This Week, In Killing Comic Book Characters That I Really Like
Hey gang, remember that post I wrote a few weeks ago about two of my favorite symbiotes: Hybrid and Scream? And remember how I was basically writing that neither one has appeared in comic books in several years? Well good news, both Hybrid and Scream the female symbiote appeared in this week’s Venom #15!
And then they were both promptly killed!
Dammit comic books, why can’t I have nice things!
The current Venom series is written by Rick Remender, who you may remember from that time he killed another favorite character of mine, the Iredeemable Ant-Man. The series stars Flash Thompson, the bully that picked on Peter Parker in high school, as a military veteran who has bonded with the Venom symbiote. But unlike previous Venoms, who were all homicidal super-villains, the military has some control over the symbiote, and Flash uses it as a secret agent/superhero. Often with disastrous results.
Sadly, I can’t get mad at Remender for killing Hybrid and Scream in the latest issue of his comic. I can hate that he did it, and I can be sad at losing some favorite characters of mine, but what he did is a a timeless storytelling tradition.
Hybrid and Scream were used as jobbers, in the wrasslin’ lexicon.
First of all, you’re going to have to accept that professional wrestling is fake. Still with me? And since that’s the case, certain wrestlers are scripted to lose matches. Sometimes the match is a big brawl between two A-list stars, and the loser just moves on to the next part of the storyline. And sometimes some D-list chump has to just lose to make someone else look good. Those are jobbers. It stands for the fact that they’re not really in a wrestling match, they’re just doing their job.
That’s Hybrid and Scream.
As I said in my last post about the two of them, neither Hybrid or Scream has appeared in a comic for several years. That is, if we don’t count Hybrid’s recent (and still ongoing) appearance in Carnage U.S.A. Remender doesn’t seem to acknowledge that cameo at all, so we won’t either. But the point is that both Hybrid and Scream were in Comic Book Limbo. Not all superheroes are A-listers like the Batmen and Spider-Men of the world. Some, like Hybrid and Scream, are D and Z-listers, who don’t appear that often in the comics, or much at all. We know the characters still technically exist, and are therefore doing something somewhere in the superhero universe, but since they’re not appearing in any actual comics they are said to be in Limbo.
And in Comic Book Limbo, anything can happen!
Maybe a writer comes up with a brilliant idea for a certain minor character, and they get totally reinvented in awesome ways. Or maybe the character gets scooped up and placed on a random super-team, either as a hero or villain. Or maybe a writer will need a jobber. And in the world of comic books, a jobber is someone who is sacrificed to make a new super-villain or a new threat seem even more dangerous.
In this case, it’s Eddie Brock, the original Venom. The new story in the Venom series is that Eddie is hunting and killing symbiotes, and will eventually come after Flash Thompson/Venom. So in order to make Eddie Brock seem really dangerous, Remender needs to have a few symbiotes around for him to kill – and Hybrid and Scream weren’t doing anything.
First we see Hybrid swinging through his neighborhood, where he has been cleaning up the streets.
Scott Washington is still Hybrid in this issue, so Remender definitely is not incorporating Carnage U.S.A. Brock has weapons, and he wraps a bolo around Hybrid and brings him to the ground. Hybrid pleads for his life. But Brock blasts him with some kind of symbiote-killing gun, and Hybrid appears to be no more.
Later in the issue (as these scenes are just subplots in the normal Flash Thompson story), Scream is swinging through the city in broad daylight.
Brock lures her into the sewers, figuring that she would be tracking Hybrid’s killer (for some reason). Then he ambushed her with a few more weapons and finally played like he was Norman Bates in the shower with Marion Crane.
So boom, they’re dead. La-di-da. I liked Hybrid and Scream, and it sucks to see them killed off. But like I said, I can’t blame Remender for using one of the oldest tricks in the book. He needed symbiotes to kill to make Eddie Brock seem more badass, and there were two just sitting around doing jack squat of nothing. It happens. That is the danger of Comic Book Limbo. That’s also the boon. When they die, they return to Limbo. And someday, maybe some other writer comes up with a way to bring them back to life and use them again. You never know!
For example, Remender may have killed Ant-Man in Secret Avengers #23…but check out the last page of Secret Avengers #24!
Though I think he’s some kind of robot…