Published by DC Comics in 1991, Venom is a five-part story about Batman’s addiction to a performance enhancing drug. Written by Dennis ‘Denny’ O’Neil, with layouts by Trevor Von Eeden and pencils by Russell Braun, Venom originally appeared in issues #16 to #20 of Legends of the Dark Knight.
What happens in Batman: Venom?
After Batman fails to save the life of a kidnapped child called Sissy Porter, the Caped Crusader becomes obsessed with what he perceives are his shortcomings – a lack of strength. So, he tests a designer drug, created by Sissy’s father, Dr. Randolph Porter, which he believes will give him an edge.
The drug works wonders, giving Batman increased strength and stamina. But it is a shortcut to success and one that has consequences.
Three months have passed and Batman has continued to take the pills. He has increased his strength, but has become hooked on the wonder drugs – repeatedly asking Dr. Porter for more.
Porter obliges, but that is because he has a hidden agenda – this is all part of a plan to get the Dark Knight under his control. Working with General Slaycroft, Porter wants to create a group of enhanced super soldiers, with Batman as his test subject.
Batman faces up to his addiction; sealing himself in the Batcave for a month to kick his habit. When he emerges, he no longer feels a desire to self medicate.
But in the month that Batman has been self-isolating, Porter and Slaycroft have continued to work on their super soldier programme. Slaycroft’s son, Timothy has become the new test subject, and has been transformed into a seemingly invincible killing machine.
Six months have passed and Batman is back to his former self. Keen to find Porter and Slaycroft, the Dark Knight tracks them to the island of Santa Prisca.
Travelling to the island with his trusted friend and butler, Alfred Pennyworth, the two are seperated. Batman manages to locate and rescue Alfred, but he is attacked by the super-sized Timothy Slaycroft.
Placed in a cell by Porter and Slaycroft, Batman is given the opportunity to escape – if he is willing to take an even stronger collection of pills to aid him. Batman refuses and instead, through skill and determination, manages to escape his prison.
During a final confrontation, General Slaycroft is killed by his son, while Porter is captured by Batman. Back in Gotham, Batman reflects on the true casualties of Porter and Slaycroft’s plan – their own children who became pawns of their scheme.
Is Batman: Venom worth a read?
Spread across five issues, Venom plays out very well – delivering an action packed story arc which takes Batman on a journey of self discovery. Having the Caped Crusader addicted to drugs helps to highlight a chink in his armour, which in turn humanises him for this tale.
Across the course of all five issues, the story never drops its pace, and while the villains, Porter and Slaycroft feel like generic bad guys, they do at least bring a certain menace to proceedings. However, the more interesting character is Batman himself, who is the star of this story.
Has Batman: Venom been adapted for film?
To date, Batman: Venom has not been adapted to film – and I’m not sure it will. If the story ever gets adapted to film – be it live-action or animation – I would expect it to be reworked to tweak the villains and even then, I would only expect the addiction element of the story to be retained.
I hope this information on Batman: Venom has proved useful. Should you want to read more posts about Batman, please take a look through I’ll Get Drive-Thru, or alternatively check out one of the recommended reads below.