How I Would Write the Scream Comic
Scream is my favorite of the Marvel symbiotes. By the time I started reading Spider-Man comics in the mid-90s, Venom and Carnage were already established. They were cool, but I had missed Maximum Carnage. The Clone Saga was my jam instead, and during that series, a new, female symbiote showed up with an awesome yellow, red and black color scheme and a head of magnificent symbiote hair.
Here was a symbiote I could get behind! And considering she appeared so rarely in comics, it became a bit of a game to track her random appearances across random comics as Marvel kept her alive and in the background. Did you know Scream once teamed up with Venom and Wolverine to fight an evil alien called “Dirtnap”? Good times.
Marvel recently brought Scream back from the dead as part of the Absolute Carnage story. She got her own tie-in mini-series, and is currently starring in her very own ongoing comic: Scream: Curse of Carnage. Being one of the only people on the planet who would say that Scream is their favorite of the symbiotes, I was really excited about this comic…but it hasn’t been very good. The main character doesn’t have focus, the storyline is annoyingly weird and the art is subpar. It mostly feels like Marvel is just banking on the “Carnage” name while they wait for the next big Venom story, where Scream will theoretically play a part.
Me being a creative guy, and this being my blog, and me not having any editorial oversight, I randomly started daydreaming how I would write a Scream comic in the wake of Absolute Carnage. The symbiote is back from the dead, she’s got a new host in Andi Benton and symbiotes are a big deal these days. How would I turn that into a fan-pleasing comic?
Join me after the jump to find out! Be warned, I think this got kind of long in my rambling/brainstorming. Just putting this out there!
First, we need to keep in mind that editorial head-honchos at Marvel probably have a lot of say about what’s happening in the current Scream: Curse of Carnage comic. I assume all symbiote characters are on a pretty tight leash while they build up to the arrival of Knull, the god of symbiotes. That is probably holding the current Scream comic back creatively, which is a shame.
But I have no such oversight, so honestly, I’m just going to get all crazy with symbiotes up in here!
To start, I’m going to use some of the framework of the Curse of Carnage series, because I think it can be put to good use. The comic is about Andi Benton living in a homeless shelter, and I think that’s a good place for Scream. She’s not some big-time superhero, and instead could be the sort of grounded hero who sticks up for homeless people in New York City. Really get into the nooks, crannies and gutters of the Big Apple.
Then I would change the name of the comic. “Curse of Carnage” doesn’t really mean anything. Scream hasn’t been cursed by Carnage. Why not get more specific? Go ahead and call it “Scream: Sister of Carnage”. That’s what she is. They are both offspring of Venom. Now the series has a better connection to the villain, while still banking on his name.
Bring back Donna Diego
The main thrust of the opening storyline would then be to resurrect Scream’s original host, Donna Diego.
Back in the day, Donna Diego worked security for the Life Foundation, the bad guys who extracted five symbiotes from Venom during the big Separation Anxiety storyline: Scream, Phage, Lasher, Agony and Riot. In the original story, it was revealed that Donna had schizophrenia, and she murdered her fellow symbiote hosts. She continued to struggle with her condition in her various minor appearances over the years, until Eddie Brock killed her and the Scream symbiote off-handedly in a story a couple years ago.
In the Absolute Carnage story last year, Carnage resurrected the Scream symbiote, which discarded Donna’s corpse and instead ended up with Andi Benton, another minor character from Venom comics over the past few years. And while I’m sure Andi Benton has her fans and is interesting in her own right, symbiotes are always more fun when they are with their original hosts. Venom and Carnage have both bonded with a lot of different characters over the years, but Marvel always circles back to Eddie Brock and Cletus Kasady.
So I just think it would be more fun if Scream was about Donna.
The first issue of my series would feature Andi Benton clashing with the Scream symbiote. They don’t gel, they don’t work together well, and Andi becomes desperate to get rid of it. So Andi and Scream concoct a plan to resurrect Donna.
One interesting thing about Andi is that she has something called a Hell-Mark. When Andi first teamed up with Venom, it was the Flash Thompson version of the character, who had recently gone on an adventure into Hell, where he received the Hell-Mark. This is a sigil that gives the wielder certain Hell-based powers. Flash and Venom passed this mark onto Andi during their story together, and she’s had it ever since.
So let’s say that the Hell-Mark grants a person access to Hell. I don’t know if that’s a real power it has, but for the sake of my story, it does now. It’s not like Hell-Marks have a rule book, right? By the end of the first issue of Sister of Carnage, Andi has set up a summoning circle and she uses the Hell-Mark to open a portal to Hell, where she reaches in and pulls out Donna Diego — who definitely went to Hell when she died.
But there are a couple of individuals who are not happy with Donna’s resurrection: the other four Life Foundation symbiotes! They will appear as the last page stinger, having arrived shortly after Andi pulls Donna from Hell.
Riot, Phage, Agony and Lasher as antagonists
After Donna Diego killed their original hosts, the other four Life Foundation symbiotes bonded together to create Hybrid, a combined symbiote. He was also a minor character in the 1990s Venom comics, and another symbiote I rather enjoyed in the comics. But Hybrid never accomplished much of anything, and Eddie Brock killed him, too, alongside Scream.
The Life Foundation symbiotes were then separated again and turned into accessories for a squad of soldiers called Mercury Team, with the soldiers using their powers to hunt Carnage. But Carnage won and the symbiotes ended up escaping on the Mercury Team dog. They had a run-in with Deadpool recently before they were also brought back to prominence in Absolute Carnage. This time, the four of them bonded with a family from the suburbs before joining Carnage in New York City.
In Sister of Carnage, the four symbiotes would still be with the family, and they would arrive to stop Andi from resurrecting Donna. They are still pissed that Donna killed their original hosts, so they definitely don’t want her back among the living. And can you blame them? Donna Diego is not really a nice person. So while the Life Foundation symbiotes would oppose the actions of our comic’s protagonists, they wouldn’t exactly be bad guys. I think that would make for an interesting conflict.
So we’ve got Andi and the Scream symbiote, a newly resurrected Donna Diego and then Agony, Phage, Riot and Lasher against them. I think that would make for a really cool opening scuffle for the comic, and one that fans could really get behind. I would have no problem doing some fan-servicey stuff in Sister of Carnage, because symbiote fans would be the only people really buying this comic in the first place. I would happily turn this into a Life Founation reunion!
Scream is homeless and schizophrenic
Obviously the Life Foundation symbiotes don’t succeed in re-killing Donna or Andi or Scream. The quartet flees at the end of the scuffle (they’ll be back) and Andi and Donna have a moment to talk. Andi hands over the Scream symbiote and by the second issue, Donna and Scream are reunited and we have our series protagonist.
From there, we tell some fun stories about a smalltime symbiote trying to make it in the big city. I like the idea of her living in a homeless shelter. We could continue to use Aunt May that way. And, like I said, it’s a unique aspect to explore in a comic. Most superheroes are rich, or at the very least, go around protecting and saving everybody equally. But Scream could dedicate herself to protecting the homeless of New York City. We could really explore that world.
Which would also lead to some D-Man guest appearances!
Demolition Man (or “D-Man” for short) is a long-time Captain America ally who is typically seen as a bottom-rung superhero. He’s a lower tier guy who has sometimes filled the role of protector of the homeless, along with his own mental health issues. I think he’d be a great supporting player for Scream: Sister of Carnage. Scream could use some friends outside of the Venom circle of comic book characters.
I also think it would be fun to explore the idea of living with schizophrenia. People do it all the time, and not all of them are deemed unfit for society. Sister of Carnage could tell a story about a person living with this severe mental illness, while possibly not doing the best of jobs treating it. The symbiote could obviously help Donna with her mental illnesses, giving more meaning to their bonding.
A new Hybrid
One last little note: I would definitely bring back Hybrid. The individual Life Foundation symbiotes are nice and all, but it would be a lot easier to keep track if there was just one of them. And in order to take on Scream, I could see them re-uniting into a new Hybrid! Then, in my mind, they would bond with a senior at the homeless shelter. Maybe some crusty old homeless guy who knows every inch of the city. He could also become a protector of the innocents, and eventually make peace with Scream. But this is all mostly me-based fan service.
So that’s my idea for Scream: Sister of Carnage! Bring back her original host and keep it focused around a confrontation with the other Life Foundation symbiotes. I think that’s what fans what. It’s definitely what I want.
If Marvel wants to hire me for the second major storyline of Scream: Curse of Carnage, I am 100% available. Have your people call my people.
Posted on February 20, 2020, in Comics, Marvel and tagged Absolute Carnage, Agony, Carnage, Donna Diego, Hybrid, Lasher, Life Foundation, Phage, Riot, Scream, Scream: Curse of Carnage, Venom. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.