The Venom Symbiote, appearing before Spider-Man
|First appearance||As the "alien costume": Amazing Spider-Man #252 (May 1984)
Symbiote origin story: Secret Wars #8 (December 1984)
As Venom: Amazing Spider-man #299 (May,1988)
|Created by||David Michelinie
Mike Zeck (alien costume design)
Todd McFarlane (Venom's appearance)
|Alter ego||Peter Parker, Eddie Brock, Angelo Fortunato, Mac Gargan|
|Notable aliases||Spider-Man, The Black Suit, Symbiote, Alien Costume|
|Abilities||Grants the host all the powers of its first known host, Spider-Man. Greatly enhances physical attributes of its current host. Superhuman strength, ability to change form, and ability of the symbiote to fight and defend itself when either the host or it is in danger.
Limited shapeshifting, undetectable by Spider-Man's "spider-sense". It can also turn its host invisible through camouflage
Venom, or the Venom Symbiote, is a symbiote life form in the Marvel Comics universe. The creature is a sentient alien with a gooey, almost liquid-like form. It requires a host, usually human, to bond around for its survival. In return the Venom creature gives its host enhanced powers. In effect, when the Venom Symbiote bonds with a human to form a super-villain, that new dual-life form itself is also often called Venom. Its second host Eddie Brock, after bonding with the symbiote to become the first Venom, is one of Spider-Man's archenemies. Spider-Man was the first host it merged with before its evil motives were clear. After Spider-Man rejected it, the symbiote went on to merge with other hosts (starting with the most famous Venom: Eddie Brock) and so began its reign as the villain known as Venom. Comics journalist and historian Mike Conroy writes of the character:"What started out as a replacement costume for Spider-Man turned into one of the Marvel web-slinger's greatest nightmares." 
Venom has become one of Spider-Man's most enduring and popular foes. Indeed, he has become so popular that he is seen as Spider-Man's arch-nemesis, in terms of his popularity. Venom was ranked as the 22nd Greatest Comic Book Villain of All Time in IGN's list of the top 100 comic villains, 67th Greatest Villain of all time in Wizard Magazine's Top 100 Greatest Villains Ever list, and was ranked as the 98th Greatest Comic Book Character Ever in Wizard Magazine's 200 Greatest Comic Book Characters of all Time list. Contrary to popular belief, the idea for the Venom symbiote was not originally thought up by artists Mike Zeck and Todd McFarlane or writer Dave Micheline. But by a Marvel Comics reader from Norridge, Illinois named Randy Schueller. Marvel bought the idea for $220.00 and the current editor in chief at the time, Jim Shooter, sent Schueller a letter acknowledging Marvel's desire to purchase the idea from him.
Spider-Man first encountered the Venom symbiote in Secret Wars #8, in which he unwittingly merged with it. After Spider-Man rejected it, the symbiote merged with Eddie Brock, its most well-known host, in The Amazing Spider-Man #298 (May 1988). Its current host is Mac Gargan, the villain formerly known as Scorpion.
Originally, the symbiote was portrayed as a mute and lonely creature craving the company of a host. More recently, it has been shown as increasingly abusive of its hosts, and having the power of speech. The Venom symbiote has no known name, as "Venom" is essentially the moniker it has adopted since its history with Spider-Man on Earth. According to S.H.I.E.L.D., it is considered one of the greatest threats to humanity, alongside Magneto, Doctor Doom, and Red Skull.
The creature that would become Venom was born to a race of extraterrestrial parasites, which lived by possessing the bodies of other life-forms. The parasites would endow their victims with enhanced physical abilities, at the cost of fatally draining them of adrenaline.
According to the Planet of the Symbiotes storyline, the Venom symbiote was deemed insane by its own race after it was discovered that it desired to commit to its host rather than use it up. The symbiote was then imprisoned on Battleworld to ensure it didn't pollute the species' gene pool.
In Secret Wars #8 (December 1984), Spider-Man damages his costume in combat on Battleworld and is directed to a facility which can provide a new one to him. Before having the chance to recover a new suit, Spider-Man stumbles into the prison module the symbiote has been trapped in. He then activates the machine which releases the symbiote in the form of a black liquid. Spider-Man's "spider-sense" initially tingles, and then stops upon Spider-Man's first contact with the liquid; it covers his body and, reacting to Spider-Man's thoughts about the costume worn by the second Spider-Woman, forms a new costume. To Spider-Man's surprise, the costume can mimic street clothes and provides a seemingly inexhaustible and stronger supply of webbing.
Once back on Earth, Spider-Man learns the costume is a sentient alien symbiote that wishes to fuse permanently with him and often controls his body while he sleeps. With the aid of Mr. Fantastic and the Human Torch, Spider-Man discovers the symbiote is vulnerable to sound and flame, and he uses sonic waves to remove it and flames to scare it into a containment module. The symbiote escapes and finds its way to Peter Parker's closet and disguises itself as a spare red and blue costume. It then attempts to forcibly bond itself to Spider-Man. Later, the Vulturions attack and Spider-Man forces himself into a church belltower. As the bells ring to sound the hour, Spider-Man fights through willpower to reject the symbiote, leaving both the alien and Spider-Man weakened. The symbiote, using its remaining strength, carries an unconscious Spider-Man to safety from the bells before it slithers away. Spider-Man's rejection of the symbiote would later leave it extremely bitter toward Spider-Man, a trait it would share with its future hosts.
The first and most famous Venom, Eddie Brock, was a reporter for the Daily Bugle before he fabricated a story revealing the identity of the Sin-Eater. Shortly after the story was published Spider-Man caught the real Sin-Eater, and Brock was disgraced as a news reporter, costing him his job and then his wife. Now writing for cheap gossip magazines, Brock centers the frustration of his life on utter loathing of Spider-Man, which only escalates when it is revealed he has cancer. In response, Brock begins working out, bringing his body to a higher performance. Unable to cope with his misfortune, Brock contemplates suicide and goes to a church to pray for forgiveness. Meanwhile, the symbiote, having recovered and needing another human host in order to survive, finds itself psychically attracted to Brock for both his increased adrenaline and mutual hatred for Spider-Man.
In Amazing Spider-Man # 298, they formed into the first version of the dark, villainous creature known as Venom. Venom first appeared at the end of issue #299, which led into a full-length Venom story in issue #300. The name Venom originally applied to Brock, over the symbiote. But over the years, as the symbiote itself lent toward more intelligence and moved to additional human hosts, the name began to apply to the symbiote as well as its hosts. Brock fought Spider-Man as Venom many times, and came close to winning on several occasions. As well as helping Eddie to seek continued revenge against Spider-Man, the symbiote also allowed him to indulge in a sporadic career as a vigilante. Eddie and the symbiote both shared, at times, a desire to protect innocent people from all harm, even if it meant working side-by-side with the hated Spider-Man.
The Venom symbiote approached Macdonald "Mac" Gargan, formerly known as Scorpion, and offered him new abilities. Gargan bonded with the creature, which would later give him an extra edge as part of Norman Osborn's Sinister Twelve. Even with these additional powers he was still swiftly defeated by Spider-Man (To which Spider Man later notes is because Mac Gargan does not hate Spider Man as much as Eddie Brock had), as the Avengers dealt with the rest of the Twelve. Gargan later became a member of a sub-group of the Thunderbolts, which was drafted by the Avengers to hunt down the members of the fugitive Secret Avengers. It was then revealed that he had been outfitted with electrical implants by the government to keep the symbiote in check. When in the Venom persona, Gargan retained very little of his original personality and was controlled almost completely by the symbiote. When the symbiote was dormant in his body, he expressed nausea and fear of the organism. During a fight with "Anti-Venom" (Eddie Brock), he and his symbiote were separated, and the Venom symbiote was nearly destroyed. Blobs of it still existed in his bloodstream, however, so Norman Osborn injected Gargan with a vaccine for Anti-Venom's healing powers, which restored the symbiote by causing the remaining pieces of it to expand rapidly. Gargan dons a Scorpion battle armor over the symbiote while it heals, causing him to become what Spider-Man calls "Ven-orpion" although when the symbiote is fully restored it shatters the armor.
After ingesting a chemical given to him by Norman Osborn, Venom transforms into a more human appearance similar to the Black-Suited Spider-Man. Osborn introduces him as The Amazing Black Spider-Man, a member of the Dark Avengers, while unveiling the team.
Ann Weying first appeared in Amazing Spider-Man #375. She is Eddie Brock's ex-wife, a successful lawyer. In Ann Weying's first appearance, she is a brunette with glasses. In later appearances, she loses the glasses and goes blond. Weying assists Spider-Man by sharing some of Eddie's history with him. Later, she follows Spider-Man to the amusement park where Venom had Peter's (fake) parents. She confronts her insane ex-husband, and manages to convince Eddie to give up his vendetta. Later, Sin-Eater shoots Ann as part of a crusade against social injustice. Ann becomes She-Venom when the Venom symbiote temporarily bonds with her to save her life.
She-Venom then lashes out against the men who had hurt her with such violence that Eddie became afraid for her (and of her) and compels the symbiote back to him. Ann retched upon seeing the pile of bodies she had left behind. She screamed, "That thing made me do that!" Eddie replied, "It can't make you do anything you don't really want to do." Later the police incarcerate Ann on a false charge (unrelated to Ann's rampage above) in order to trap Venom. Ann uses her one phone call to warn Eddie and make him promise not to come. He promises that Eddie Brock wouldn't come to save her and instead sent his Other (the symbiote) through the phone lines to her. After it bonds with her, she is able to escape custody.
Sometime later, Ann spots Spider-Man web slinging in an older black costume at a time when his regular red and blue suit had been stolen. Ann, still reeling from the experience of bonding with the symbiote months earlier and unable to deal with the return of Eddie Brock into her life - coupled with Brock's transformation into Venom directly in front of her as he ran off to kill Spider-Man - sent her over the edge, and she leapt from her high rise apartment to her death. Her death is later confirmed when her tombstone is shown.
In the 2003 Venom series, Patricia Robertson was a communications specialist for the U.S. Army stationed at a radar installation in Canada near the Arctic Circle. She had joined the Army in order to "prove herself", but got more than she bargained for. During a routine supply run to an outpost owned by the Ararat Corporation, she stumbled upon a grisly scene: everyone at the installation was dead except for one lone scientist locked in the freezer. She brought the survivor back to base for medical attention, then people began dying there as well. It was revealed that the Ararat Corporation was run by an alien colony of miniature spider robots that infiltrated the American government. These creatures were partially led by an entity named Bob.
These creatures had cloned Venom in order to fulfill their objective: extermination of the human race. The clone would burn out its hosts' life, unlike the real Venom (traits which seem to be a throwback to the invading symbiotes seen in Planet of the Symbiotes). Bob had the clone released and it caused the slaughter of the outpost.
The Venom clone hitched a ride on the survivor back to base, despite the best efforts of Robertson and her new ally. The mysterious Suit was made of the same robots as Bob, which was revealed to have been unwittingly brought to Earth by Reed Richards and made into a special agent by Nick Fury. It is unclear if the Suit's loyalties lie with Nick Fury or Bob, if either. Meanwhile, the genetically altered symbiote killed all of Patricia's friends and coworkers. While Robertson was unconscious, the Suit cybernetically altered her, shaving her head, attaching a metal pipe in it, and placing a control collar on her so that in case the symbiote clone bonded with her, she could control it. Meanwhile, Ararat Co. and the spider-robots nuked Voici, Canada leaving the symbiote with few options. After the Suit sabotaged the symbiote's favored host, Wolverine, it was forced to jump to the last surviving potential host, Robertson.
One of Bob’s agents, disguised as the Suit, told Robertson that she had to kill the real Venom or the symbiotes would destroy all of humanity. Attempting to get to Venom, she freed him from S.H.I.E.L.D. custody. Their first fight was broken up by the real Suit, and the electrocuted Venom retreated. The Suit chided Robertson for coming to New York because there were many people in the city and all of the population could be in danger if the symbiote clone jumped hosts.
Meanwhile, Bob remotely deactivated Patricia's control collar so that nothing restrained the symbiote but Patricia's willpower. Robertson continued trying to kill Venom, beating up Spider-Man when he got in the way. She was captured by the Fantastic Four, who used her as bait to lure Venom into a trap. Unfortunately, Spider-Man’s interference and the strength and craftiness of Venom caused the trap to fail. Fighting again, Venom absorbed Robertson’s symbiote clone, as Bob hoped, and increased in size and decided to carry out the Ararat Corporation's goals. Patricia's fate is uncertain, and the entire plot has gone unresolved.
Angelo was the youngest son of Don Fortunato, a prominent Mafia capo of New York's criminal underworld. Because of his frail physique and shy attitude, Angelo was frequently bullied and humiliated by his father. Tiring of his son's weakness, the Don brings Angelo to a supervillain auction, where he purchases the Venom symbiote from Eddie Brock for $100 million. Eddie warns of the dangers inherent in the symbiote, to which the boy answers that he had nothing to lose in a life of non-stop ridicule.
Like Spider-Man, Angelo becomes the only other Venom host not to have a protruding tongue. Once bonded with the symbiote, Angelo learns the secret identity of Spider-Man, and plans to destroy him to prove himself worthy to his father. Angelo attacks Peter Parker during a high school reunion, injuring many bystanders in the process. They engage in a ferocious battle which brings them out into the streets of New York. Learning how to use the symbiote's mimetic abilities faster than anticipated, Angelo takes the advantage in the fight. However, when Angelo kills an innocent civilian he mistakes for Spider-Man, the superhero stops holding back and beats Angelo into submission.
In defeat, Angelo's old cowardly ways show through and he flees while the symbiote berates him for his cowardice. Irritated by the boy's lack of resolve, the symbiote ruthlessly abandons Angelo in mid-leap, letting him fall to his death.
Though it requires a living host in order to survive, the Venom symbiote has been shown on some occasions to be able to fend for itself with its own set of unique powers. The symbiote, even without a host, has shown shape-shifting abilities like forming spikes and expanding its size.
The symbiote is telepathic and does not require physical contact to influence the minds of others. In Planet Of The Symbiotes, the creature, after being rejected by its host, emits a psychic scream which drives nearby humans to states of extreme depression. Later, with the assistance of Eddie Brock, it emits an even more powerful variant of that power which results in the mass suicide of an invasive force of symbiotes. The symbiote can also blend with any background, using an optic-camouflage type of effect, and shape-shift to resemble ordinary clothing. Venom is immune to the Penance Stare, an ability used by Ghost Rider, Johnny Blaze and Daniel Ketch.
The symbiote originally rejected its species' habit of consuming its hosts, but in some interpretations it still required certain chemicals (human adrenaline) in order to survive. When starved of these chemicals, the symbiote developed a mutable exoskeleton, allowing it to form its own solid body which it used to hunt and kill prey without the assistance of a host. However, because of Brock's, and later Gargan's, influence on its personality the symbiote has developed a taste for blood, which both its hosts were forced to sate by physically devouring their victims. Later, the suit's evolution progressed and as shown in the 2003 Venom comic book series, its clone could spontaneously jump from host to host and after every departure said hosts would be left dead.
Because of its contact with Spider-Man, the symbiote cannot be detected by the hero's spider-sense. As Spider-Man's fighting style is partly dependent on his spider-sense, his effectiveness was somewhat hampered when he battled Eddie Brock, allowing the less experienced Brock to keep up with him. However, the symbiote is vulnerable to loud noises, such as the ringing of church bells.
The Venom Symbiote has been shown to have the ability to replicate itself. This ability is shown in Spider-Man: Reign, when Venom recreates his own symbiote to combat his loneliness. This ability is also used by Venom in Spider-Man: Web of Shadows, when Venom discovers the ability to copy his Symbiote and uses it to take over Manhattan. Such an ability has not been demonstrated in the main 616 universe, it is most likely the main version/s of Venom lack this capability as such a useful tactic would possibly have been mentioned or employed already.
The Venom symbiote gives each of its hosts a slightly different appearance in their Venom forms, though each is relatively similar. Initially when Venom first formed with Eddie Brock the creature was portrayed as black, considerably taller and much more muscular than Spider-Man. Over the years however, the general design of Venom has altered, even with the same host. Its eyes resembled those of the Spider-Man suit but larger and more "evil" in appearance. Its trademark was a wide grin which displayed all of his teeth- in the first appearances of Venom, the teeth were large, but human. Venom's appearance was subsequently changed to sport a mouth filled with fangs after his first escape from prison.
In his most famous incarnation he developed a long tongue, he also started being drawn as blue or blue-black as opposed to the original black. His eyes became more menacing and "alien" like, while his size increased to that which would be extremely difficult for Brock to obtain through even his most rigorous weight lifting. Also the spider symbol on its chest has been known to change appearance, with the symbol on the back and front connected or not. John Romita Jr.'s design had Venom much leaner with abnormally long fingers. Mike Deodato's recent design of the Mac Gargan Venom has normal-human eyes within large white patches resembling Venom's traditional Spider-Man-like eyes. The Gargan Venom has also been drawn as purple, much like the Venom in Ultimate Spider-Man. Venom's appearance is now recently the same as the Black-suited Spider-Man, and in the Sinister Spider-Man arc his Venom form is drawn similarally to Eddie Brock's version of Venom.
As a fictional character, Venom has appeared in a number of media, from comic books to films and television series. Each version of the work typically establishes its own continuity, and sometimes introduces parallel universes, to the point where distinct differences in the portrayal of the character can be identified. This article details various versions of Venom depicted in works including Marvel Comics Ultimate universe and What if issues.
Venom's first appearance in a motion picture was originally planned for a titular film written by David S. Goyer and produced by New Line Cinema, in which Venom would have been portrayed as an anti-hero and Carnage as the antagonist. Goyer said in an interview the film rights to Venom ultimately reverted to Sony. Venom appears in the 2007 feature film Spider-Man 3, played by Topher Grace. Eddie Brock is another freelance photographer working at the Daily Bugle shortly before Spider-Man joins with the symbiote. Eddie faces public humiliation after creating a fake photo of Spider-Man robbing a bank and is fired after being exposed by Peter. After Spider-Man abandons the symbiote in a church bell tower, Brock had been in the church praying for Peter's death, discovers Spider-Man's identity. The symbiote falls onto Brock, transforming him into Venom, and he uses his new-found powers to attempt to kill Peter as revenge for his public humiliation; at that point, Venom becomes the main antagonist of the film, as unlike Sandman, who appears to be more sympathetic in the film, Venom is unforgiving and evil. He teams up with Sandman and the two make an attempt to get revenge on Spider-Man. However with the help of Harry Osborn, who Venom kills, Spider-Man defeats Sandman and stops Venom by releasing Brock from the symbiote by building a cage of hollow metal poles around him, hitting them to create a makeshift sonic weapon, and weakening the symbiote. Peter then throws a bomb from Harry's glider into the symbiote to destroy it for good. But Eddie, trying to prevent its loss, jumps towards the bomb just as it detonates, destroying him and the symbiote in the resulting explosion. Unlike in the comics Brock is influenced by the symbiote but appears to have more control over it.
Avi Arad, producer and former Marvel Comics executive, plans to produce a Venom spin-off, although it is currently unknown if Topher Grace will reprise his role. Regardless, Marvel is moving forward with the film, and the studio has signed the Seabiscuit director Gary Ross to direct it. It is set to be written by Zombieland scribes Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick.
Until 2003, Venom never had his own ongoing series However, from 1993 to 1997 Venom had 17 limited series that were steadily released back to back from month to month. This run could have been one series where each mini-series would have been considered a story arc. Together, these mini-series comprised a total of 60 issues, 1 Flashback, and a 1995 Super Special.
|Lethal Protector||1993 Feb-Jul||6||01-06|
|Funeral Pyre||1993 Aug-Sep||3||07-09||vs. Punisher|
|The Madness||1993 Nov-Jan||3||10-12||vs. Juggernaut|
|The Enemy Within||1994 Feb-April||3||13-15||vs. Hobgoblin/Demogoblin|
|The Mace||1994 May-July||3||16-18||vs. Mace|
|Nights of Vengeance||1994 Aug-Nov||4||19-22||Team-up with Vengeance against the Stalkers|
|Separation Anxiety||1994 Dec-Mar||4||23-26||Split apart from his other by the Scarlet Spider (Spider-Man 53), Eddie faces the Symbiotes returning from Lethal Protector|
|Carnage Unleashed||1995 Apr-July||4||27-30||vs. Carnage|
|Sinners Take All||1995 Aug-Dec||5||31-35||vs. Sin Eater/Bride of Venom|
|Along Came a Spider||1996 Jan-Apr||4||36-39||vs. Ben Reilly / Back-up story: Origin of the Hybrid|
|The Hunted||1996 May-July||3||40-42||vs. the Hybrid|
|The Hunger||1996 Aug-Nov||4||43-46||Brock splits with symbiote|
|Tooth & Claw||1996 Dec-Feb||3||47-49||vs. Wolverine|
|On Trial||1997 Mar-May||3||50-52||Trial of Venom|
|License to Kill||1997 Jun-Aug||3||53-55||Works for the Government|
|Sign of the Boss||1997 Sep-Oct||2||56-57||vs. Ghost Rider|
|Finale||1997 Nov-Jan||3||58-60||Venom Finale|
|Seeds of Darkness||1997 July||1||-1||Flashback Month|
|Venom Super Special||1995||1||1||Planet of the Symbiotes, Part 3|
|Venom (Part of the tsunami imprint)||2003-2004||18||A clone of Venom attacks an Alaskan base and then fights the real Venom and Spider-Man.|
|Venom: Dark Origin||2008||5||Retelling of Eddie Brock's life and the beginning of his life as Venom.|
|Dark Reign: Sinister Spider-Man||2009||4||Tells the adventures of Mac Gargan (the current Venom) as the Spider-Man for the Dark Avengers|