Warning: Spoilers for Extreme Venomverse #3 ahead!
Marvel’s Summer of Symbiote event continues to spiral across the Spider-Verse, gifting Across the Spider-Verse‘s Cowboy Spider-Man (and his Spider-Horse) his own version of Venom in Madame Brock. Intriguingly, this version of Venom appears to be a mix between the symbiote and Madame Web, the spider-themed psychic. By cleverly integrating elements of each character, Madame Brock becomes the perfect Venom for an un-powered, Western-themed universe.
In Extreme Venomverse #3, Taran Killiam and Rod Reis’ story “Best Little Horror House” begins with Cowboy Spider-Man (who goes by “Parker”) stopping a thug from assaulting a brothel girl before passing out. He later comes to in the chambers of the establishment’s madame, Edna Brock, who reveals she foresaw his arrival through her tarot cards. When the thug returns with backup and threatens to burn Brock’s ranch to the ground, she (alongside Parker) meets him outside with whip in hand, flipping down her black veils to reveal the symbiote eye-and-teeth pattern and declares he and his men will “face the Madame’s venom.”
Madame Venom is a Perfect Twist on the Symbiote
Although it first appears that Edna’s large, blonde manservant – the spitting image of Eddie – will be this world’s Venom, the reveal that it is the frail older woman is a delightful twist. It’s made even more interesting by the way her design is married to that of Cassandra Webb. The original Madame Web, though blind, was a powerful psychic who was known for her web-like life support system in which she sat, rendering her mentally powerful but physically almost helpless. Edna Brock’s introductory panel shows a similarly spider-themed background behind her, and the coughing fit that takes her as she reads Parker’s cards suggests she too suffers from some physical malady – especially as her handkerchief is shown stained with some dark substance.
Madame Web and Venom Combine in Madame Brock
The Venom half of Madame Brock’s design is just as interesting. The teaser page that starts the issue shows her wielding her whip with incredible dexterity, and it becomes clear that this is both her version of Venom’s “webbing” as well as the symbiote’s iconic tongue. The veil is also a clever method of “transformation” for Madame Brock, allowing her to inconspicuously go about in her widow’s dress before mutating into her symbiote form by flipping down her veil – just as other symbiote hosts have their “costumes” hidden inside their bodies.
As Cowboy Spider-Man seems to come from a low-powered universe, Madame Brock makes the perfect blend of Madame Web and Venom for his world. Her tarot cards act as a legitimate excuse for her psychic abilities, and her title as “Madame” is both an homage to the character she is based upon in addition to being legitimately earned through her role as the keeper of a brothel. Madame Brock is an excellent addition to the Spider-Verse‘s growing roster of Venoms, and woe to any who would dare underestimate her.
Extreme Venomverse #3 is now available from Marvel Comics.