Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

A Fantastic Four Hero Is Becoming Marvel's Next Venom

Contains spoilers for "What If ... ? Dark: Venom" #1

Ben Grimm is about to become Marvel's newest Venom host, as the Fantastic Four hero will bond with the symbiote in a brand new "What If ... ?" one-shot.

Marvel Comics is bringing back its "What If ... ?" imprint, which tells major storylines in the Marvel Universe if they had unfolded differently. The new "What If ... ?" line is set to feature new dark spins on classic comic stories, including a tale imagining Spider-Man dying instead of Gwen Stacy from Gerry Conway, Jody Houser, and Ramon Bachs, as well as "What If ... ? Dark: Loki" #1 by Walter Simonson and Scott Eaton, which will imagine Loki wielding Mjolnir and ruling Asgard instead of Thor. 

Additionally, Marvel has revealed a new "What If ... ? Dark: Moon Knight" #1 from Erica Schultz and Edgar Salazar imagining what would happen if Marc Spector died and a new god chose someone else to become their avatar, turning them into a new hero called Luminary. The one-shot will focus on Luminary's mission to track down Moon Knight's murderer.

One of the most exciting announcements is "What If ... ? Dark: Venom" #1, which will show an even darker side to Ben Grimm following the events of the iconic crossover, "Secret Wars."  

Ben Grimm is transforming into Marvel's new Venom

"What If ... ? Dark: Venom" #1 by Stephanie Phillips and Jethro Morales asks what would happen if Ben Grimm was the first hero to receive the symbiote on Earth. In the original "Secret Wars" event from Marvel Comics, Spider-Man brought back the Venom symbiote after the greatest heroes and villains were taken to Battleworld under the direction of The Beyonder. However, after failing to permanently bond to Peter Parker, the shapeshifting alien found a host in Eddie Brock, who would use the symbiote to become Venom. Over time, Venom went from a villain of Spider-Man to an antihero. But, even in his most heroic form, the alien symbiote gave him a terrifying appearance and powers.

The new one-shot tells the story of Ben Grimm returning to Earth following his time during "Secret Wars." But after The Thing's fellow Fantastic Four team member Reed Richards traps a symbiote and brings it back to their home planet, it somehow escapes and bonds with the rock-skinned hero. "What If ... ? Dark: Venom" #1 will explore Grimm's struggles with the Venom symbiote and his own fight to learn whether it's truly a friend or a foe.

Getting the symbiote will likely be another harrowing ordeal for The Thing. Ben Grimm has already undergone a drastic transformation that's turned him into a monster-like creature, as he's long struggled with coming to grips with the new appearance he received following the Fantastic Four's life-changing mission that granted them powers. As a full-blown symbiote monster, Grimm will have to deal with another monstrous appearance — but that's on top of his already changed look. 

Ben Grimm has been transformed into Venom before

In "Spectacular Spider-Man" #304 by Chip Zdarsky, Adam Kubert, Jason Keith, and Travis Lanham, readers were already introduced to a version of Ben Grimm who became Marvel's Venom.

After Earth-616 Spider-Man found himself in an alternate universe where Peter Parker quit being Spider-Man, Gwen Stacy was still alive, and Harry Osborn became President of the United States. At the same time, Norman Osborn ruled in the darkness. As Spider-Man investigates Oscorp, he is attacked by The Thing, who has taken on the Venom symbiote and become a super-strong version of Venom. Grimm reveals himself as the "head guard" and admits he doesn't get to do as much "clobberin'" as he hoped in the new role. 

Spider-Man is shocked to see the giant-sized symbiote, who keeps his rock-like features but is equipped with armor, pouches, and an even more extended version of Venom's tongue. Thankfully, Grimm doesn't stop Spider-Man, as several resistance heroes, including Captain America, manage to distract Osborn's symbiote muscle long enough for the web-slinger to get by and continue looking for a solution to stop his reign.

While Grimm's original symbiote only made one appearance in the story arc, it showed the potential of what a Grimmbiote Venom would look and fight like. It turned out to be a terrifying mix of the usual hero and deadly Klyntar.

Grimm is the latest hero to become Venom

At this point, it's almost more surprising when a character doesn't eventually become Venom in the Marvel Universe. While Peter Parker and Eddie Brock are the most recognizable characters to sport the symbiote in the comics, many heroes and villains have become Venom throughout the Multiverse. From Flash Thompson becoming Marvel's Agent Venom, The Guardians of the Galaxy getting their own sinister transformations in the "Planet Of The Symbiotes" storyline, to the many Venom-ized variant covers featuring the Avengers, X-Men, and Spider-Verse heroes, there's no shortage of Venom content in the comics.

Despite the large numbers of Venoms on different Earths in Marvel's Multiverse, it's fun to see such a heroic character like The Thing get a dark transformation. Ben Grimm hosting the Venom symbiote will likely send his character down a dark path, as dealing with his new normal in the one-shot might be too much for him to bear. Still, thinking about where his new role might take him is exciting. 

Readers can see Ben Grimm's newest transformation unfold in "What If ... ? Dark: Venom" #1, by Stephanie Phillips and Jethro Morales from Marvel Comics, which arrives in comic book stores and to online retailers on August 2, 2023.