Venom (Marvel Comics character)
Venom is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics, commonly in association with Spider-Man. The character is a sentient alien symbiote with an amorphous, liquid-like form, who survives by bonding with a host, usually human. This dual-life form receives enhanced powers and usually refers to itself as "Venom". The symbiote was originally introduced as a living alien costume in The Amazing Spider-Man #252 (May 1984), with a full first appearance as Venom in The Amazing Spider-Man #300 (May 1988).
Venom in promotional material for Web of Venom (January 2018)
Art by Clayton Crain
|First appearance||As "The Alien Costume":|
The Amazing Spider-Man #252 (May 1984)
Cameo appearance: The Amazing Spider-Man #299 (April 1988)
Full appearance: The Amazing Spider-Man #300 (May 1988)
|Created by||"The Alien Costume":|
|Alter ego||Various hosts|
|Place of origin||Gorr's unnamed planet|
|Team affiliations||Sinister Six|
Guardians of the Galaxy
Agents of Cosmos
|Notable aliases||Spider-Man, The Black Suit, Alien Costume, The Other, She-Venom, The Sinister Spider-Man, Agent Venom, Superior Venom, Venom Spaceknight, The Spider's Black Spirit, Svartalfvenom|
The Venom symbiote's first human host was Spider-Man, who eventually discovered its true nefarious nature and separated himself from the creature in The Amazing Spider-Man #258 (November 1984) — with a brief rejoining five months later in Web of Spider-Man #1. The symbiote went on to merge with other hosts, most notably Eddie Brock, its second and most infamous host, with whom it first became Venom. As one of Spider-Man's most enduring villains, Venom quickly established himself as one of his arch-enemies, with many regarding him as a dark reflection of Spider-Man. The character later became an anti-hero, working both with and against superheroes. Other notable hosts of the Venom symbiote include the villain Mac Gargan, formerly known as Scorpion, and Flash Thompson, who became the superhero Agent Venom.
The character has been featured in various other media, including animated series, films, and video games. Most notably, he was portrayed by Topher Grace as one of the main antagonists of the film Spider-Man 3 (2007), and by Tom Hardy as the titular protagonist and antihero of the Sony Pictures Universe of Marvel Characters film Venom (2018) and its upcoming sequel, Venom: Let There Be Carnage (2021). The Eddie Brock Incarnation of Venom was rated 33rd on Empire's 50 Greatest Comic Book Characters, and was the 22nd Greatest Villain on IGN's 100 Greatest Comic Villains of All Time. Comics journalist and historian Mike Conroy writes of the character: "What started out as a replacement costume for Spider-Man turned into one of the Marvel web-slinger's greatest nightmares".
Conception and creation
The original idea of a new costume for Spider-Man that would later become the character Venom was conceived by a Marvel Comics reader from Norridge, Illinois named Randy Schueller. In 1982, Jim Shooter, Marvel's editor-in-chief at the time, sent Schueller a letter acknowledging Marvel's interest in the idea, which they ended up purchasing from him for $220. Shooter came up with the idea of switching Spider-Man to a black-and-white costume, possibly influenced by the intended costume design for the new Spider-Woman; artist Mike Zeck designed it.
Writer/artist John Byrne says on his website that he conceived a costume of self-healing biological material when he was the artist on Iron Fist — to explain how that character's costume was constantly being torn and then apparently repaired by the next issue. Byrne says explaining that he ended up not using the idea on that title, but that Roger Stern later asked him if he could use the idea for Spider-Man's alien costume. Stern in turn plotted the issue in which the costume first appeared but then left the title. It was writer Tom DeFalco and artist Ron Frenz who established that the costume was a sentient alien being that was vulnerable to high sonic energy during their run on The Amazing Spider-Man that preceded Michelinie's.
The symbiote was first introduced as Spider-man's new black costume in The Amazing Spider-Man #252 (May 1984) as part of a story called "Homecoming!" The story takes place after Spider-Man's return from the events of the miniseries Secret Wars, where he first obtains the black costume. The full first appearance of Venom is in The Amazing Spider-Man #300 (May 1988), after the symbiote bonds with Eddie Brock. 
Spider-Man (Peter Parker)
The story of how Spider-Man gets his new black costume is recounted in Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #8 (December 1984), in which writer Jim Shooter and artist Mike Zeck depicted the heroes and villains of the Marvel Universe transported to another planet called Battleworld by a being called the Beyonder. After Spider-Man's costume is ruined from battles with the villains, he is directed by Thor and the Hulk to a room at the heroes' base where they inform him a machine can read his thoughts and instantly fabricate any type of clothing. Choosing a machine he believes to be the correct one, Spider-Man causes a black sphere to appear before him, which spreads over his body, dissolving the tattered old costume and covering his body to form a new black and white costume. To Spider-Man's surprise, the costume can mimic street clothes and provides a seemingly inexhaustible and stronger supply of webbing.
During their run on The Amazing Spider-Man, writer Tom DeFalco and artist Ron Frenz established that the costume was a sentient alien symbiote that was vulnerable to both fire and high sonic energy. It was in that storyline that the costume would envelop Peter Parker while he slept, and go out at night to fight crime, leaving Parker inexplicably exhausted in the morning. Parker had the costume examined by Reed Richards, who discovered that it was alive, and when Parker realized it was trying to permanently bond to Parker's body, he rejected it, and it was subsequently contained by the Fantastic Four. The symbiote escaped and bonded again to Parker, who used sound waves from a cathedral's church bell to repel it. But the symbiote had grown an emotional attachment to Peter so he willingly left Peter's unconscious body and moved him to safety before disappearing.
In Go Down Swinging, when Norman Osborn got bonded to the Carnage symbiote, Spider-Man rebonds to the symbiote in an attempt to stop Osborn, now calling himself Red Goblin, while forgiving both Eddie and Venom for the past conflicts. He with the symbiote got a new costume design and they were overpowering Osborn, until Norman mortally injured Flash Thompson. This caused Spider-Man and the symbiote to get angry, eventually losing control, until Flash calmed them down with his dying breath. In the final battle Spider-Man tells the symbiote to leave him and that he himself is going to be all right while Norman also detaches himself from Carnage.
David Michelinie would later write the backstory of Eddie Brock as the alien's new host that would become the villain Venom, using the events of Peter David's 1985 "Sin Eater" storyline in The Spectacular Spider-Man as a basis for Brock's origin. Venom's existence was first indicated in Web of Spider-Man #18 (September 1986), when he shoved Peter Parker in front of a subway train without Parker's spider-sense warning him, though only Brock's hand was seen on-panel. The next indication of Venom's existence was in Web of Spider-Man #24 (March 1987), when Parker climbed out of a high story window to change into Spider-Man, but found a black arm coming through the window and grabbing him, again without being warned by his spider-sense. After appearing in shadow in The Amazing Spider-Man #298 (March 1988), Venom made his cameo appearance on the last page of The Amazing Spider-Man #299 (April 1988), when he terrorized Parker's wife, Mary Jane Watson, and made his full appearance in The Amazing Spider-Man #300 (May 1988).
Spider-Man would confront him in the following issue, when Brock reveals that he was a Daily Globe reporter who worked on the Sin-Eater case, and that his career was ruined when it was discovered that the man Brock announced as the Sin-Eater was a compulsive confessor. Forced to eke out a living writing lurid stories for venomous tabloids, Brock blamed Spider-Man for his predicament. He took up bodybuilding to reduce stress. It failed to do so, and Brock sank into a suicidal depression. Seeking solace at the church where Spider-Man repelled the symbiote, the symbiote—sensing Brock's hatred for Spider-Man—bonded with the disgraced reporter. Brock took on the name Venom in reference to the sensationalistic material he was forced to traffic in following his fall from grace.
Over the years, as the symbiote gained more intelligence and moved to additional human hosts, the name began to apply to the symbiote as well as its hosts. As Venom, Brock fights Spider-Man many times, winning on several occasions. Venom repeatedly tries to kill Peter Parker/Spider-Man—both when the latter was in and out of costume. Thus Parker is forced to abandon his "black costume", which the symbiote had been mimicking, after Venom confronts Parker's wife Mary Jane.
Venom escapes from the supervillain prison, The Vault, to torment Spider-Man and his family. The symbiote is finally rendered comatose after being subdued by Styx's plague virus, and Eddie Brock is subsequently placed in Ryker's Island Prison. When the symbiote recovers and returns to free Brock, it leaves a spawn to bond with Brock's psychotic serial-killer cellmate Cletus Kasady, who becomes Carnage. Meanwhile, Venom and Spider-Man fight on a deserted island, and Spider-Man strands Venom there after faking his own death. Soon after, however, Spider-Man brings Venom back to New York City in order to stop Carnage's killing spree. After being incarcerated once again, Venom is used to create five new symbiotes, which are all paired with human hosts.
As well as helping Eddie Brock to seek continued revenge against Spider-Man, the symbiote also aids Brock in a sporadic career as a vigilante. He and the symbiote occasionally share a desire to protect innocent people from harm, even if it means working side-by-side with the hated Spider-Man. This is especially true when Venom combats the entity he believes to be his spawn, Carnage. When Spider-Man helps Venom save Brock's ex-wife Anne Weying, the two form a temporary truce, though this falls apart after Weying's suicide.
The symbiote is temporarily stolen by U.S. Senator Steward Ward, who hopes to better understand his own alien infection by researching the symbiote before it returns to Brock. Now, however, it dominates its host, Brock, rather than vice versa. Eventually, Eddie Brock and the symbiote go their separate ways as the symbiote grows tired of having a diseased host and Eddie rejects its growing bloodlust, leading him to sell the symbiote at a super villain auction.
The creature that would become Venom was born in the 998th generation to a race of extraterrestrial symbiotes, which lived by possessing the bodies of other life-forms. The parasites would endow their victims with enhanced physical abilities, at the cost of fatally draining them of adrenaline.[volume & issue needed] According to the 1995 "Planet of the symbiotes" storyline, the Venom symbiote, after separated from its first host, was deemed insane by its own race after it was discovered that it desired to commit to its host rather than use it up. The symbiote was then imprisoned on Battleworld to ensure it did not pollute the species' gene pool.[volume & issue needed]
The symbiote bonds with its new host, Lee Price, launching volume 3 of the Venom comic book series. The series ran for six issues total (Nov. 2016-April 2017). Eddie Brock is able to regain the Venom symbiote at the conclusion of the series, returning the Venom comic book title to volume 1 with issue #150.
Scorpion (Mac Gargan)
The Venom symbiote approached Mac Gargan, the villain formerly known as Scorpion, and offered him new abilities as the second Venom. Gargan bonded with the creature, which would later give him an extra edge as part of Norman Osborn's Sinister Twelve. As the Avengers dealt with the rest of the Twelve, Spider-Man swiftly defeated Gargan, even with these additional powers, which Spider-Man suggests is attributed to the fact that Mac Gargan does not hate Spider-Man as much as Eddie Brock did.
Gargan later became a member of a sub-group of the Thunderbolts, which was drafted by the Avengers to hunt down the members of the fugitive New Avengers. It was then revealed that he had been outfitted with electrical implants by the government to keep the symbiote in check.
When in the Venom persona, Gargan retained very little of his original personality and was controlled almost completely by the symbiote, which drove him to cannibalism. When the symbiote was dormant in his body, he expressed nausea and fear of the organism. During a fight with "Anti-Venom" (Eddie Brock), he and his symbiote were separated, and the Venom symbiote was nearly destroyed. Blobs of it still existed in his bloodstream, however, so Osborn injected Gargan with a vaccine for Anti-Venom's healing powers, which restored the symbiote by causing the remaining pieces of it to expand rapidly. Gargan dons a Scorpion battle armor over the symbiote while it heals, causing him to become what Spider-Man calls "Ven-orpion" although when the symbiote is fully restored it shatters the armor.[volume & issue needed]
After ingesting a chemical given to him by Norman Osborn, Venom transforms into a more human appearance similar to the Black-Suited Spider-Man. Osborn introduces him as The Amazing Spider-Man, a member of the Dark Avengers, while unveiling the team. After the Siege of Asgard, Gargan and most of the Dark Avengers were taken into custody. While being held on the Raft, the Venom symbiote was forcefully removed from him, ending his run as Venom.
On December 9, 2010, Marvel Comics announced a new "black ops" Venom owned by the government. This new Venom was featured in a new series called Venom in March 2011. The birth of the new Venom can be seen in The Amazing Spider-Man #654 in February 2011. On January 28, 2011, the identity of "black ops" Venom was revealed to be Flash Thompson. Flash is hired by the government to be a special agent wearing the Venom symbiote as part of Project Rebirth. Flash is only allowed to wear the suit for up to 48 hours, or risk a permanent bonding with the symbiote. Along with the alien, Flash is equipped with a "Multi-Gun" designed to change into any type of gun Flash needs. The Government is also equipped with a "kill switch" designed to take Flash out if he loses control. Flash rejects the kill switch and later joins the Secret Avengers, Thunderbolts, Guardians of the Galaxy, and even becomes appointed by the Klyntar a Space Knight.
Lee Price first appeared in Venom Vol. 3 #1 and dying in Spider-Man/Venom Free Comic Book Day #1. After being separated from Flash Thompson through unspecified means, the Venom symbiote happens upon a black market deal between Black Cat's gang and Tombstone's gang. He resorts to bonding with one of the men present, a discharged Army Ranger named Lee Price who was with Scorpion as part of Black Cat's gang. The weakened symbiote pleads with Price, attempting to convince him to become a hero like Thompson. Price ignores and overpowers it, intent on using it for personal gain as a new, wholly villainous Venom.
Lee Price makes his way to Black Cat's hideout where Scorpion accuses him of botching the black market sale by causing the shoot-out. After having to keep the Venom symbiote from attacking Black Cat, Lee Price takes his leave from Black Cat's lair as Scorpion gets suspicious towards Lee. His departure is seen by some FBI Agents. Lee Price later gets attacked by Tombstone's minion Firebug. Upon defeating Firebug, an FBI Agent with a bazooka appears telling Lee Price that he is under arrest.
Lee Price eventually loses the symbiote when Eddie Brock and Spider-Man take him down and he is arrested by the NYPD.
While incarcerated at the New York Corrections Supermax Facility for Superhuman Incarceration, Lee Price is feared by most of the inmates and he even defeats three inmates in the prison's cafeteria when they try to kill him to boost their reputation. Lee swears to get out, reclaim the Venom symbiote, and plan revenge on those who have wronged him. Lee Price is later visited by his lawyer who tells him that two of the inmates he defeated had died in the infirmary and that Venom has resurfaced upon it being revealed in the news. At the courthouse, Lee Price's lawyer stated that Lee's actions as Venom were caused by the Venom symbiote while the opposing lawyer mentions about Venom still being at large. The judge then asked for some evidence to help with the trial. After the trial, Lee Price is released from prison and begins his plans to reclaim the Venom symbiote and take revenge on those who have wronged him.
In Venom Inc., Lee Price steals the Mania symbiote from Andy and becomes Maniac. He uses the symbiote to infect the crime bosses and become a criminal kingpin, but he is defeated by Spider-Man, Venom, Black Cat and Agent Anti-Venom.
When Cletus Kasady was collecting the codex left in the bodies of previous hosts, he disguised himself as Eddie and went to jail where he killed Lee after ripping the Maniac symbiote off him, while framing Eddie for the murder.
Tel-Kar first appeared in Venom: First Host #1. During the Kree-Skrull War, the Kree, desiring to replicate the Skrull's shape-shifting abilities, they obtain the newborn Venom, which had been outcast from the other symbiotes, on Gorr's planet where Knull had created the symbiotes. Tel-Kar is recruited to be bonded to the newborn symbiote in order to infiltrate the Skrull army. Tel-Kar's body is biologically altered so he can have full control over the symbiote's mind to the point of erasing its memories. He successfully infiltrated the Skrull army discovering various secrets. However he blew his cover up in order to save some Kree refugees and handed the symbiote to them to return it to Hala. Then Tel-Kar was betrayed by Ronan the Accuser who used a Kree Sentry to capture Tel-Kar and was given to the Skrulls as a war criminal. Separated from Tel-Kar after his capture, the symbiote goes on to be bonded to Spider-Man.
Tel-Kar escapes the Skrulls and wanders through the Galaxy thinking that the War is still going on, until he hears of an agent from Earth called Flash Thompson with a black symbiote suit. Recognizing it as his symbiote, he goes to Earth to find it. Eddie Brock arrives with the symbiote and saves Tel-Kar from the Warbride Skrull M'Lanz, who had followed him. Angered by Venom's refusal to return to him, Tel-Kar threatens to bond to Venom's latest offspring and turn it into a monster. Acceding to Tel-Kar, Venom reunites with him and they go to a Skrull research base to get a Skrull bioweapon. Simultaneously, Eddie is bonded to the offspring calling itself Sleeper and allies with M'Lanz to stop Tel-Kar. During the ensuing battle, Tel-Kar concludes that he doesn't need Venom anymore and uses an electrified spear to detach himself from it while scarring himself in the process. Later he is betrayed by the Kree Empire while Eddie escapes with Venom and M'Lanz with Sleeper. Tel-Kar, now furious, attempts to release the bioweapon on Earth to kill all humanity, but Sleeper bonds to Tel-Kar and lobotomizes him as punishment for what he did to Venom and Eddie. Sleeper, now with Tel-Kar's body, wishes Eddie farewell and goes on to explore the universe.
During the War of the Realms event, after Venom was separated from Eddie, the symbiote, in its humanoid form, joined the War Avengers (composed of Captain Marvel, Deadpool, Lady Sif, Winter Soldier, Weapon H, Black Widow and Captain Britain) to fight off Malekith's invasion. However, upon fighting Malekith, the Dark Elf with the use of the Ebony Blade, teleported away along with Venom. Since Malekith was aware of Knull and Gorr's All-Black the Necrosword, he tortured the symbiote and turned it into his own weapon similar to All-Black in order to use it against the Asgardians. During the end of the event, Malekith enhanced the symbiote with his dark magic and bonded the symbiote to his various acolytes, turning them into the Spider-Elves. After the Thor Corps arrived, which consisted of Thor, King Thor, Young Odinson and Jane Foster, Malekith using the Venom Blade/Symbio Sword, covered one of Thor's hammers with the symbiote and declared himself the Butcher of Thor. However, he was defeated and the symbiote was ultimately free from Malekith's control.
There have been other, shorter term hosts for the symbiote.
Scarlet Spider (Ben Reilly)
In the Planet of the symbiotes storyline, the symbiote was rejected by Eddie, causing it to release a powerful scream that attracts the other symbiotes to Earth. Subsequently the symbiote sees Scarlet Spider, (Ben Reilly) and takes the form of his hooded top attempting to bond to Ben mistaking him for Spider-Man but failed owing to Ben's strong will. When it was later discovered by Brock and Peter Parker, the symbiote returned to Eddie.
Anne Weying first appears in The Amazing Spider-Man #375. She is Eddie Brock's ex-wife and a successful lawyer. Weying assists Spider-Man by sharing some of Brock's history. Later, she follows Spider-Man to the amusement park where Venom had Peter's (fake) parents. She confronts Brock and manages to convince him to end his feud. After Sin-Eater shoots Ann as part of a crusade against social injustice, Ann becomes She-Venom when the Venom symbiote temporarily bonds with her to save her life. She-Venom lashes out against the men who had hurt her, and Brock becomes afraid for her (and of her) and compels the symbiote to return to him. Ann is left distraught at her actions while bonded. Later Ann is arrested on a false charge as part of a trap for Venom. She manages to warn Brock who sends the symbiote to her, allowing her to become She-Venom and escape custody. Some time later, Ann, traumatized by her experiences with Venom and the symbiote, commits suicide after seeing Spider-Man pass by her window in a black costume, believing it is Brock returning for her.
The story follows U.S. Army communication specialist Patricia Robertson. During a supply run to an Ararat Corporation owned outpost she discovers everyone at the installation dead except for one scientist. It is revealed that the Ararat Corporation is run by an alien colony of miniature spider robots led by an entity named Bob, that have infiltrated the American government. The Ararat Corporation has cloned Venom to facilitate the extermination of humanity, but the clone ravages its hosts. The clone is responsible for the death of the outpost crew.
Robertson finds an ally in the Suit, a mysterious individual made of the same miniature robots as Bob, revealed to have been accidentally brought to Earth by Reed Richards. The Suit modifies Robertson while she is unconscious to allow her to control the clone if it bonds with her. The Suit sabotages Wolverine, the clones favored host, forcing it to bond with Robertson. One of Bob's agents convinces Robertston to kill the real Venom to save humanity, causing her to free the incarcerated Venom. She and Venom fight, but Venom escapes. Bob remotely deactivates the technology allowing Robertson to control the clone forcing her to rely on willpower. Later, Robertson and Venom again fight, and Venom absorbs the clone. Venom decides to carry out the clone's mission given to it by the Ararat corporation. The series did not continue and the plot remained unresolved as of 2012. The Venom symbiote would later regurgitate and expel the clone from its body, allowing it to bond with a teenager named Andrea "Andi" Benton. Taking the name Mania, Benton became Agent Venom's partner for a time.
Angelo Fortunato first appeared in Marvel Knights Spider-Man #7 and was killed in issue #8. Angelo is the son of Don Fortunato, a prominent Mafia capo. His frail physique and shy attitude leave Angelo frequently bullied and humiliated by his father. Don attends a supervillain auction and purchases the Venom symbiote from Brock for $100 million. Brock warns Angelo of the symbiote, but Angelo rebuffs him, saying that he has nothing to lose. After bonding with the symbiote, Angelo discovers the secret identity of Spider-Man, and attempts to kill him to prove his worth. Spider-Man ultimately defeats Angelo and when he tries to escape, the symbiote abandons Angelo for his cowardice while he is leaping between buildings, leaving him to fall to his death. Spider-Man tried to save him, but he ran out of webs.
In the 2008 Spider-Man / Red Sonja miniseries, where Spider-Man and Red Sonja, possessing the body of Mary Jane, fought the evil wizard Kulan Gath, who had possessed a U.S. senator, Kulan detached the symbiote from Eddie and bonded to it, becoming Kulan Venom. Luckily, the symbiote returned to Eddie, following the defeat of Kulan.
Ms. Marvel (Carol Danvers)
During the Siege, Mac Gargan with the symbiote was fighting Spider-Man and Ms. Marvel. When they separated Mac from Venom, the symbiote briefly bonded to Carol and started flying away. But Carol gathered her powers and detached from the symbiote which rebonded to Mac.
Red Hulk (Thunderbolt Ross)
During the Circle of Four storyline, when Red Hulk came crashing into Flash's apartment so he can recruit him, the symbiote sensing Red Hulk as a danger, briefly bonds to him so he doesn't do any harm to Flash. Then when Red Hulk calms down, the symbiote returns to Flash. During the against Blackheart, Hulk bonded again with the symbiote along with Zarathos in order to prevent Hell from coming to Earth.
Superior Spider-Man (Otto Octavius)
When Flash Thompson with the symbiote was infiltrating into the Crime Master's men, Superior Spider-Man came attacking the criminals who was then confronted by Agent Venom. Doc Ock thinking that Venom was still evil attacked Flash with Web Shooters filled with burner fuel and in the process injured Flash. While Flash was recovering, Superior Spider-Man put the symbiote in a canister and gave Flash a pair of prosthetic legs. Then the symbiote broke out and instead of bonding to Flash it bonded to Superior Spider-Man since it was still connected to Peter's body. After bonding to the symbiote, Otto called himself the Superior Venom and went solving crime in a much more brutal way. Then Mary Jane called the Avengers to stop the Superior Venom. But the Avengers proved to be no match to Superior Venom since he had the abilities of Spider-Man powered by Venom with the mind of Doctor Octopus combined. In the fight Otto realizes that the symbiote was messing with his head and with the help of Peter's consciousness and Flash's (who had arrived in an Iron Man suit) he separated himself from Venom which returned to Flash.
Groot, Rocket Racoon and Drax
When Flash was part of the Guardians of the Galaxy he got separated from the symbiote and his team mates decided to send him to Earth. While traveling Groot accidentally bonds to the symbiote and started attacking the others. Then Rocket tried to save his friend, but the symbiote left Groot and bonded to him. Then he tried to convince them to leave "his" ship, but Drax grabbed Rocket by the tail and started bashing him to the walls until the symbiote bonded to Drax and defeated the whole team. Now the symbiote possessed Drax took control of the ship and went to a planet formed from symbiotes named Klyntar (later revealed to be Knull's cage) where the symbiote got purified and rebonded to Flash.
Mercurio the 4-D Man
Agent Venom as Venom Space Knight foils the Gramosian's attempts to steal resources from the home planets of the P'qui and the Wugin, and to acquire chemical weapons derived from the blood of kidnapped Vvexians.
Mercurio forces a Ruu'lto named Pik Rollo, whose child he is holding hostage, to try and assassinate Agent Venom, but Rollo instead betrays Mercurio, and joins forces with Venom. When the two lay siege to Mercurio's headquarters, he incapacitates and imprisons them, and separates the Venom symbiote from Flash Thompson. Sensing the symbiote's suppressed bloodlust, Mercurio attempts to convince it to join him, but it instead frees and returns to Thompson. The reformed Agent Venom and his allies proceed to dismantle Mercurio's forces, but Mercurio himself escapes, and swears vengeance on both the symbiote and Thompson.
A bout of temporary insanity that the Venom symbiote subsequently experiences is eventually discerned to have been caused by its brief fusion with Mercurio, whose evil had undone the mental "cleansing" that the creature had earlier undergone.
Mysterio (Quentin Beck)
In the mini-series symbiote Spider-Man in which explored the time when Spider-Man was still bonded to the symbiote, Mysterio blackmailed Black Cat into stealing a piece of Spider-Man's suit for him. When he had his friend, Jonathan Ohnn, the scientist of Kingpin, examine the piece, the symbiote controlling Peter's body came to retrieve it, however, after clashing with the men of Kingpin, was unable to find it and fled. Kingpin then had Mysterio tied up for interrogation, but the severed piece bonded to Mysterio which allowed him to overpower Kingpin and his men. He then went after Spider-Man in order to steal the suit and use it for himself.
Powers and abilities
Though it requires a living host in order to survive, the Venom symbiote has been shown to be adept at fending for itself independent of a host. The symbiote is capable of shapeshifting abilities, including the ability to form spikes or expand its size, as well as mimic the appearance of other humanoids after it has obtained a host. The organism can additionally use its shape-shifting abilities to conceal itself by altering its coloration or by becoming completely invisible. It also contains a small "dimensional aperture", allowing its hosts to carry items without adding mass to the costume. The symbiote also exhibits telepathic abilities, primarily when it needs to communicate with its host.
Because of its contact with Spider-Man, the symbiote grants all of its subsequent hosts that hero's powers and cannot be detected by his spider-sense. As Spider-Man's fighting style is partly dependent on his spider-sense, his effectiveness was somewhat hampered when he battled Eddie Brock. Retaining its memory from the time it was bonded with Spider-Man, Venom is also capable of producing webbing similar to Spider-Man's own variety created from itself.
The symbiote greatly enhances the physical strength of those it bonds with. Its hosts experience a vastly larger size and musculature. The symbiote displays non-human teeth, which are very sharp, and commonly protrudes a long tongue from its mouth. Venom is depicted as being physically much bigger than Spider-Man, as well as having more brute strength.
Venom exhibits some immunities to the supernatural powers of others such as the Penance Stare of Ghost Rider or Spider-Man's extrasensory spider-sense.
Some incarnations of the Venom symbiote have shown it able to replicate itself. This ability is shown in the 2005–2006 miniseries Spider-Man: Reign, when Venom recreates his own symbiote to combat his loneliness.
The Venom symbiote is vulnerable to fire and sonic waves, causing it great pain and exhaustion if it sustains enough exposure. It can sense and track all of its offspring symbiotes except Carnage, who learned how to block this ability shortly after bonding with Cletus Kasady and confronting Venom/Eddie Brock for the first time.
The Venom symbiote is shown to form giant Web-like dragon wings when it was in contact with Knull.
In other media
- Venom appeared in the 1990s Spider-Man animated series, with Spider-Man's version voiced by Christopher Daniel Barnes and Eddie Brock's version voiced by Hank Azaria. At the end of "The Alien Costume: Part Two", Brock becomes Venom after Spider-Man rejects the symbiote. At the end of "The Alien Costume: Part Three", Venom was defeated, separated from Brock, returned to space. Venom's last appearance was in the season three episodes "Venom Returns" and "Carnage", in which he teamed up with Spider-Man and Iron Man to combat Carnage, Dormammu, and Baron Mordo before sacrificing himself along with Eddie to ensure the villains' defeat.
- The Eddie Brock incarnation of Venom appears as a major antagonist in Spider-Man Unlimited, voiced by Brian Drummond. The Venom symbiote evolved into a more powerful form, being in full control of its host's body as well as acquiring the ability to change into a liquid-esque form and elastic powers. In the series, Venom and Carnage travel to Counter-Earth to join the Synoptic, a hive mind of symbiotes, and ally themselves with the High Evolutionary while secretly helping the Synoptic grow powerful enough to infect the planet's population with symbiotes. In the series finale, the two symbiotes manage to unleash the Synoptic on Counter-Earth.
- Venom appears in The Spectacular Spider-Man, with Spider-Man's version voiced by Josh Keaton and Eddie Brock's version voiced by Benjamin Diskin. In the episode "The Uncertainly Principle", the symbiote arrives on Earth by stowing away on John Jameson's space shuttle. After being rejected by Spider-Man, it bonds with Eddie to seek revenge in the episode "Intervention", but is ultimately defeated in the episode "Nature vs. Nurture". Venom reappeared in the season two episodes "First Steps", "Growing Pains", and "Identity Crisis", wherein it attempts to expose Spider-Man's secret identity, but its plans are foiled and he is separated from Eddie once more.
- The Venom symbiote appears in the Ultimate Spider-Man animated series. Its main hosts are Harry Osborn (voiced by Matt Lanter), the Green Goblin (voiced by Steven Weber), and Flash Thompson (voiced by Matt Lanter). In its self-titled episode, Doctor Octopus creates the Venom symbiote from a sample of Spider-Man's blood. After it escapes from its creators, it temporarily fuses with a number of characters, such as Flash and Spider-Man. Harry later bonds with the organism in the episode "Back in Black", and tries to become a hero to impress his father, but the symbiote takes control of him and fights Spider-Man's team before being defeated. The Venom symbiote resurfaces inside Harry in "Venomous" until it is seemingly destroyed by Doc Ock's Anti-Venom formula. In "The Rise of the Goblin", the Green Goblin tries to have Venom join him before taking the symbiote for himself. In "Carnage", he uses it to create the Carnage symbiote, but it is defeated by Harry using the trace amounts of Venom symbiote in his body before rejecting the symbiote's control. In "Venom Bomb", the Goblin uses it to infect the Helicarrier and become Venom himself until Spider-Man and Doc Ock create another Anti-Venom formula, destroying all remaining traces of the Venom symbiote. In "The Avenging Spider-Man", Doctor Octopus creates more of it and joins forces with Loki to form an army of symbiote-infected monsters, but it is ultimately defeated by the Avengers. In "Agent Venom", a piece of the Venom symbiote that survived the aforementioned battle with the Avengers attaches to Scorpion and later Flash, who shows an unusual amount of control over it and becomes Agent Venom.
- Venom appears in the 2013 animated special, Phineas and Ferb: Mission Marvel, voiced by Danny Trejo.
- Venom appears in the Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. episode "The Venom Inside". Doctor Octopus creates a new version of the Venom symbiote that gradually assimilates the titular characters to help dominate and destroy Spider-Man. However, the Hulks and Spider-Man eventually manage to defeat the Venom symbiote, although its fate is left unknown.
- Venom appears in Lego Marvel Super Heroes: Maximum Overload, voiced by Dee Bradley Baker. He is among the villains that get "overloaded" by Loki and is defeated by Spider-Man.
- Venom appears in the 2017 Spider-Man animated series, with Spider-Man's version voiced by Robbie Daymond and Eddie Brock's version voiced by Ben Pronsky. The Venom symbiote first appears in the episode "A Day in the Life" as the V-252, which the space program found inside a crashed meteor and sent to Horizon High for Max Modell to research. Black Cat briefly steals the symbiote to sell it on the black market, but Spider-Man defeats her and returns it. The symbiote briefly merges with Spider-Man from "Sandman" until "Stark Expo", and Flash Thompson during "Venom". In season two, the V-252 merges with Eddie Brock, who renames it Venom in "Dead Man's Party". In "Venom Returns", Venom is incapacitated by an experimental sonic device during a failed attempt to publicly expose Spider-Man's secret identity. In "Superior", Venom is reawakened by experimentation that alters its genealogy, enabling it to survive without a host, but it is defeated by Spider-Man. In the season three episode "Web of Venom" Pt. 2, Venom is accidentally freed by Dr. Curt Connors and absorbs a synthetic copy that Max had Spider-Man test. It makes his way to the meteor crash site and uses an energy seed to shoot a beam into space before Spider-Man kills it. In "Amazing Friends" however, the beam is revealed to be a beacon that summoned the other Klyntar from Venom's home planet and directed them to Earth.
- The Venom symbiote appears in the Avengers Assemble episode "The Immortal Weapon". After the Beyonder formed Battleworld for an experiment, a satellite containing a Venom symbiote crashed into K'un-L'un, allowing it to escape, find its way to Dracula, and bond with him. Using his new powers, the vampire fought off Iron Fist, Black Panther, Falcon before Iron Fist uses his powers to separate Dracula from the symbiote.
- The Venom symbiote appears in the Guardians of the Galaxy episode "Drive Me Carnage". A sample of it was held at Horizon High and possessed Spider-Man during the titular team's fight with a Carnage-possessed Thanos.
Venom's first appearance in a motion picture was originally planned for a titular film written by David S. Goyer and produced by New Line Cinema, in which Venom would have been portrayed as an antihero and Carnage as the antagonist. By 2007, the film rights to Venom had reverted to Sony Pictures.
Eddie Brock / Venom appears as the main antagonist of the 2007 feature film Spider-Man 3, played by Topher Grace. In the film, the symbiote, after being rejected by Peter Parker, joins with Brock after the rival freelance photographer is publicly exposed and ruined by Parker. Venom seeks an alliance with Flint Marko / Sandman to kill Spider-Man, but is thwarted in his plans and killed by one of the New Goblin's pumpkin bombs.
In July 2007, Sony executive Avi Arad revealed a spin-off of Sam Raimi's Spider-Man trilogy focused on the Venom symbiote was in the planning stages, with Jacob Aaron Estes commissioned to write a script, tentatively entitled "Venom". In September 2008, Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick signed on to write the film after Estes' script was rejected, while Gary Ross would direct. Variety reported that Venom would become an anti-hero in the film, and Marvel Entertainment would produce the film. This potential film was ultimately cancelled.
The Amazing Spider-Man series
The Venom symbiote has a cameo appearance at the end of the 2014 feature film The Amazing Spider-Man 2 inside Oscorp, in a scene featuring Gustav Fiers. In the viral marketing campaign for The Amazing Spider-Man 2 a Daily Bugle article by Eddie Brock detailing Cletus Kasady's capture was featured, with Anne Weying being mentioned in another article.
In March 2012, Josh Trank was in talks to direct a new Venom film as a part of The Amazing Spider-Man film series. In December 2013, Sony officially announced two spin-offs of The Amazing Spider-Man film series, one of which was a Venom film called Venom: Carnage, written by Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci and Ed Solomon, with Kurtzman directing it. In September 2014, Kurtzman stated that they had been considering different incarnations of the character, including Eddie Brock, Anne Weying, and Flash Thompson. The movie, along with the other spin-offs, was cancelled prior to the studios' contract agreement with Marvel Studios.
Sony Pictures Universe of Marvel Characters
In March 2016, following the introduction of Spider-Man to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it was announced that Sony was moving forward with a standalone film after hiring Dante Harper to write the script, and Arad, Matt Tolmach and Amy Pascal producing. The film was initially reported to have no connection to the MCU nor have any relation to Spider-Man; it would be set in its own continuity. A year later, Sony announced that Venom would be released on October 5, 2018 with Scott Rosenberg and Jeff Pinkner signed on as screenwriters. It was reported to be Rated R and be the first in a series of Spider-Man character-related spin-off films called "Sony Pictures Universe of Marvel Characters". In May 2017, Tom Hardy was announced to be cast as Eddie Brock / Venom, with Ruben Fleischer attached to direct. Carlton Drake / Riot appeared as the film's primary antagonist, as did Anne Weying, Brock's ex-wife from the comics. The film has been described by Fleischer as taking inspiration from the works of David Cronenberg and John Carpenter. The supporting cast also consists of Riz Ahmed, Michelle Williams, and Jenny Slate. Variety reported that Kelly Marcel would write the script with Pinkner and Rosenberg. Filming officially began on October 23, 2017. Venom was released in the United States on October 5, 2018 with a PG-13 rating.
Venom, primarily the Eddie Brock incarnation, serves as a boss and a playable character in multiple Spider-Man and non-Spider-Man related video games over the years. The symbiote suit also appears as an alternate costume for Spider-Man in several games.
- The Eddie Brock incarnation of Venom first appears as a boss character in the Mega-CD/Sega CD version of The Amazing Spider-Man vs. The Kingpin.
- The Eddie Brock incarnation of Venom is both a protagonist and playable character in Spider-Man and Venom: Maximum Carnage and Venom/Spider-Man: Separation Anxiety.
- The Eddie Brock incarnation of Venom appears as a boss in The Amazing Spider-Man: Lethal Foes.
- The Eddie Brock incarnation of Venom appears as the final boss in the 1995 Spider-Man game based on the 1990s animated series.
- The Eddie Brock incarnation of Venom appears as a boss and later a supporting character in the 2000 Spider-Man video game, voiced by Daran Norris. This version of Venom is dark blue rather than black and also has the ability to turn invisible. After learning Spider-Man attacked Otto Octavius' science exposition, Venom kidnaps the hero's wife Mary Jane Watson and luring Spider-Man into the sewers to exact revenge. After defeating Venom, Spider-Man reveals he was framed, and they join forces to figure out who did it. Venom later helps Spider-Man fight Carnage, though he is defeated, and rescues him alongside Captain America and Black Cat from Doctor Octopus' self-destructing base at the end of the game.
- The Ultimate Marvel iteration of Venom appears as a playable character and the final boss in the Ultimate Spider-Man video game, with Eddie Brock voiced by Daniel Capallaro and Venom voiced by Arthur Burghardt. The symbiote suit is also available as an alternate costume for Spider-Man and appears briefly in the game's opening scene. In a separate storyline that crosses over with Spider-Man's, Venom is hunted by Bolivar Trask, who wants the symbiote for experimentation. After being captured by Silver Sable following a battle with Spider-Man, Eddie is forced to test the symbiote for Trask by fighting Electro and track down Peter, whose DNA will supposedly improve Eddie's control over the symbiote, but Venom escapes. He later defeats the Beetle and interferes in a fight between Peter and Sable, which leads to him being defeated and captured by Trask again. After escaping and defeating Peter after he was bonded to the Carnage symbiote, Venom absorbs it off Peter, gaining complete control over his own symbiote in the process. Though Spider-Man stops him from killing Trask, Venom escapes from prison and does so anyway.
- The Eddie Brock incarnation of Venom (voiced by Topher Grace) appears in the Spider-Man 3 video game. Similarly to the film, Spider-Man removes the symbiote after it becomes a negative influence on his behavior, only for it to then bond with Eddie, who seeks revenge against both Spider-Man and Peter Parker. Adopting the Venom alias, he blackmails the Sandman into helping him kill Spider-Man, but meets his demise during the final battle.
- The Eddie Brock incarnation of Venom appears as a playable character in Spider-Man: Friend or Foe, voiced by Quinton Flynn. In the opening cutscene, he is seen fighting Spider-Man alongside other villains until they are all attacked by P.H.A.N.T.O.M.s created by Mysterio using shards of the meteor that brought the Venom symbiote to Earth. Venom is captured along with the other villains, placed under mind control, and sent to Transylvania to retrieve a meteor shard located there. After Spider-Man defeats Venom using sonic vibrations and destroys the mind-control device, he joins forces with the web-slinger to exact revenge on Mysterio; becoming a playable character.
- The Eddie Brock incarnation of Venom serves as the main antagonist and the final boss of Spider-Man: Web of Shadows, voiced by Keith Szarabajka. During this game, part of his symbiote splits off from him and bonds with Spider-Man, giving him access to the black suit again. Venom attacks Manhattan with an army of symbiotes, forcing Spider-Man to join forces with S.H.I.E.L.D., the Kingpin, and many others to defeat him. Following several encounters, Spider-Man confronts Venom at S.H.I.E.L.D.'s Helicarrier after he takes on a giant, five-headed form. Despite destroying four of the heads, Spider-Man fails to kill Venom, so he appeals to Eddie's better nature. After Eddie emerges from Venom, Spider-Man can either kill Venom himself or allow Eddie to sacrifice himself to do so. No matter which choice is made, Venom dies, allowing Spider-Man to stop the invasion or take control of the symbiotes himself.
- In the PS2 and PSP versions of the game, the Tinkerer captures Venom after he attacks Manhattan with his symbiote army and the final boss is a large symbiote with seven heads that contains Venom's consciousness.
- In the Nintendo DS version, Venom is not the cause of the invasion. Instead, he is trying to stop it as well, and becomes an ally of Spider-Man after he defeats him.
- In Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions, Ultimate Spider-Man (voiced by Josh Keaton) is provided a copy of the Venom symbiote suit that Madame Web telepathically controls to prevent it from consuming him.
- Two versions of the black suit appear as alternate costumes for Spider-Man in The Amazing Spider-Man game. One is based on its appearance in Spider-Man 3 and the other is a modified version of Spider-Man's costume from the film the game is based on. Backstory for the game also reveals that the game's version of Scorpion was created using a "black goo" recovered from space.
- The Venom symbiote is referenced in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 video game. Oscorp runs a secret experiment at Ravencroft called the "Venom Project", using nanites as regenerating body armor that grant enhanced strength. This project is what gives Cletus Kasady the Carnage symbiote near the end of the game. The symbiote suit is also available as an alternate costume for Spider-Man via DLC.
- The Eddie Brock version of Venom appears in the mobile version of the game, voiced by Benjamin Diskin. Originally a photographer who tricks Spider-Man into fighting crooks and allowing him to take pictures of him in action, Eddie later investigates Oscorp but gets caught, forcing Spider-Man to save him. However, upon investigating a second time, Eddie discovers their illegal activities and is transformed into Venom, who goes on a rampage through the city until Spider-Man defeats him and removes the symbiote from him. Eddie explains what happened before passing out and Spider-Man takes him to the hospital.
- Numerous versions of Venom appear as playable characters in Spider-Man Unlimited. Additionally, the Eddie Brock version of Venom appeared as a boss in the "Symbiote Dimension" limited time event. Later, Maniac and Inkling versions of Black Cat, Hammerhead, and Mac Gargan were included in the "Venom Inc" event.
- In the 2018 Spider-Man video game, Norman Osborn places his terminally ill son Harry in a green vat containing a black substance resembling the Venom symbiote in an attempt to cure him. This substance is also shown to be responsive, as it reacts to Norman placing his hand on the vat and copies him.
- The Eddie Brock incarnation of Venom appears as a playable character in a number of fighting games, including Marvel vs. Capcom: Clash of Super Heroes, Marvel vs. Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes (voiced by Rod Wilson), and Marvel Nemesis: Rise of the Imperfects (voiced by Jason Bryden). He is also playable via downloadable content in Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite. The symbiote suit appears as an unlockable costume for Spider-Man in Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds and Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3.
- The Venom symbiote appears as an unlockable costume for Spider-Man in X-Men: Mutant Academy 2.
- Venom appears in the Marvel Ultimate: Alliance series of video games:
- The Eddie Brock incarnation is included in the downloadable "Villains Pack" expansion for the Xbox 360 version of Marvel: Ultimate Alliance, voiced by Steven Blum. Venom's Classic, Marvel Knights, Thunderbolts and Ultimate designs also appear as alternate skins. The Venom symbiote is also available as an alternate costume for Spider-Man.
- The Mac Gargan incarnation appears as a boss and a playable character in Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2, voiced by Chopper Bernet. Eddie Brock's incarnation also appears as an alternate costume. In the game's story, Venom is among the villains placed under mind control using nanite technology to serve the heroes' cause and can be on either the pro-registration side or anti-registration side. During a battle between the two factions, Venom is among the villains that attack S.H.I.E.L.D. agents and set up bombs after the nanites attain sentience.
- In the PS3, Xbox 360, PS4, Xbox One and PC versions, the heroes fight Venom and the Green Goblin while a Nick Fury LMD tries to disarm some of the bombs. Later at Prison 42, Venom attacks S.H.I.E.L.D. agents while the other nanite-controlled supervillains attack both sides. After following a transmission from Fury's nanite-controlled form to Wakanda, Venom and the Goblin attack the heroes in Black Panther's palace. Following their being defeated and cured, Venom and the Goblin are unlocked as playable characters.
- In the PSP, Wii, and PS2 versions, the players fight Venom in Prison 42.
- The Eddie Brock incarnation appears as a boss and then a playable character in Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order, voiced again by Steven Blum. After escaping from the Raft, he joined the Sinister Six and fights heroes sent to stop them alongside Electro. After being defeated, Spider-Man persuades Venom to join the heroes' side and help save the universe, though Venom maintains his animosity towards the web-slinger.
- The Eddie Brock incarnation of Venom is available as downloadable content for the game LittleBigPlanet as part of "Marvel Costume Kit 3".
- The Eddie Brock incarnation of Venom appears as a playable character in Marvel Super Hero Squad Online, voiced by Travis Willingham. The black suit also serves as an alternate costume for Spider-Man.
- The Eddie Brock incarnation of Venom appears as a playable character in the fighting game Marvel Avengers: Battle for Earth, voiced by Roger Craig Smith.
- The Eddie Brock incarnation of Venom appears as a playable character in Marvel Heroes, voiced by Neil Kaplan. The symbiote suit also appears as an alternate costume for Spider-Man.
- The Eddie Brock, Mac Gargan, and Flash Thompson incarnations of Venom appear as playable characters in Marvel Puzzle Quest.
- Venom appears in both Lego Marvel Super Heroes games:
- The Eddie Brock version appears as a playable character and a boss in Lego Marvel Super Heroes, voiced by Dave Boat. A bigger incarnation also appears as a different skin for the character while the symbiote suit is available as an alternate costume for Spider-Man via downloadable content. In the game's story, Venom resides in Oscorp's lower levels along with symbiote-infected scientists. He fights Spider-Man, Black Widow and Hawkeye after the Green Goblin sends them there, and while the heroes succeed, they fail to prevent the Goblin from escaping with a Cosmic Brick. In the final level, Venom is enlisted by Nick Fury to aid the heroes in stopping Loki and Galactus from destroying Earth and Asgard.
- Both the Eddie Brock and Flash Thompson incarnations of Venom appear as playable characters in Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2. In the game's story, Spider-Man, Ms. Marvel, She-Hulk, Spider-Gwen, and Spider-Man 2099 break into Alchemax, but are attacked by scientists infected by Venom and Carnage's symbiotes. Later, Green Goblin 2099 uses a shard of the Nexus of All Realities to fuse Venom and Carnage into a new creature he can control that Spider-Man dubs "Carnom". Carnom is defeated by the heroes, who free him from the Goblin's control. As the heroes claim the shard, Carnom pursues Goblin 2099 in retaliation for his abuse. Carnom is also available as a playable character in the game.
- The Eddie Brock incarnation of Venom appears as a playable character in Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes and Disney Infinity 3.0, voiced by Matt Lanter. He is playable in the Spider-Man playset.
- The Eddie Brock incarnation of Venom appears as a playable character and occasional level or quest boss in the mobile game Marvel Contest of Champions. The game also features three exclusive Venom derivative characters: VenomPool (a mixture of Venom and Deadpool), Venom the Duck (a mixture of Venom and Howard the Duck), and Symbiote Supreme (a mixture of Venom and Doctor Strange).
- The Eddie Brock incarnation of Venom appears as a playable character in Marvel: Future Fight.
- The Eddie Brock incarnation of Venom appears as a playable character in Marvel Avengers Academy, voiced by Brian Stivale.
Comics journalist and historian Mike Conroy writes of the character: "What started out as a replacement costume for Spider-Man turned into one of the Marvel web-slinger's greatest nightmares." Venom was ranked as the 22nd Greatest Comic Book Villain of All Time in IGN's list of the top 100 comic villains. IGN also ranked Mac Gargan's incarnation of Venom as #17 in their list of "The Top 50 Avengers", while the Flash Thompson incarnation was ranked as #27. The character was listed as #33 on Empire's 50 Greatest Comic Book Characters and was also ranked at #8 in Marvel's Top 10 Spider-Verse Characters.
- Venom X-Men Blue Poison-X
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