice,” and features some buffed paragons of virtue facing off against buffed champions of—mostly—evil. It’s sort like a hybrid of Earth’s Mightiest and the Nefarious Foes events.  This comes with a special comic pack for the holidays, which will have some great contents compared to the normal fare you see in most event packs. As well, we’ll be giving out a special little holiday treat to allow you to dig into the pack even if you’re not the Versus type, so everyone gets to share in the goodness.

Marvel.com: Anything else we need to know about “Puzzle Quest” over the holidays?

Joe Fletcher: Well, as with the last couple of holiday years, we’ll be running a double shot of the new episode, so players that miss out on the new story as a result of, you know, that family stuff, will get a chance to experience it. After the holidays, we’re planning on unveiling a new feature in the game that we’re excited to share. We’re still working out some of the final kinks now, so the wrapping paper won’t come off quite yet, but I’m definitely looking forward to using some of the heroes I hadn’t used in a while in new ways and team ups!

To get your daily dose of Marvel puzzle goodness download the game here and stay tuned to Marvel.com for more “Marvel Puzzle Quest” news and interviews!

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The artist brings Cletus Kasady and company to horrifying life!

The hunt begins for Cletus Kasady this week in CARNAGE. Written by Gerry Conway with art by Mike Perkins, the book focuses on an eclectic team trying to bring down the psychotic, symbiote-powered killer.

Consisting of a mix of familiar and new names, this group includes onetime Venom Eddie Brock—now bonded with the symbiote known as Toxin—John Jameson—who sometimes turns into Man-Wolf and Stargod—and less monstrous members Manuela Calderon and Claire Dixon who all want Kasady captured for their own reasons.

Perkins popped open his sketchbook to show off his initial designs based on Conway’s script and share how exactly TOMB OF DRACULA influenced CARNAGE.

Marvel.com: How has it been playing in the Spider-Man universe with a legend like Gerry Conway?

Mike Perkins: It’s great to be working within the Spider-Man universe as it’s something I’ve always wanted to do mostly because there’s such a diversity of genres to work with in that setting from the soap opera aspects of Spider-Man itself to the dark horror and suspense that we’re dealing with in CARNAGE. To do this and get the chance to collaborate with such a legend as Gerry Conway is a big thrill for me as I’ve grown up reading his works and the scripts that I’ve read on this so far are just astounding. He brings a depth of character to the thrills and suspense which populate the story.

Marvel.com: This comic has a kind of TOMB OF DRACULA vibe to it with a group of characters chasing down the title bad guy. Would you say you consciously altered your style a bit to hearken back to the monster comics of the 70’s?

Mike Perkins: I wouldn’t say my style is consciously changed. It’s more to do with the fact that the style of work on TOMB OF DRACULA is something that I’ve always aspired to. I love utilizing shadow and a lot of this story takes place underground and at night so I’m able to bring that specific element of my artwork to the full and really manipulate the shadow and textures that go into making our Carnage truly terrifying.

Marvel.com: From a visual standpoint, how did you set out to differentiate the two symbiotes in this book, Carnage and Toxin?

Mike Perkins: I would say that Carnage is more fluid, there’s a sense of liquidity to him. Toxin, because he is being manipulated by the FBI and the military in the story, reacts similarly to Venom at this moment whereby he has that sense of armor to the look and the structure of his being.

Marvel.com: John Jameson is also in this book. He has a few monster characters in his past. What are the odds of a Man-Wolf or Stargod appearance?

Mike Perkins: I couldn’t really go much into that without issuing spoiler warnings. All I can say is that the odds of this happening are really quite high and if this should happen then you would be able to consider me one very happy artist as the Man-Wolf is one of my favorite characters from a very early age.

Marvel.com: The book also stars two more human characters, Manuela Calderon and Claire Dixon; what was the process like coming up with their designs?

Mike Perkins: The descriptions of the characters were within the original outline of the CARNAGE series and, as such, were pretty much established by Gerry. Manuela in the original character sketch was carrying a baseball bat for no particular reason other than I thought it looked very, very cool and Gerry managed to put this into the script because he liked the idea so much. It just happens that the baseball bat becomes a piece of piping that she picks up when she’s originally attacked by Carnage.

Marvel.com: Did you work out a unifying theme for the Carnage-hunting squad’s clothing?

Mike Perkins: Not as such, simply because a lot of it does take place in shadow. With the military clothing anyway it’s very hard to differentiate between characters as there is an inherent uniformity to the clothing. I’m actually trying to get them out of the uniforms so that we have an individuality that shows through in the design of each character.

CARNAGE #1 tears through comic shops this week thanks to Gerry Conway and Mike Perkins!

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Watch Nomad try to survive a Hydra utopia in these preview pages from Roland Boschi!

Peace through strength! Honor through obedience! Continuance through conformity!

Rick Remender and Roland Boschi bring you the new Hydra – better, stronger, greater. Witness its untold glory this July in the pages of HAIL HYDRA #1!

It is a beautiful utopia Hydra has created on this new planet of Battleworld. But it is imperfect. Tarnished. One from outside the regime walks among us, sullying her beautiful landscape. He is Ian Rogers, son of Captain America, and the man called Nomad. Could his presence be enough to bring this perfect society to utter ruin? We serve none but the Master – and the world will soon serve us. But first – we must eradicate Ian Rogers!

Can one man survive the onslaught of an entire nation dominated by Hydra? Can he survive the rage of Eddie Brock and the rest of Hydra’s top assassins? He is a man without a world. No hope, no backup and no escape! Hydra will prevail. Hydra will preserve. Glory to the regime this July in HAIL HYDRA #1!

HAIL HYDRA #1 (MAY150699)
Written by RICK REMENDER
Art by ROLAND BOSCHI
Cover by ANDREW ROBINSON
Variant Cover by JUAN DOE (MAY150701)
Ant-Sized Variant by PASQUAL FERRY (MAY150701)
Design Variant by ROLAND BOSCHI (MAY150703)
MAOS Variant by JAKE WYATT (MAY150704)
Blank Variant Also Available (MAY150700)
On-Sale – 07/08/15

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Meet some of Anderson Cooper's newest contemporaries as he investigates Black Widow!

By Rick Laprade

With the world constantly at risk of being destroyed by one villain or another, the term “slow news day,” doesn’t exist in the Marvel Universe.

Anderson Cooper showing up in the pages of BLACK WIDOW may be pretty darned monumental, but the media’s involvement in the lives of Marvel heroes and villains didn’t just start. In a universe chock full of danger and extraordinary individuals, it’s only natural that the press would be there to fill in the huddled masses—and get themselves involved in the process.

Let’s examine a few notable newsies who have made a mark in the Marvel Universe.

The Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #10

The Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #10

  • Published: March 10, 1964
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: November 13, 2007
What is Marvel Unlimited?

Frederick Foswell (Big Man)
First Appearance: AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (1963) #10

We fully embrace the fact that sometimes reporters have to do a little undercover work in order to break a story. In Foswell’s case, his undercover work was being a reporter.

Assigned to cover Spider-Man’s antics at the “Daily Bugle”—because that’s kind of what you do when you work for J. Jonah Jameson—Foswell led a secret, more in-your-face life as criminal mastermind Big Man. His cover got blown after some sloppy mishaps and he’d be sent up the river for his schemes of trying to usurp Kingpin as crime boss numero uno.

Upon being released, Foswell somehow got his job back as a reporter. Seeing as how “reporting the news” went hand-in-hand with “leading a double life as a prime time criminal,” Foswell created the identity of Patch, an underworld informant, and kept the illegal party rolling.

Howard the Duck (1976) #15

Howard the Duck (1976) #15

  • Published: August 10, 1977
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: April 08, 2010
  • Penciler: Gene Colan
What is Marvel Unlimited?

Lester Verde (Dr. Bong)
First Appearance: HOWARD THE DUCK (1976) #15

The man formerly known as Lester Verde made his mark as a tabloid journalist extraordinaire. Bullied as a child and finding his voice through the written word, Verde swiftly went from sleazy reporter and rock music critic to genetic engineering mastermind—and eventual psychiatrist to Deadpool—Dr. Bong.

Bong proved a proverbial thorn in the side of Howard the Duck, the Secret Avengers, and She-Hulk, but information about his villainous, meteoric rise from journalist to castle owner and sonic weapons powerhouse remains mostly unknown.

Seriously, where did this guy get that castle?

Ethan Edwards

Ethan Edwards

Ethan Edwards (Virtue)
First Appearance: MARVEL KNIGHTS: SPIDER-MAN #13

Star reporter for the “Daily Bugle”—and an orphaned Skrull—Ethan Edwards does not fit the bill of “mild-mannered.” With amazing abilities that include shape shifting, super strength, and a keen eye for journalism, Edwards crafted the identity of Virtue to better mankind.

His secret wouldn’t remain very secretive for long, and it proved only a matter of time before the storyteller would become the hottest story in town. Edwards later took his talents abroad to heal the less fortunate. He’d return and join Wonder Man’s anti-Avengers task force, the Revengers, but his legacy as a crack pundit would always remain intact.

Eddie Brock

Eddie Brock

Eddie Brock (Venom/Toxin)
First Appearance: WEB OF SPIDER-MAN #18

A “Daily Globe” journalist with impeccable timing and tenacity to boot, Edward Brock quickly became a royal pain in Peter Parker’s life—in more ways than one.

Brock started on top and would bust open breaking news stories such as the human testing scandal at Devlin-MacGregor Pharmaceuticals. From there, he become entangled in the case of the Sin-Eater crimes and achieved near stardom for his expose. Unfortunately, the facts Brock uncovered turned out to be a bunch of malarkey and misinformation, and Spider-Man—a journalist in his own right—blew the whistle on it.

Crushed, disgraced, and brought to total ruin, Brock found a new goal in life: destroying the man who crippled his career. As Venom, and later Toxin, Brock entangled Parker in a twisted web of terror for years to come—pun firmly intended.

Amazing Fantasy (1962) #15

Amazing Fantasy (1962) #15

  • Published: August 10, 1962
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: November 13, 2007
What is Marvel Unlimited?

Peter Parker (Spider-Man)
First Appearance: AMAZING FANTASY (1962) #15

You can’t mention Marvel reporters without a nod to a certain webslinger.

If you’re a reporter who also happens to be a super hero, getting an exclusive shouldn’t be very difficult. Peter Parker, your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, made a career of covering, well, himself.  Parker’s gig as a photojournalist serves as the perfect foil to his secret identity as the wise cracking, butt-kicking Wallcrawler.

This clever conundrum cements him as the only guy qualified to get the best shots of Spider-Man in action and remain a paparazzi mainstay. How’s that for job security?

Will Anderson Cooper be the next media mainstay to turn hero—or villain? Find out in BLACK WIDOW #12

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Marvel: Avengers Alliance Producer Justin Woods speaks on his love for Symbiotes, the redemption of Sandman and much more!

In the world of “Marvel: Avengers Alliance,” the familiar heroes and villains of the Marvel Universe have been thrust into a variety of situations both familiar and brand new, or sometimes a blending of the two. Classic storylines like Avengers Vs. X-Men have been re-imagined and oft-forgotten characters like Omega Sentinel have received new twists during the monthly Special Operations—or “Spec Ops”—running parallel to the larger saga of the game.

This month in the latest Spec Op, once again “Marvel: Avengers Alliance” receives an infusion of new blood—this time of the symbiotic variety.

We spoke to “Marvel: Avengers Alliance” Producer Justin Woods about the new Spider-Man-centric mission, including how his own love of Symbiotes contributed to their inclusion, the redemptive qualities of Sandman, choosing a role for Eddie Brock, and much more.

Marvel.com: With the Spec Ops, sometimes they will tie in to theatrical releases or comics events, but sometimes, like with this one, they’re wholly original; how do the different types of storylines get generated?

Justin Woods: We have had a lot of Spec Ops that were just these ideas that were formulated around a group of characters we wanted to tell a story about, rather than the story itself. Sometimes it’s the other way around but this particular Spec Op fits into the category of, “Hey, we wanted to do something with Symbiotes because there’s tons of Symbiotes out there and it might be cool to just do them all at once instead of [trickling] them into the game.” I [have] wanted the Symbiote Spec Op in the game since almost maybe two years ago, and just never found the right place for it, the right time for it, because there were stories that we more urgently wanted to tell or there were characters that were already done. There was a space [this month] and we wanted to fill it with some of the stuff that the developers really wanted to do and in the case of a lot of these characters, they can come from any developer on the team. But this particular one happened to be my interest in that I am a big Spider-Man fan and I’m a big Symbiote fan because I grew up in that Todd McFarlane era of Spider-Man. The very first comic I ever purchased ever, with my own money was VENOM: LETHAL PROTECTOR #1, foil cover [and all].

Venom: Lethal Protector (1993) #1

Venom: Lethal Protector (1993) #1

What is Marvel Unlimited?

Obviously Venom’s already in the game and Agent Venom got into the game. So we had a couple of Symbiotes already there and we’re like, “Well, there are some big Symbiote names out there, how can we most interestingly fit as many into the game as possible?” And one of the things we did was we decided to kill off the Life Foundation Symbiotes so that we could introduce Hybrid into the game because we thought he was a really good group boss candidate and since the [Circle of Eight] is going around killing people off anyway [in the game’s main story], it’s like, wow, this is just in our laps. It works. It’s already there and so they were on our kill list and the Symbiotes lived on to make Hybrid.

Then Carnage is obviously the biggest name in Symbiotes after Venom. So Carnage had to get in there and hey, if we’re telling a Life Foundation story, how do we do that without Scream, the person who kills off the others? Then there are two heroic Symbiotes to choose from: We can either do Toxin or we can do Anti-Venom. And the thought was, let’s do Anti-Venom because Toxin is currently Eddie Brock [in the comics]; let’s make [Eddie Brock Anti-Venom] because we can have multiple other people be Toxin if we ever want to introduce him into the game.

Marvel.com: So the other Symbiotes were killed off, “off-screen,” during a chapter? They were Circle of Eight victims?

Justin Woods: Chapter Five. Chapter Five they were killed off, in-dialog: “Oh, we found Phage and Riot and whatever, they all got killed, Agony and Lasher.”

Marvel.com: That’s right, I was trying to keep track of those villains that you killed but I didn’t realize it was all of those Symbiotes. That’s cool, that’s a nice little Easter egg.

Justin Woods: We kill eight per chapter, and they were four of the eight that we killed in Chapter Five. It’s cool because it lines up so perfectly with Hybrid’s origin story.

What’s also neat about the game in general is that you have the regular story arc, the chapters and the seasons, and then you have these Spec Ops, and if you really look and search, Spec Ops aren’t just side missions off on their own, they’re obviously attached to the regular storyline in some way, shape, or form. Sometimes it take a little bit more looking at it and digging to realize what the connections are, sometimes they’re very obvious, but they are connected to the overall story.

Anti-Venom in Marvel: Avengers Alliance

Anti-Venom in Marvel: Avengers Alliance

Marvel.com: I want to run through the characters a bit. Let’s start with Anti-Venom because he’s kind of the centerpiece of the whole thing. You both fight against him and get to team up with him and he’s the guy you’re working towards. You explained why Eddie Brock is Anti-Venom, as a character in the game; why is he valuable, why is he going to be interesting, both in the terms of the story dynamics but also in terms of the gameplay?

Justin Woods: Well, let’s talk about his story first because I think it’s going to lend to the gameplay a lot. Eddie Brock is a really conflicted character. He’s been all over the place, psychologically speaking; he’s been in control, he’s been out of control. He’s had a lot of trouble in his life and he’s a very interesting person because he, at his core, I believe he wants to do good and wants to be a good person, but he has no idea how to do that and he’s aggressive in nature and generally believes he is right about things. I think that that was evident when he was Venom but it was really, really, pushed when he was Anti-Venom. I think Anti-Venom took him to an extreme at the root of his character.

Shortly after he lost the Anti-Venom Symbiote, he went on a rampage trying to kill Symbiotes with a sniper rifle completely depowered. He goes and he kills Hybrid and he kills Scream in the comics. So we kind of merged that idea because that fit his character so well with him being Anti-Venom and Anti-Venom’s whole shtick is, “I wanna cure the world of these diseases, I want to rid the world of these diseases that are Symbiotes, that are people with super powers.” That puts him at odds with the Alliance, the player, because there is a Symbiote in their ranks: Flash Thompson. But the Symbiotes are running wild, our goals are aligned. That’s why Anti-Venom joins the Alliance ultimately.

His move set is based on healing, curing, and depowering people so I think the most iconic thing that you’re going to see is that he has an AOE [Area of Effect] debuff that can depower people. That’s sort of the flavor or the lore behind it. He’s depowering everyone around him by sort of sucking the disease out of them, as he sees it.

Sandman in Marvel: Avengers Alliance

Sandman in Marvel: Avengers Alliance

Marvel.com: As for the other character you can get, the lockbox character, we’ve got Sandman.

Justin Woods: Yeah. Making him a lockbox character was inspired by the film [“Spider-Man 3”] and how he’s always trying to help his daughter and he was a bad version of Robin Hood. “I’m going to rob from the rich to try and help my daughter.” And he just kind of fell way, way, down the rabbit hole on that and so we wanted him to go on a path of redemption, and what better way than to do that than in a Spec Op where Spider-Man is very involved. That’s what’s so beautiful [about] Spider-Man. Spider-Man’s so human and Spider-Man is the guy that can see the good in everybody. And so, he needs Spider-Man to vouch for him to be able to join the Alliance and Spider-Man is willing to do that. With a little bit of trepidation, he is kind of like, “You know what, I know why you did the bad things that you did and I have a hard time forgiving you for that stuff but if you’re going to join us, I truly believe that you want to go on the straight and narrow.”

I think that at the root of this whole Spec Op, there’s this really good Spider-Man story in there. You may or may not see it if you’re paying attention to all the Symbiote stuff going on.

Carnage in Marvel: Avengers Alliance

Carnage in Marvel: Avengers Alliance

Marvel.com: Okay, let’s talk about Carnage. How do you make a character like Carnage work in a game like Avengers Alliance on multiple levels, because number one: He’s a mass murderer. He’s a serial killer. And number two: he’s definitely a product of a specific era in comics, so how do you make him work in a game in 2014?

Justin Woods: That’s tough. He was killed in the beginning of [Brian] Bendis’ NEW AVENGERS run. Ripped in two and then was gone forever, it seemed. And then CARNAGE, U.S.A. happened, and then you got the Minimum Carnage storyline, then SUPERIOR CARNAGE, and now DEADPOOL VS. CARNAGE and he’s going to be in the upcoming Axis storyline. Carnage is getting a lot of play right now, and that was part of [it]: “Hey, let’s do Carnage, he’s important right now.” I think that inherently, because we’re telling our own story and we’re telling a different story, that he feels different. He doesn’t talk as much or monologue as much as he did in the comics. He’s more short and sweet, “Let’s get to the bottom of this, I just want to kill stuff.”

He’s, at his core, being true to the character, a murderous guy who’s going around killing stuff. That’s the part of him that we captured but we wanted to tie him into the entire story that we’re telling about Spider-Man, Eddie Brock, and the [Life Foundation]. He definitely has his moment with Eddie, especially since Carnage is a spawn of Venom. I think 2014, as an era of comics, is all about really strong character development. So I think that that’s what you see [“Marvel: Avengers Alliance” writer] Alex [Irvine] doing a lot with story is just giving these guys their moment in the limelight to become more interesting. And if they’re not doing that now, it’s because we planned to introduce them into the game now, and then we’re going to tell more story with them later on.

Hybrid in Marvel: Avengers Alliance

Hybrid in Marvel: Avengers Alliance

Marvel.com: Hybrid is an interesting choice as the group boss and also one of the bigger bosses just because he’s not a well-known character. He showed up in the 90’s and has really only made a couple of appearances. But, as you were saying, in terms of power set, perfect to be a group boss because he can shift abilities.

Justin Woods: Hybrid is one of those choices where we’re going through all our comic book history of characters and we’re like, “Hey, let’s do a little bit more research on this guy and figure out if they’re cool.” In the case of Hybrid, as the local Symbiote fan, I was already intimately familiar with the idea that the Life Foundation created all of these Symbiotes and four of them “Voltron-ed” up into a bigger Symbiote—and that’s all you need to know that Hybrid is a guy that has to be in our game, right? There are four Symbiotes and they merge together to make a Super-Symbiote. So sweet! You combine that with the fact that, hey, other than getting killed in two panels of VENOM, he hasn’t really been in the comics in a long time and so it gave us the opportunity to have [“Marvel: Avengers Alliance” graphic artist] Sam Wood draw a character in a more modern art style. Hybrid’s really powerful but a lot of fans are like, “Hey, he’s a hero in the comics! He’s a vigilante in the comics!” While that’s true, number one: We haven’t actually revealed who is host is and number two: We haven’t really revealed what his motivation is either.

Scream in Marvel: Avengers Alliance

Scream in Marvel: Avengers Alliance

Marvel.com: Finally, rounding out, we’ve got Scream, who was the first female Symbiote. So to me, that’s a gimme. You had to have her in the game, right?

Justin Woods: Yeah. And I think if you’re telling the story of Hybrid, she has to be a part of that conversation because that was a group of five Symbiotes and she rounds it out. I feel like her and Hybrid came as a package together but she’s also so cool. Her design is so cool. In fact, this may be sacrilege, but she probably has the coolest Symbiote costume ever because of how multi-colored it is.

Is she black or red? I don’t know. She’s yellow and then her other color is a black-red. How do you even do that? It’s so weird. It’s black but when light shines on it, it’s red. Her costume is so complex and strange that I think she just looks so cool. If I could be a Symbiote or have a Symbiote, I would love to have that one because it just looks so badass.

Marvel.com: How did you guys come up with the new weapons and tech for this Spec Op?

Justin Woods: First thing that came up in that conversation was, “What is the weakness of Symbiotes?” Because not every character has an inherent weakness, but the Symbiotes are one group of individuals that we know are weak to sound and are weak to fire. And that is something that we wanted to make the core of what weapons we did. And again, to not necessarily spoil everything that’s out there, there are weapons that are based on the concept of Symbiote weaknesses; there are weapons that are based on Spider-Man because he’s never really had a Spec Op. He’s never really had a time to shine in our game. He’s been involved in the game throughout but this is kind of his moment to jump in and say, “Hey, this is a Spidey story! These are my villains, I know these guys! I’ve done this before!” So we had to get some Spider-Man themed gear in there as well. I think that’s it. Symbiote weaknesses and Spider-Man, that’s kind of the thoughts behind where that stuff started.

Marvel.com: Is there anything else you want to talk about before we close the door on this Spec Op?

Justin Woods: Just [that] players should expect that we would do things like this more in the future, which is to say, stories with some characters that may be more obscure that they haven’t heard of before, but to give it a chance because these characters are awesome. We want to tell stories that help players understand who they are and what they’re about. We hope that they are really excited to see some of the other crazy things that we have in store over the next however many months.

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