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Comicbook: Venom

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 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. Agent Venom is set to join the Guardians of the Galaxy, and while it was 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 two entries into Marvel Avengers Alliance - Mac Gargan Venom appears as a boss, and in December 2013 Flash Thompson as Agent Venom was announced, alongside Nico Minoru, to be the next playable characters to join the roster. Venom was one of the antagonists in Spider-Man 3, alongside Sandman and Harry Osborn. 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. Agent Venom has been announced to debut in Season 3, though there has been no word on who will be wearing it.

For tropes related to indivdual hosts or characters from the series, there is a Character Sheet here.

Venom's appearances in various media



  • Spider-Man The Lizard Sanction
  • Spider-Man: The Octopus Agenda
  • Spider-Man: The Venom Factor
  • Spider-Man: Venom's Wrath


Video GamesWestern Animation

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.
  • 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.
  • Animal Wrongs Group: The reason Eddie and Mac got to keep the symbiote while in jail? PETA threw a fit about it being an endangered species.
  • Anti-Villain/Anti-Hero: Depending on the host: Peter Parker is a straight-up hero, Eddie Brock is a Sociopathic Hero at best, Angelo Fortunato was a Dirty Coward, Mac Gargan was a Villain with Good Publicity, Flash is a straight-up hero, or at least he tries to be, and the Superior Spider-Man is an Unscrupulous Hero turned Nominal Hero.
  • Arch-Enemy: To Spider-Man.
  • 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, 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.
  • Blob Monster: What the symbiote amounts to sans-host.
  • 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 hates Spider-Man so much because of how close they came to being physically merged forever before he forced them apart.
  • Cloning Blues: In the 2003 Shiver arc a clone of the symbiote is created in a remote Arctic base, breaks loose, and starts killing the soldiers and scientists one by one. It bonds to the last surviving soldier, Patricia Robertson, but is later eaten by the original Venom and much later on regurgitated and bonded to Andi, turning her into Mania.
    • 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 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. 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.
  • Create Your Own Villain: All the symbiote originally wanted was to help Spider-Man. It was only when Peter rejected it on the grounds that it was alive and trying to permanently bond with him that it became embittered and angry.
    • 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.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: After finally getting its wish to rebond to its first host granted in Superior Spider-Man 24, the symbiote is the one disgusted by Spider-Man and tries to leave him to return to Flash, only for Otto to force it to stay bonded to him.
  • Everyone Calls Him Barkeep: Technically has no name, so it is variously referred to as the "Black Suit", "The Symbiote", or simply "Venom".
  • Evil Costume Switch: Has been used as one for Spider-Man in most media following the 1994 Animated Series.
  • Evil Evolves: The symbiote changes appearance with each host, and sometimes while bonded to the same host. It's also stated to have become more powerful with each successive host it bonds to.
  • Evil Twin: Venom bestows its host with the same powers as Spider-Man, but amplified. Also, it can avoid Spidey's spider sense.
  • Expressive Mask: Due to said "mask" being the symbiote's face.
  • Fangs Are Evil: Most incarnations of Venom manifest a mouth full of pointy teeth, especially when the symbiote takes over.
    • 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.
    • 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).
  • 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.
  • Horror Hunger: 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.
  • 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, Eddie, and Mania - who share the same design - 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 "classic" Venom look depending on the artist.
  • If I Can't 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.
  • Kill It with Fire: Its second biggest weakness is fire.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Dr. Strange's memory wipe purged the symbiote's knowledge of Spider-Man's secret identity, but not its desire to be re-bonded to him.
  • Legacy Character: Of a sort, as the symbiote jumps from host to host.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Magic Enhancement: The Grim Hunt 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.
  • Nineties Anti-Hero: Although primarily a villain, Venom had his phases in this time, notably pulling a few Enemy Mines with Spidey.
  • No Biological Sex: Has no sexual characteristics or gender identity. The default third-person pronoun for the symbiote is "it", though Flash 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.
  • Not Good With Rejection: The symbiote's reaction to Peter rejecting it was to break free of the Fantastic Four's containment and impersonate his original costume in order to rebond with him. Subsequently it alternates between trying to kill past hosts who spurned it and forcing itself on them if the opportunity presents itself.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Venom #41 reveals it's not nearly as brain-dead as Flash likes to think it is.
  • Offing the Offspring: Instinctually hates Carnage, its spawn.
  • 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 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.
  • Power Nullifier: The symbiote set off Peter's Spider-Sense when 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.
  • 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.
    • It also did this to Peter, the Hulk, and even Thor in a What If? story. (In that Alternate Reality, it was not a symbiote at all, but a true parasite.)
    • 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 Abomination Hive 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.
  • Red and Black and Evil All Over: During Flash's tenure as a member of Red Hulk's Thunderbolts, the white parts of the symbiote become red, making it look similar to the original concept for the symbiote created by Randy Schueller.
  • Reformed But Not Tamed: The symbiote actually prefers Flash as a host - so it said just before ditching him for Eddie, although it did return to him - but that doesn't stop it from taking 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.
  • Starfish Alien: As a symbiotic shapeshifting blob from outer space, definitely qualifies.
  • The Symbiote: Arguably the Trope Namer, and certainly the Trope Codifier.
  • 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.
  • Truly Single Parent: Symbiotes reproduce asexually, and Venom "gave birth" to Carnage, Agony, Phage, Riot, Lasher, and Scream, and technically Anti-Venom and Mania.
  • Ultimate Marvel: Has a counterpart there in the form of a bio-engineered protoplasmic entity created as a cancer cure. Unfortunately, this "symbiote" is 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 really looked back since.
  • 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: Talks using distorted black speech bubbles with white print.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: Can transform into clothing and turn invisible by blending in with the background.
  • 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.
  • 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?: Develops the ability to speak even without a host.
  • 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.
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