Marvel’s event machine rolls on with Summer of Symbiotes. Symbiote-clad characters like Venom and Carnage have always been rather popular, and thanks to creators like Donny Cates, Ram V, and Al Ewing they’ve reached the apex of Marvel. In the past five years, there have been two symbiote-centric events – Absolute Carnage and King in Black – and they’ve both been very successful.
Marvel events don’t exactly have the best reputation. The company’s event machine is among its most disparaged feature, but the publisher can still put out great events. Summer of Symbiotes could be a great event, as long as Marvel does a few particular things.
10 Don’t Stretch It Too Thin
Marvel’s teases for Summer of Symbiotes have already got fans interested, but Marvel readers have been burnt at this stage before. A big problem is that when the event hits, there’s just so many tie-in issues. Marvel is well known for cashing in during events, giving multiple books tie-in issues and putting out miniseries and one-shots as well.
Marvel likes to put out a lot of tie-in content. Looking at the current announcements for Summer of Symbiotes, they are definitely going in that direction, but they need to be smarter about it. Too many tie-ins can sour reader appreciation.
9 Put The A-List Talent Front And Center
Venom had a renaissance thanks to the writer/artist team of Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman, and that A-list team was the talent behind Absolute Carnage and King in Black. A-list talent is extremely important to a successful event. They’re the guiding talent behind the whole thing and a good enough team can get people to read an event even if they missed the teases.
Summer of Symbiotes runs through multiple titles, so spotlighting the big name teams is going to be more difficult than with an event series. However, this story boasts talent like Al Ewing, Ram V, Zeb Wells, and David Pepose, and Marvel should definitely have them doing the most important issues. Big name creators draw readers.
8 Make It Unique
A big problem with Marvel events is how cookie cutter they feel. For a long time, most Marvel events boasted some kind of battle between superheroes, all because of the massive success of Civil War. The ones that didn’t center on hero versus hero battle usually had Marvel’s finest teaming up against an all powerful enemy with the fate of reality at stake, an alien invasion, or both.
Marvel likes to find a formula that works and run it into the ground. They can’t do that with Summer of Symbiotes. The best example to follow is writer Jonathan Hickman. Hickman-written events all subvert expectations on what a Marvel event could be. Summer of Symbiotes needs to do something like this, otherwise it will get lost in the event shuffle.
7 Have A Great Villain Or Threat
Carnage can be a cliché villain, which might be a problem for Summer of Symbiotes. While the event is meant to celebrate the 35th anniversary of Venom, Carnage has always been a huge part of Venom’s mythos and the go to symbiotic villain, besides god of symbiotes Knull. They’ve been used a lot of lately.
Summer of Symbiotes needs a great villain or threat, besides ones that readers have already seen, in order to really shine. Carnage, and most likely Knull, will be a part of it, but having them as the main villains is a mistake. It would be best if the publisher introduced a new antagonist, in order to really make the event memorable.
6 Stay Out Of The Spider-Man Drama
Marvel’s made Spider-Man a dirty word for a lot of fans, despite The Amazing Spider-Man being the best-selling book at the company. There is a lot of drama surrounding Spider-Man, and it’s caused flame wars all over the Internet. There was a time when Spider-Man was a name that could move books, but many readers are tired of the rigmarole surrounding the character.
It’s impossible to do an event celebrating Venom and the history of symbiotes without Spider-Man, but they need to be careful how they include him. A lot of fans don’t want the soap opera drama of TASM in their comics, something that TASM included in its Hellfire Gala tie-in. This is a Venom event and Peter Parker’s unending relationship drama doesn’t belong here.
5 Do Something New With The Symbiote Concept
Marvel’s recent symbiote-centered events have all done a good job of expanding the concept of symbiotes in new ways. By revealing the existence of Knull and finally giving them the Klyntar name, fans have learned new things about symbiotes. Expanding symbiote lore made the events better than what they would have been.
Summer of Symbiotes needs to find a new way to set itself apart from Absolute Carnage and King in Black. Those two events took structures that fans had read a thousand times before, and added something new and cool that made the stories work better. Summer of Symbiotes needs to do this to make it memorable.
4 Focus On Venom Specifically
Venom is the most popular symbiote, and this event celebrates 35 years with the Lethal Protector. Venom’s family of symbiotes are a varied lot and a name like Summer of Symbiotes and what has been announced so far implies that the event is about them as a whole. However, this is Venom’s big year, so he should definitely be the focus.
The symbiotes are a fertile corner of Marvel, but everyone knows the main draw is Venom. The character has survived 35 years and is counted among Marvel’s most popular characters. Summer of Symbiotes should feature Venom more than any other symbiote.
3 Make The Venomverse Awesome
Several comics focusing on the Venomverse have been announced. This is both exciting and scary for fans at the same time. The Spider-Verse has proven to be very popular, giving readers a myriad of Spider-Men from around the Marvel multiverse. Using Venom as the basis for a similar idea is a great idea, but it’s also a lot to live up to.
The Spider-Verse works so well because of the sheer imagination of the whole thing. The Venomverse has to do something similar. It’s too easy to just have a multiverse of other Venoms be Venomized versions of Marvel heroes. The Venomverse needs to embrace what made the SpiderVerse work.
2 It Needs To Make Lasting Change
Marvel teases character changes in events, but the follow through doesn’t always fit the tease. Often, it’s just a temporary change that brings the character to the next event and eventually reverts back to the status quo. This is a big criticism of Marvel events, so Summer of Symbiotes needs to make changes that at last.
This could easily just be a cash-in anniversary event, but for it to truly be successful, it has to do something brave with the characters. Marvel’s event cycle is ridiculously predictable right now. Summer of Symbiotes needs to use that formula to its advantage. The best way to do that is to make a major league change to popular characters.
1 Keep It Succinct
A great thing about the last two symbiote events is that a reader could just pick up the main series and get a full story. Sure, the tie-ins added nuance and excitement, but reading those were up to the reader. Summer of Symbiotes doesn’t seem that focused, as it has no main series, which could be a problem.
Marvel events often wear out their welcome, and they do that by spreading the story across too many tie-ins. Summer of Symbiotes, despite looking like an event built out of tie-ins, needs to keep things succinct. Not everyone can afford every tie-in and spreading the main story into too many of the tie-ins will hurt readers who can’t buy every issue.
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