Did everyone enjoy this week’s episode of Gotham? Viper. I loved it. They showed Viper to be the early version of Venom. What’s Venom? Let me enlighten you. The drug Venom first appeared in Legends of the Dark Knight #16-20 (March-July 1991). In this story (also titled Venom), We see a Batman in the beginning of his career, as most of the Legends stories portrayed. After Batman fails to save a little girl because he cannot lift heavy rubble off of her in a flooding sewer, Batman goes to break the news to her father, Dr. Randolph Porter. Little does Batman realize that Dr. Porter set up the incident with his daughter to trap Batman. After days of guilty feelings over his part in the girl’s death and failing to capture her kidnappers (they escape), Batman accepts Dr. Porter’s offer of Venom (shown in pill form) to make himself a better crime fighter. At first it works fine, Batman is able to capture the kidnappers (after the Venom enables him to toss a refrigerator at their escape van). But slowly, Batman begins to get more and more violent and less intelligent. It’s only after Porter and the corrupt American general he is working with tell Batman the only way he can get more Venom is to kill Commissioner James Gordon. After telling Gordon of their plan, Batman realizes how far he has fallen. Batman then asks Alfred to lock him in the Batcave for a month so he can detox. After a hard month with no human contact and only food and water Batman emerges from the Batcave and finds and captures the general. Dr. Porter commits suicide to avoid capture.
The next time the Venom drug is seen is in Batman: Vengeance of Bane #1 (January 1993), the same issue that features the first appearance of Bane.
In the issue, we see Bane is born in the Pena Dura prison in the fictional Caribbean Republic of Santa Prisca. He is to serve a life sentence from the day he is born, because in Santa Prisca, the son pays for the sins of the father. Bane is experimented on in prison, where he first comes in contact with Venom. Bane discovers the Venom greatly increases his strength. Bane eventually escapes and make his way to America, and Gotham City. In prison, Bane heard stories of the American city and its dark protector. Bane decides to destroy Batman and take the city. After forcing Batman to face all his foes one after the other while suffering from a mental and physical breakdown, Bane breaks Batman’s back (Batman #497 July 1993).
With months of recuperation in front of him, it is Bruce Wayne’s replacement, Jean Paul Valley, that defeats Bane (Batman #500 October 1993).
After months in prison, Bane escapes and kick his Venom habit. The other big occurrence of a super villain using Venom is Lex Luthor. During his term as President of the United States (it’s a long story), Lex takes a combination of Venom and Kryptonite to battle Batman and Superman, who were about to bring his administration down (Superman/Batman #1-6 October 2003-March 2004).
And of course we see a version of Venom’s origin as the drug known as Viper in the Gotham episode titled “Venom” (October 20, 2014).
That’s it for this week. Any other background info anyone would like to know to enhance their enjoyment of Gotham? Let me know:
Until next week, be good. Remember it’s not the snake that kills you, it’s the VENOM!