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
. Venom is an extremely popular
character in the Spider-Man franchise. To date there have been four different men 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 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
. It popularity among creators and fans has made it among the most memorable of Spider-Man Rogues Gallery. Currently it is bonded to long time Spider-Man supporting character Flash Thompson and featured in Venom
Volume 2 and the current Thunderbolts
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
. For tropes related to indivdual hosts or characters from the series, there is a Character Sheet Here
Tropes pertaining to the Venom Symbiote:
- Adaptive Armor: What the symbiote often acts as for the host.
- All Webbed Up: The symbiote produces organic webbing from its biomass, and Peter has exploited this to weaken it.
- 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; when the eviler Mac Gargan wears the suit, 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 his third host was previously called The Scorpion, this trope was doubled, in a way.
- Anti-Villain/Anti-Hero: Depending on the host: Peter Parker is a straight-up hero, Eddie Brock is a Sociopathic Hero at best, Angelo Fortuna is a Dirty Coward, Mac Gargan was a Villain with Good Publicity, and Flash is a straight-up hero, or at least he tries to be.
- Arch-Enemy: To Spider-Man.
- 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.
- Blob Monster: What the symbiote amounts to sans-host.
- 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.
- Cheshire Cat Grin: Venom, as originally drawn by Todd McFarlane, simply had an abnormally wide smile. It wasn't until Erik Larsen took over that he got his trademark fangs and Overly Long Tongue.
- Clingy Costume: It does not like letting go of a host, and in fact hates Spider-Man so much because of how close they came to being physically merged forever before he forced them apart.
- Clothes Make the Maniac: It eventually became canon that the symbiote will drive its host into becoming a monster driven by their own rage and hate.
- 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.
- Combat Tentacles: One of the symbiote's methods of long-ranged attack, although Venom usually uses them in the guise of webbing.
- Evil Evolves: The symbiote changes appearance with each host, and sometimes while bonded to the same host.
- Evil Costume Switch: Has been used as one for Spider-Man in most media following the 1994 Animated Series.
- Evil Twin: Venom has the same powers as Spider-Man, but amplified. Also, he can avoid Spidey's spider sense.
- Everyone Calls Him Barkeep: Technically has no name, so it is variously referred to as "the Black Suit", "The Symbiote", or simply "Venom".
- Fangs Are Evil: Most incarnations of Venom manifest a mouth full of pointy teeth, especially when the symbiote takes over.
- It doesn't have fangs when bonded to Peter or Flash... as long as he keeps his cool.
- Functional Addict: Of a sort: the US army keeps it high on a drug - possibly the same one Norman Osborn gave Mac Gargan - that greatly limits its ability to influence Flash, but the drug only lasts for 48 hours and the symbiote has found ways to work around it.
- Glasgow Grin: Its mouth is disturbingly wide and lacks cheeks.
- I Am A Humanitarian: The symbiote has acquired quite the taste for human flesh. The 1996 The Hunger miniseries explained that the symbiote needs a certain chemical for its own health, which can be found most abundantly in two sources: human brains, and chocolate, but this seems to have been forgotten following the symbiote's separation from Eddie.
- Iconic Logo: The stylized white spider emblem on its chest and back, though each host other than Peter and Eddie has a unique variation.
- Iconic Outfit: The symbiote's most famous look is the one it sported when it was bonded to Eddie Brock, especially when drawn by Mark Bagley, who was the main Spider Man artist during the 1990's. Even Mac Gargan and Flash Thompson, who have their own unique designs as Venom, have been drawn with Eddie's Venom look depending on the artist.
- If I Cant Have You: Its relationship to Peter and Eddie can be boiled down to this, as whenever it is not trying to kill them it jumps at the first opportunity to rebond with them.
- Legacy Character: Of a sort, as the symbiote jumps from host to host.
- Lost In Imitation: The idea that the symbiote was mentally afflicting Peter's mind 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.
- Lovecraftian Superpower: The symbiote can project Combat Tentacles to attack or restrain foes, and in media like Marvel vs. Capcom can project spikes and tendrils tipped with fanged maws.
- More Teeth Than The Osmond Family: Spider-Man practically said this word-for-word in one story.
- Muscles Are Meaningful: Although Flash's default form is more of 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.
- 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.
- Overly Long Tongue: Especially if drawn by Erik Larsen.
- Power Nullifier: The symbiote set off Peter's Spider-Sense when it first bonded to him, but it spent so long bonded to him it figured out how to No Sell it.
- Puppeteer Parasite: The symbiote has become this, especially with Mac Gargan and Flash.
- The Symbiote: Arguably the Trope Namer, and certainly the Trope Codifier.
- Truly Single Parent: Symbiotes reproduce asexually, and Venom "gave birth" to Carnage, Agony, Phage, Riot, Lasher, and Scream, and technically Anti-Venom.
- Used To Be A Sweet Alien: All it initially wanted was to be bonded with Peter. Unfortunately, Peter's rejection and Eddie's hatred taught it anger and it hasn't looked back since.
- Voice of the Legion: Talks using black speech bubbles with distorted white print.
- Voluntary Shapeshifting: Can transform into clothing and turn invisible by blending in with the background.
- Whole Costume Reference: In-universe, the symbiote's design was based on the black-and-white Spider-Woman costume worn by Julia Carpenter.
- 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 inferno does nothing more than piss him off.
- 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 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)