Venom is a Marvel Comics character, and arguably one of the most famous of Spider-Man's Rogues Gallery, though over time his character and motivation have evolved. To date there have been four different men and two women who have assumed the mantle of Venom. The Eddie Brock version of the character was playable in the video game adaptation to the Maximum Carnage story arc, then in Separation Anxiety, and later, the first and second Marvel vs. Capcom, making the leap from comic to video game. Mac Gargan was playable as Venom in the second Marvel Ultimate Alliance game, with Eddie Brock's appearance as an alternate costume. Brock, as Anti-Venom, is an antagonist in Spider-Man: Edge of Time, marking that version of the character's first appearance in a video-game.Venom's origin began with an alien symbiote that was used to build a new suit for Spider-Man, inspired design-wise by the second Spider-Woman (Julia Carpenter) during their team-up in Secret Wars. The costume change was initially unpopular with fans (although the black costume would later be brought back as fans began to like it a bit more) so it quickly went through a Retcon as an alien symbiote that wanted to bond with Peter Parker. Horrified, Spidey managed to repel the symbiote by taking advantage of its weakness to sonic noises via church bells. Some writers and editors did not like Peter's motivation at the time so there was a second Retcon that the suit was more powerful than his ordinary suit, but was slowly driving him insane with rage.The creature ultimately survived, going on to bond to a series of hosts (many that bore grudges against Spider-Man), developing from a lonely alien creature to a bloodthirsty monstrosity, and remains one of Spider-Man's deadliest foes, despite of and due to the lingering desire it still possesses for him. Its popularity among creators and fans has made it among the most memorable of Spider-Man's Rogues Gallery. Currently it is bonded to long-time Spider-Man supporting character Flash Thompson, and as such featured in Venom Volume 2 and Thunderbolts Volume 2. After Venom Vol. 2 was cancelled, Flash appeared in the "Darkest Hours" Superior Spider-Man story arc, and worked with Scarlet Spider to save the Microverse from Carnage. Agent Venom then went on to join the Guardians of the Galaxy; while it was initially hinted that Flash might not be the one wearing the symbiote, this was ultimately proven not to be the case.The symbiote remaining bonded to Spider-Man or bonding to a character other than Eddie Brock has been the focus of numerous What Ifs, and alternate versions of the character are present in alternate universes, most prominently in Ultimate Marvel and Marvel 2099.Venom has so far had three entries into Marvel Avengers Alliance - Mac Gargan Venom appears as a boss, Flash Thompson as Agent Venom was added as a playable character in December 2013 (though Mac Gargan is still Venom as well, according to Spec Ops 18, where the two Venoms meet face to face), and Eddie Brock as Anti-Venom was added as a playable character in May 2014.In animated adaptations of Spider-Man featuring the character, the Eddie Brock version of Venom has been the sole version to appear until Ultimate Spider-Man, in which an adaptation of the Ultimate Marvel version of Venom appeared with Harry Osborn of all people as its host. In season 3, Flash Thompson takes up the mantle as Agent Venom and becomes and Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.Eddie Brock appeared in Spider-Man 3, acquiring the symbiote late in the film before being killed. Sony has announced that Venom will be getting a spinoff film set in The Amazing Spider-Man Series. No word yet on who will be wearing the suit or, judging by the Oscorp Meta Origin running throughout the series, if Peter will even wear the suit this time, although Eddie Brock has been introduced in promotional material.For tropes related to indivdual hosts or characters from the series, there is a Character Sheet here.
Spider-Man: Edge of Time: Symbiote Spider-Man and Poison (as DLC) are alternate skins, and Anti-Venom is a main antagonist.
Marvel Avengers Alliance: The Black Suit is an alternate skin for Spider-Man, and Eddie Brock/Anti-Venom and Flash Thompson/Agent Venom are unlockable characters. The Mac Gargan Venom appears as a recurring boss, and Hybrid, Scream and Carnage are bosses in SpecOps 18: Symbiosis.
The Amazing Spider-Man: The Venom symbiote was discovered and bonded to the Scorpion (here a human/scorpion cross-breed) by Oscorp.
The Amazing Spiderman 2: The synthetic Black Suit is an alternate costume for Spider-Man in the console versions, and the "Venom Project" plays a major role in the final arc of the game. Venom appears as a boss and Symbiote Spider-Man is an alternate costume in the iOS and Android versions. Spider-Carnage is an unlockable costume.
Truth in Journalism: An Eighties set fan film where Eddie Brock (played by Ryan Kwanten) is followed around by a French film crew in the aftermath of the Sin-Eater story scandal. Things then get seriously Man Bites Dog...
Tropes pertaining to the Venom Symbiote:
Adaptive Armor: What the symbiote often acts as for the host. The Hunger miniseries also shows it is capable of forming an exoskeleton resembling that of a Xenomorph. Bonus points for it resembling body armor when bonded to Flash, and Agent Venom's "Mark III" concept art even has "H.R. Giger-y bioarmor" as a design note.
All Webbed Up: The symbiote produces organic webbing from its biomass, and Peter has exploited this to weaken it.
Marvel Comics 2: Eddie had died at an unspecified point, and the symbiote was captured by S.H.I.E.L.D.. After escaping custody, the symbiote tracks down and possesses the retired Peter, creating "Spider-Venom◊". Peter is freed by the combined efforts of Spider-Girl (his daughter, Mayday) and Phil Ulrich, and the symbiote falls into the hands of the Goblin Queen, who sics it on Normie Osborne in a plot to convert him to her side. After an intense struggle, Normie overpowers and gradually rehabilitates the symbiote, which goes on to sacrifice itself in an attempt to stop the Hobgoblin.
In Spider-Man: Fairy Tales #3 Venom is a Tsuchigumo responsible for the deaths of Izumi's parents and uncle. In an attempt to corrupt Izumi, it bit him, giving him an arachnid-based appearance, and the customary spider powers.
Marvel Mangaverse: Venom is Peter's cousin, an exiled member of the Spider Clan, and the one who killed Peter's Uncle Ben, wearing a uniform similar in appearance to Symbiote Spider-Man. The symbiote itself appears as a cursed amulet that takes over Peter, turning his costume black and making him more aggressive, but Venom sacrifices himself to free Peter from its influence and redeem himself. He later reappears in a more monstrous form and becomes Peter's sensei.
Marvel Zombies: Eddie is a zombie, and the symbiote (one of the few entities immune to the plague) is dying due to a lack of viable hosts.
Old Man Logan: The symbiote is stalking Wolverine and Hawkeye, and eventually attacks them after possessing a T-rex.
Spider-Man India:Nalin Oberoi's attempt to corrupt Pavitr Prabhakar with an evil amulet causes Prabhakar to briefly look like Venom. Pavitr destroys the amulet, but the evil reforms as a Blob Monster elsewhere.
Spider-Man/Red Sonja: Venom is manipulated into going after Spider-Man and Red Sonja by Kulan Gath, who later takes the symbiote from Eddie, and forcibly bonds with it to become "Kulan Venom".
Venom: Man-Spider and the Red Ssssonjaa!!! My master calls for thy blood!
Spider-Man: Venom?! And he's talking all Tolkieny?
Reign: Posing as "Edward Saks", Venom takes over New York City following Spider-Man's retirement and sets up a number of provisions in preparation for his eventual return: re-enlisting the "Sinner Six", replicating his symbiote thousands of times, and building a security system called "WEBB" that prevents New York citizens from escaping from the city.
Rune vs. Venom: A symbiote that survived Planet of the Symbiotes thanks to possessing Malibu Comics character Rune tries to instigate another invasion, and avenge the failure of the first one by killing "race traitor" Venom.
Ultimate Marvel: The "Venom Suit" is a bio-engineered protoplasmic entity created as a cancer cure. Unfortunately, this "symbiote" is unfinished and genetically tailored to the Parker family's DNA, so it starts devouring any other host that tries to wear it (like Ultimate Eddie Brock) forcing them to consume the biomass of other beings to survive.
What If?: Too many to list, but some prominent ones are:
What If... Venom Had Possessed the Punisher: Frank Castle reaches the church shortly before Eddie Brock does and bonds with the symbiote, eventually subjugating it and going on to become more lethal than ever.
What If the Alien Costume Had Possessed Spider-Man?: The symbiote remains bonded to Peter Parker, aging him at an accelerated rate until he dies. The symbiote bonds to the Hulk, explaining that it didn't want to kill Peter and is curing Bruce Banner to redeem itself, but Thor attacks Venom-Hulk and winds up bonded to it himself. Black Bolt removes the symbiote, but before it can be imprisoned Black Cat kills it to avenge Peter Parker's death.
What If? Brave New World: When the Secret War participants are trapped on Battleworld, the symbiote bonds mind and body to Peter Parker, leaving him a skeleton with the symbiote's biomass forming their body.
What If? Spider-Man: The Other: Following his "death" at the hands of Morlun, Peter rejects embracing the Other and kills his Inner Spider, leaving his metamorphosis incomplete. The Venom symbiote senses this and abandons Mac Gargan to rejoin with its first host and finish his transformation, creating a new being called Poison.
What if the Venom Symbiote Possessed Deadpool?: Deadpool bonds with the Venom symbiote to become Venompool. Venompool destroyed his home universe with the Recton Expungifier, but was later shown as a member of Dreadpool's Evil Deadpool Corps, being killed in Deadpool Kills Deadpool Vol. 1 #4.
Always Chaotic Evil/Horde of Alien Locusts: The symbiotes, Depending on the Writer, are always evil and make their hosts go crazy or they feed off negative emotions, but in either case, they are not nice. The Venom symbiote and its progeny are apparently the only ones who care for their hosts. Of course, even then, the Venom symbiote is often depicted as the insanely jealous type.
Angel Face, Demon Face: The way the symbiote costume looks ties closely with the relative morality of the host. On the heroic side, Peter's suit looks more or less like his usual costume but in black; heroic soldier Flash Thompson wears what looks like body armor (unless he loses his temper); and in the Spider-Girl series, Normie Osborn had what looked like the usual suit but with his face visible underneath and no fangs. On the evil side of things, Eddie Brock's costume has More Teeth than the Osmond Family and a lolling tongue; and when the eviler Mac Gargan wears the symbiote it looks even more freaky and bestial than Brock's usual version (unless he uses a Power Limiter).
Animal-Themed Superbeing: Venom is a spider-based villain, justified in that the symbiote's first and favorite host was Spider-Man. Considering its third host was called The Scorpion, this trope was doubled, in a way.
Badass Grandpa: The symbiote is dangerous even without its hosts, has lived a very long time, and it is also a "grandfather", having grandchildren called Toxin and Scorn.
Blank White Eyes: The symbiote has large white eyes originally in the shape of Spider-Man's lenses, though after bonding to Eddie Brock they became distorted. When bonded to him, Mac Gargan's own eyes were visible within the symbiote's, although tinted green with Hellish Pupils; and when under control Venom IV's eyes are black lenses rimmed with white.
Blatant Lies: Reassures Flash Thompson it prefers him to Eddie Brock... immediately before abandoning him to rebond with Eddie, proclaiming "Home, sweet symbiosis!" Flash had to plead with it and remind it that Eddie would constantly fight it for it to return to him.
Brutal Honesty: The symbiote cares nothing for tact when it criticizes someone.
Category Traitor: Deemed this by the symbiote that took over Rune in Venom vs. Rune.
Characterization Marches On: The symbiote was exiled from its planet for refusing to kill its hosts, which deemed it a freak amongst its species. That's right, Venom was the one exception to an Always Chaotic Evil race. Of course, this characterization doesn't make a good villain, and was promptly forgotten by every writer on the planet, as nowadays it's usually presented as a man-eating parasitic monstrosity.
Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Its favorite hosts are Spider-Man and Eddie Brock in that order, and if the opportunity to rebond with either of them presents itself the symbiote will happily screw over its current host to do so.
Clingy Costume: It does not like letting go of a host, and in fact the reason it hates Spider-Man so much is because of how close they came to being permanently bonded before he rejected it and forced them apart.
During the Minimum Carnage arc, Marquis Radu creates clones of the Venom and Carnage symbiotes in the body banks and fuses them together. Carnage cheerfully dubs the union incestuous and seizes control of the clones to kill Venom.
Clothes Make the Superman: The symbiote can bestow superpowers on mundane hosts, mainly patterned after Spider-Man's due to its absorption of his DNA, and can also drastically boost the powers of superpowered hosts. A deconstruction, as it shows exactly what happens when your clothes have that kind of power...
Combat Tentacles: The symbiote can project pseudopodia and tendrils to attack and restrain prey, although Venom usually uses them in the guise of webbing.
Venom murdered a Vault Guardsman during one of his escapes. The man's wealthy father assembled a group of his son's grieving friends, gave them Powered Armor, and dubbed them "The Jury". Pyre also gave the impression of being Venom's equivalent of... himself, being an Intrepid Reporter who irrationally blamed his life's ruination on Venom. Fittingly, he became living microwave radiation.
Deal with the Devil: The symbiote made a deal with Mephisto to obtain demonic powers via the Hell Mark, though it later admitted this was a mistake.
Dem Bones: In a What If? story that showed what would have happened if everyone had remained on Battleworld, Spider-Man and the symbiote's minds eventually became one, and Spidey's body has been reduced to nothing more than a skeleton they use as a base for their humanoid form.
Demonic Possession: Daimon Hellstrom possesses the symbiote with a powerful demon to turn it into one of his Monsters of Evil, but Venom uses the hell mark to suppress it. While the symbiote and the demon initially get along, the symbiote realizes the demon is slowly pulling a Grand Theft Me on it and shunts the hell mark and demon onto its long-devoured clone, which it pukes up and bonds to Andi, turning her into Mania.
It didn't have fangs when bonded to Peter. Mac Gargan as the Sinister Spider-Man, Flash as Agent Venom, and SpOck as Superior Venom also tend to have smooth masks as long as they keep the symbiote under control, although they can form toothy jaws at will to either scare or eat opponents.
Food Chain of Evil: The symbiotes are the preferred prey of the Xenophages, who find ones that have been bonded to their host for a long time (like Venom) to be particularly delectable. Them aside, symbiotes seem to be feared as one of the galaxy's alpha predators, if Zzxz is any indication.
One of the worlds they conquered was eaten by Galactus. Due to their Genetic Memory, the entire species is now innately terrified of him, to the point that the mere sight of the Silver Surfer caused the Carnage symbiote to experience a Freak Out, one that was severe enough to briefly traumatize Cletus (who the symbiote left out of fright).
From Nobody to Nightmare: A meta example, seeing as how the symbiote started out as a new costume for Spider-Man and was initially unpopular with fans, so it was retconned into an alien parasite that later became one of Spider-Man's most dangerous and popular enemies.
Genetic Memory: Possesses genetic memories of its prior hosts and the symbiote species' prior conquests.
Glasgow Grin: Its mouth is disturbingly wide and lacks cheeks.
Handicapped Badass: The US Army used a drug - possibly the same one Norman Osborn gave Mac Gargan - to chemically lobotomize the symbiote, greatly limiting its ability to influence Flash. However, the drug's effects only lasts for 48 hours and the symbiote has found ways to work around it.
Healing Factor: Various stories have shown that the symbiotes can heal damage inflicted to their host. During his stint as Anti-Venom, Eddie Brock had his head blown apart by a gunshot from The Punisher. He promptly reconstituted his head and attacked Frank Castle in a rage, only further fuelled by Castle's willingness to shoot through Jenna Cole to kill a drug dealer. Another example of this occurred when Flash Thompson was almost disemboweled by Toxin, and was no worse for wear a couple of days later thanks to the Venom symbiote healing him.
Hungry Menace: Much like its Ultimate counterpart, the symbiote has become a ravenous blob of teeth and tentacles, albeit one that is sentient and can even talk.
Iconic Logo: The stylized white spider emblem on its chest and back, though each host other than Peter, Eddie, and Mania - who share the same design - has a unique variation.
Lost in Imitation: The idea that the symbiote was turning Peter evil as part of its efforts to merge with him stems from the 1994 Spiderman The Animated Series cartoon, and was promptly adopted into the comics due to the fact that the initial depiction of the seperation kind of made Peter look like the bad guy.
Loud of War: Its biggest weakness is high-frequency sounds.
Magic Enhancement: The Grim Hunt, Venom Vol. 1, and upcoming Spider Verse arcs imply that the symbiote's bonding to Spider-Man connected it to the Web of Life, the supernatural force that empowers all spider-themed superheroes and villains. The symbiote also bargained with Mephisto to receive demonic powers, but that didn't pan out as well as it would have liked.
More Teeth than the Osmond Family: After bonding with Eddie the symbiote consistently manifests a wide mouth of fangs even when not bonded to a host. Spider-Man practically said this word-for-word in one story.
Muscles Are Meaningful: The symbiote significantly bulks its host up, although Flash's default form is more Heroic Build. In an early appearance Brock mentions that the suit amplifies his own strength, so if the host gets stronger, Venom becomes exponentially stronger. This is more evident with Mac Gargan, whose strength was amplified from 15 tons to 60 tons by the symbiote.
Mythology Gag: The bewildered self-examinatory pose Spider-Man is striking on the cover of Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars Vol 1 #8, which explains how he got the symbiote, has been used at least three other times: once by Mac Gargan after becoming the Sinister Spider-Man, once as a parody on a cover of Marvel Zombies, and once by Ai Apaec when Norman Osborn turned him into a six-armed Black Suit Spider-Man lookalike.
No Biological Sex: Has no sexual characteristics or gender identity. The default third-person pronoun for the symbiote is "it", though Flash occasionally refers to the symbiote using male pronouns.
No Sell: Surprisingly enough, the symbiote is immune to Ghost Rider's Penance Stare and actually causes Johnny Blaze to burn out.
Due to their unique heritages, Lyra and Senator Ward are apparently completely immune to the symbiote, and everything it can throw at them. The latter was able to handle it like it was nothing more than a blob of silly putty.
A group of Skrulls who attempt to take the symbiote from Flash and have it bond to one of them discover, just a little too late, that it prefers Flash.
Offing the Offspring: Instinctually hates Carnage, its spawn. The Venom/Carnage miniseries states this is the norm, and that a symbiote having anything other than an antagonistic relationship with its offspring would be weird.
One-Winged Angel: Since Venom's first solo mini, most incarnations have been known to pull one of these off at times when they really lose control.
Picky People Eater: When bonded to Eddie, the symbiote had a thing for brains, which was explained as it needing a chemical found in brains to survive. After abandoning Eddie, it's become much less picky about who and what it eats.
Power Copying: The symbiote tends to copy something that its host had if it was a power. With Peter, it was his entire collection of powers save the Spider-Sense. With Mac, it was a scorpion tail. With the Superior Spider-Man, it was a set of waldoes that it turned into Combat Tentacles.
Power Nullifier: The symbiote set off Peter's Spider-Sensewhen it first bonded to him, but it spent so long bonded to him that once it bonded to Eddie it no longer registered as a threat. Though there have been one or two instances of Spider-Man sensing Venom, either due to continuity errors, or to imply that Venom can "turn off" the nullification ability.
Psychic-Assisted Suicide: Killed the invading symbiotes in Planet of the Symbiotes with a psychic scream. The only symbiote not adversely effected in some way was Carnage.
Puppeteer Parasite: While bonded to Peter, the symbiote would take his body out for crime-fighting joy-rides while he was sleeping. After bonding to Eddie the symbiote developed a habit of usurping control of its subsequent hosts Mac Gargan and Flash and going on feeding frenzies.
While Venom and Carnage refer to themselves using terms like "we" in Spider-Man Unlimited it's clear that the symbiotes have completely overtaken Eddie and Cletus, and are doing their own thing (serving their Eldritch AbominationHive Queen). Eddie is able to briefly gain control at the end of One is the Loneliest Number, but only because he and the symbiote had only just re-bonded after having been separated for some time.
"The Reason You Suck" Speech: If given the opportunity to speak for itself, the symbiote is fond of dishing out scathing remarks and criticisms to both its opponents and unsatisfactory hosts.
Reformed But Not Tamed: The symbiote actually prefers Flash as a host, or so it said just before ditching him for Eddie - although it did return to him - but that doesn't stop it from taking him over and eating people when it gets mad.
Royal "We": The symbiote likes to be acknowledged by its host and often takes offence if they don't use second person pronouns.
Shooting Superman: The symbiote can absorb gunfire and even send it right back, but according to Flash high-caliber weapons can still penetrate it.
Starfish Alien: As a symbiotic shapeshifting blob from outer space, definitely qualifies.
Stronger with Age: According to Flash, the symbiote is magnitudes more powerful than it was when it first bonded to Peter, and Klaw deduces that the more hosts a symbiote bonds to the stronger it becomes.note He was referring to the Carnage symbiote, but the logic still applies to Venom
Synchronization: Even if physically separated from their respective symbiotes, Eddie and Cletus maintain a mental connection to them, feeling their emotions and injuries, seeing what they do, etc. This no longer appears to be the case with Eddie and the Venom symbiote, however.
Teleporters and Transporters: The symbiotes have spaceships, but their primary means of invading other worlds is with Stargate-like portals. The first wave in Planet of the Symbiotes built one, and the possessed Rune constructed another in Rune vs. Venom.
There's No Place Like Home: Stories like Hunger and one from Spider-Man Family posit that the only thing the symbiote may want more than Peter is to return to its pre-pariah life on its planet of origin.
To Serve Man: The symbiote has acquired quite the taste for human flesh. The 1996 The Hunger miniseries explained that the symbiote needs phenethylamine for its own health - which can be found most abundantly in two sources: human brains and chocolate; and other stories state that it drains its host of adrenaline, but these seem to have been forgotten following the symbiote's separation from Eddie.
Upgrade vs. Prototype Fight: The Carnage symbiote is more resistant to attacks that affect Venom, is even stronger than him and Spider-Man combined, and has abilities the Venom symbiote doesn't. However, since Kasady is a Complete Monster next to Brock's Anti-Hero (and pretty often there's other heroes like Spider-Man there to help 'soften up' Carnage), Venom most often comes out on top. This is played with during the Minimum Carnage arc, where Flash is forced to emulate Carnage in order to defeat him.
Vampiric Draining: The symbiote leaves Eddie in The Hunger and Hunger, and survives on its own by sucking phenethylamine (in the former) and adrenaline (in the latter) out of people. A detective investigating the attacks in Hunger even assumed they were the work of some kind of weird vampire.
Voice of the Legion: Beginning in the 2000's, the symbiote talks using distorted black speech bubbles with white print.
Weaksauce Weakness: Sonics and intense heat, the former more so than the latter. His weakness towards fire was greatly Flanderized in the nineties; In one instance, Spider-Man was able to fend him off with a lighter. Yes, the villain who once bested the Human Torch was frightened off by a tiny little flame. However, in the Siege arc, tossing Mac Gargan into an explosion does nothing more than piss him off.
What the Hell, Hero?: The symbiote has occasionally berated Spider-Man for rejecting it when it only wanted to help him and make him stronger. Villain Has a Point, Parker. It also accuses Flash of this when he confronts it in Venom #41.
Whole Costume Reference: In-universe, the symbiote's design was based on the black-and-white Spider-Woman costume worn by Julia Carpenter.
Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: The sight of a cheap lighter and a campfire once caused the symbiote to quiver in terror, much to the derision of the Sinister Six during Eddie Brock's brief tenure as a member.
Sandman: Will you look at the big, bad supervillain... afraid of a little fire! Whatta sissy! Let me give you a hand, tough guy! And to think... I useta have nightmares about you!
Venom: DO NOT MOCK OUR PAIN!
Electro: I've got to admit it is a pretty silly weakness for an alleged super-criminal to have.
Yandere: The symbiote really can't stand the idea of any of its favorite hosts not wanting to be with it, and jumps at almost any opportunity to rebond with them when it isn't trying to kill them.
You Can Talk?: The symbiote develops the ability to speak even without a host, starting with Sssssnake Talk-laden You No Take Candle and becoming more articulate over time, although when doped up by Flash it reverts back to its early manner of speaking.
You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Pulls this on Eddie (to try to return to Peter), Angelo (leaving him to die), Mac (to try to return to Eddie), and Flash (to try to return to Eddie again). Finally, the symbiote jumps at the chance to bond with SpOck after being separated from Flash, becoming the Superior Venom◊. It's Double Subverted in the last case, as the symbiote realizes that Spider-Man isn't the same as he used to be and tries to return to Flash only to have SpOck force it to stay bonded to himself.