Literature / Spider-Man: The Venom Factor

Spider-Man: The Venom Factor is a 1995 Spider-Man novel written by Diane Duane and co-starring Venom (Eddie Brock). It is the first book in a trilogy nicknamed the "Venom Trilogy" involving both characters repeatedly encountering an organization named the CCRC. When a homeless man is brutally murdered in a warehouse, all the evidence points to Venom as the perpetrator. Add the mysterious disappearance of nuclear materials and the Hobgoblin (Jason Macendale) swooping around, and Spider-Man has his hands more-than full. But is Venom behind the brutal murders, and if not, who... or what... is?

This novel contains the following tropes:

  • Big "NO!": When the alien eats his bomb the Hobgoblin screams out one of these and attacks it. It casually backhands him into unconsciousness.
  • Combat Tentacles: Both Venom and the radiation-eating alien can form them.
  • Continuity Nod: The events of ''The Venom Factor"' are referenced in a the other two novels in the trilogy.
  • Costume Copycat: Aside from lacking the iconic white spider emblem, the alien is almost identical to Venom.
  • The Dark Age of Comic Books: The novel is set at the time when Jason Macendale was the Hobgoblin, Ned Leeds was assumed to have been the original Hobby, and Venom was living in San Francisco as the Lethal Protector.
  • Enemy Mine: Spider-Man attacks Venom thinking he's snapped, but they renew their truce to find the real killer and stop Hobgoblin's plot.
  • Evil Counterpart: Venom assumes the radiation-eating alien is a new supervillain trying to rip him off.
  • Evil Has a Bad Sense of Humor: Both Venom and the Hobgoblin enjoy cracking sadistic jokes at Spider-Man's expense.
  • Explosive Breeder: The alien literally does this after reaching critical mass, exploding into dozens of ravenous babies that promptly Zerg Rush Spider-Man.
  • Feed It a Bomb: How the Hobgoblin's nuke is dealt with.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: The third book in the trilogy, The Octopus Agenda, reveals Doctor Octopus as the mastermind behind the CCRC.
  • Hand Blast: The alien can fire radiation from its hands that rapidly melts whatever it's directed at.
  • I Am A Humanitarian:
    • At the beginning of the novel the alien eats a homeless man who had been doused in radioactive waste.
    • While not outright stating he did so, the novel implies Venom ate a group of muggers who threatened a group of homeless people.
  • Identical Stranger: Aside from not having spider insignia, the alien looks identical to Venom.
  • Just Eat Him: How Venom intended to deal with the alien and Hobgoblin.
  • Lawyer-Friendly Cameo: While waiting for an audition, MJ spots a TV playing a program about an eternally happy, dancing, singing purple dinosaur who wants to be friends with everyone and imagines introducing it to Venom.
  • Make Them Rot: The alien can focus radiation into its palms to rapidly decay material.
  • More Teeth than the Osmond Family: Both Venom and the alien have gaping maws full of fangs.
  • Nerves of Steel:
    • When confronted by Venom in her apartment, Mary Jane calmly tells Eddie that she won't tolerate him cracking jokes about eating Peter in her presence.
    • A trio of homeless people don't even flinch when Eddie turns into Venom right in front of them.
  • Not Me This Time: When a homeless man is brutally murdered and the perpetrator is described as a hulking black creature with Blank White Eyes and More Teeth than the Osmond Family, everyone assumes Venom's finally snapped. It's actually an alien with a taste for radioactive material.
  • Nuke 'em: Hobgoblin builds a dirty nuclear bomb and threatens to blow up New York unless he gets an absurd amount of money.
  • The Worf Effect: During their fight, the alien hands Venom his symbiote-covered ass.