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‘Venom 2’: Detective Mulligan, AKA Toxin, a Spider-Man Villain (or Ally) in Marvel Comics

In ‘Venom 2,’ Stephen Graham played Detective Mulligan, a policeman with a grudge against Tom Hardy’s Eddie Brock. While the character was relatively short-lived as far as comic characters go, his symbiote Toxin went on to take part in much bigger Venom and Carnage storylines.

Most fan speculation for Venom 2 revolved around Eddie Brock/Venom and Cletus Kasady/Carnage. It made sense, considering that they headlined the movie. However, fans overlooked another character. Stephen Graham played Detective Mulligan, a name that comic fans might have recognized.

Stephen Graham plays Detective Mulligan in 'Venom 2.' Photo shows him at 'A Christmas Carol' screening
Stephen Graham | Joe Maher/Getty Images

Detective Mulligan carried the incredibly powerful symbiote, Toxin

While Venom doesn’t seem like a family man, his family extended to his son and grandchild over the years.

Symbiotes in Marvel reproduce asexual, a process that cannot be stopped. When Spider-Man locked Eddie Brock in prison, the Venom symbiote rescued him but left behind a spawn in the form of Carnage.

The new symbiote bonded to Cletus Kasady and incited a prison break

Venom 2 looks to follow this origin relatively faithfully, except Eddie stands on the opposite side of the bars.

Sometime after Carnage’s initial rampage in the comics, he gave birth to another spawn, whom Venom named ‘Toxin.’ The new symbiote latched onto the nearest human, Detective Mulligan, affectionately called ‘Paddy’ by his wife, Gina, and partner, Officer Meadows.

And both Venom and Carnage feared what could become of this new symbiote. As the 1,000th symbiote in their family line, Toxin potentially held more power than either of them.

Detective Mulligan became a vigilante in the comics

Fearing for his family’s safety, Detective Mulligan left his wife, son, and the police force to try controlling the naive new symbiote.

In Venom 2, director Andy Serkis added more context to the character. In an interview with ComicBookMovie, Graham spoke more about the character’s difference in the Venom movie.

“He’s got a chip on his shoulder for a lot of reasons,” he said. “There was a major incident as a young rookie, where he shot a young girl – it mentally scarred him, and he lost the hearing in his left ear, which became a disability for his police career and got him assigned to menial jobs.”

The movie saw Pat Mulligan working on Cletus Kasaday’s case to recover his victims. However, this didn’t prove easy.

“He was constantly overlooked by the hierarchy of the police system, and he’s an angry, bitter man,” Graham said.

Due to his closeness on the case, Detective Mulligan felt like Eddie trespassed on his territory.

“Eddie is getting the last interview with Cletus Kasady – something he feels he should be entitled to, and not some snotty rogue reporter,” the actor added.

Does Toxin have a future in Sony’s Universe?

While both Venom and Carnage debuted in 1988 and 1992, respectively, both have starred in titular comic runs and built up an impressive bulk of stories.

Detective Mulligan, however, only starred in one more limited series after his introduction. He was killed off less than a decade after his introduction.

The Toxin symbiote refused to go, though. Spending some time fighting a Lovecraftian horror, bonding with Eddie Brock himself, and battling the creator of the first symbiotes, Toxin bonded to Bren Waters.


‘Venom 2’: Could Carnage Spawn More Symbiote Spider-Man Villains?

While still possessing some of the more violent tendencies of his father and grandfather, Toxin proved himself a more heroic symbiote.

As Sony looks to expand its universe, the Detective Mulligan story might not end with Venom 2.

Venom: Let There Be Carnage hit theaters on Oct 1, 2021.