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Literature / Spider-Man: The Venom Factor

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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?


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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.
  • 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.
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  • 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: The Hobgoblin's nuke is dealt with is eaten by the alien.
  • 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.
  • Humanoid Aliens: Invoked when Spider-Man is pursuing the radiation-eating alien and muses on the probabilities of it having evolved into a humanoid form.
  • Identical Stranger: Aside from not having spider insignia, the alien looks almost-identical to Venom. This leads to Venom getting accused of committing its crimes, which seriously ticks him off.
  • 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: 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.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: The novel alternates point-of-views between Spider-Man, Venom, and Mary-Jane.
  • Nuke 'em: Hobgoblin builds a dirty nuclear bomb and threatens to blow up New York unless he gets an absurd amount of money.
  • To Serve Man:
    • 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.
  • The Worf Effect: During their fight, the alien hands Venom his symbiote-covered ass.
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