Since Venom was introduced into the Marvel Universe, the alien symbiote has bonded with a number of hosts, some longer than others. And with the symbiote’s various hosts, Venom has come to inhabit a number of roles. The character has gone through the entire moral spectrum. Since Spider-Man first donned the costume, Venom has gone on to be a villain, an anti-hero, and a full blown superhero. And with Venom’s wildly expansive set of abilities, it is never certain what the character will do next, especially when a new host is involved. In addition to being one of Spider-Man’s most iconic antagonists, and making appearances in a handful of other superheroes’ books, Venom has also had a solo title that has been intermittently published since the mid '90s.
Now that Venom’s title has passed the 150 issue mark, a great deal has happened, and the character has changed in a ton of unexpected ways. Recently, Venom began its first crossover with The Amazing Spider-Man -- "Venom, Inc". Each one of the most important hosts of the Venom symbiote are set to have some role in the event. And to celebrate that, we thought that we’d give you some insight into our favorite suped-up symbiote.
15 SQUIRRELS WERE ONE OF HIS FAVORITE SNACKS
Venom is not always a hero, or an anti-hero. Occasionally, he is a straight up baddie -- especially with a host like Mac Gargan (aka Scorpion). With Gargan as a host, Venom was a hedonistic cannibal. He had absolutely no restraint, and was often chastised by his teammates for giving into his impulses. Arms, legs, Asgardians, Skrulls, Humans -- no flesh was too strange for Gargan to consume.
He did have his tastes though. For example, he loved Asgardian...and squirrel. With Gargan as a host, Venom loved the taste of squirrel. In fact, according to the Sinister Spider-Man mini-series, they were his favorite snack. In fact, as the Sinister Spider-Man, Venom considered squirrels to be potato chips -- as in he was never able to eat just one.
14 HE'S BEEN A GUARDIAN OF THE GALAXY
While Flash Thompson was the host of the Venom symbiote, it was easily at its most heroic. This is reflected in how the position of Avengers liaison to the Guardian of the Galaxy was passed down from Tony Stark to Flash Thompson. This effectively made full fledged Venom a member of the Guardians of the Galaxy, and took him off-planet to do a whole lot of interstellar adventuring.
As a member of the Guardians of the Galaxy, Venom ventured to places the character had never been before for as long as readers had been exposed to him. This included the symbiote’s home planet, after the hive mind of the Klyntar drew it back in. While with the Guardians, the symbiote even bonded to Groot and Rocket Raccoon.
13 HE HAD A VENOM MOBILE
Comics are great. Some of the most ridiculous things happen in comics, especially superhero comics and this is one of them. As if an alien costume that was able to psychologically influence the being wearing it was not enough, the Venom symbiote is also able to change its size and shape. In fact, Venom has grown tentacles and multiple heads in the past. However, this is usually used to mimic clothes.
Occasionally, or, at least this once, Venom was able to use its abilities to take control of a car! Though it was only for a couple of panels, when Flash Thompson was the host of the Venom symbiote, Venom took control of a car (dubbed the ‘Venom Mobile’) and used it to crash through a wall.
12 HIS HUNGER FOR BRAINS CAN BE STOPPED WITH CHOCOLATE
One of the things that Venom is known for is declaring to the entire world that he’ll eat his enemies’ brains at the top of his lungs. While this is usually just an intimidation technique, he actually DOES have a compulsion to eat brains -- and has successfully done so in almost every iteration of the character (particularly with Mac Gargan as a host).
It's not because he is sick and twisted, but because he has an actual need: the symbiote needs phenylethylamine, a chemical that is found in the human brain, to survive. Luckily for the people of New York, Eddie Brock was able to discover that the chemical his symbiote so desperately craved is also found in chocolate, which means a candy bar has probably saved millions of lives.
11 A SECOND SYMBIOTE WAS CLONED FROM HIS TONGUE
The Venom symbiote is a formidable threat on its own, in fact, it is classified as one of the most intense on-planet threats to Earth. But it isn’t the only one. After the original Venom symbiote’s tongue was severed, the severed tongue was used by the Ararat Corporation to clone a second Venom symbiote. After a pretty intense battle between the two Venoms, this clone was later reabsorbed by the original.
However, it would later go on to become known as Mania, after Flash Thompson used a portion of his Venom symbiote to protect her from an attack by Jack O’ Lantern. She went on to become a hero in her own right, and acted as one of the only active superheroes in Philadelphia while Flash was in space.
10 HE'S BEEN AN AVENGER (TWICE!)
If Venom is SUCH a villain, how has he been a member of the Avengers multiple times? Okay, one of those times, he was actually a member of Norman Osborn’s Dark Avengers, but that was when Mac Gargan was the symbiote’s host -- so we are just going to gloss over that one. But when Flash Thompson was the Venom symbiote’s host, Captain America agreed to let Venom join the Secret Avengers, a team that included Beast, Hawkeye, Black Widow, and Valkyrie, amongst others.
Flash, without a doubt, took Venom in its most heroic direction to date. Even though the team was very hesitant to trust him, given Venom’s reputation, he acclimated to the pressure of being an Avengers very quickly. Plus, he got Captain America’s stamp of approval, and that’s good enough for us.
9 EDDIE'S MOTHER DIED DURING CHILDBIRTH
In the Angel Medina drawn, Zeb Wells written series Venom: Dark Origin, readers get some insight into why Eddie Brock is the way he is. We learn that one of the reasons he was so eager to please his editors with the Sin Eater story that ended up getting him fired from his job, was because he was largely ignored by his father growing up. The reason for this? Eddie Brock’s mother died during childbirth, leaving his sister to do the majority of the family’s housework.
Unfortunately, Eddie’s dad blamed him for the death of his mother, even though he was only a baby. Sadly for Eddie, this lead to a great deal of anxiety and insecurity issues as well, which were heightened once the symbiote bonded with him.
8 VENOM IS A DEFENDER OF THE HOMELESS
After moving to San Francisco per his agreement with Spider-Man, Eddie Brock really made good on his moniker of ‘the Lethal Protector’ while living on the West Coast. After learning that a real estate magnate had planned to demolish an underground city inhabited by homeless people, Eddie Brock vowed that he, as Venom, would ensure their safety and become their protector. Defending those who would be otherwise unable to defend themselves became a theme in the string of mini-series Venom had in the mid '90s.
This included defending homeless people from real estate magnates, superpowered security guards, gang violence, and even techno-soldiers. Of course, Venom dealt with these aggressors with his own, unique brand of justice -- which usually resulted in death or dismemberment for anyone who faced him.
7 THE IDEA OF HIS COSTUME WAS MEANT FOR IRON FIST
While Venom was a concept initially conceived by a young fan of Spider-Man and bought by Marvel for a little more than $200, that was for a suit made of unstable molecules. This idea was refined using an idea of artist John Byrne. When Byrne and Chris Claremont were working on Iron Fist, before their iconic X-Men work, Byrne realized that Iron Fist’s costume got torn up a great deal.
Since the team was initially trying to take Iron Fist in a more sci-fi direction, rather than magic, Byrne figured that a sentient alien costume that healed itself when torn was not a concept that was out of the question. Roger Stern later asked Byrne if he would be able to use Byrne’s idea for his run on Spider-Man -- and the idea stuck.
6 THE SYMBIOTE IS THE 998TH GENERATION OF ITS BLOODLINE
The Venom symbiote is of an alien species called the ‘Klyntar’. One characteristic of this alien species is that each passing generation produces offspring more powerful than their own. This is significant in relation to the Venom symbiote, because it is the 998th generation of offspring of its bloodline. This definitely explains the character’s enormous strength, both physical and psychological.
However, this means that the Carnage symbiote, the 999th generation in its bloodline, and the Toxin symbiote, the 1000th generation in its bloodline, are both far more powerful than Venom. However, that doesn’t mean that Carnage and Toxin automatically come out on top in confrontations. Venom’s bonds with his various hosts have allowed him to come out on top, even when Toxin’s host was Eddie Brock!
5 VENOM SYMBIOTE IS INCAPABLE OF LYING
Though the character is more widely known as a member of Spider-Man’s expansive and iconic rogue’s gallery, and while he is certainly brutal, Venom is not much of a trickster, that’s for sure. Why do we say that? We'll it's pretty simple. The Venom symbiote is totally incapable of lying. This was revealed in issue 23 of the second volume of the Thunderbolts series (written by Charles Soule and drawn by Carlo Barberi) by Venom himself.
In fact, this issue saw the Flash Thompson iteration of Venom leave the Thunderbolts, after it took the entire team to subdue him, and Red Hulk threatened to kill the Venom symbiote before Flash protested. Though he’s got a lot of them, there will be no lying through those teeth.
4 THE SYMBIOTE WAS EXILED FROM ITS OWN RACE
How did the Venom symbiote end up bonding to Spider-Man during the first "Secret Wars" anyway? Well, that’s a bit complicated. The symbiote was corrupted by its first host, who used it to ravage his own home planet. After learning of the Venom symbiote’s misdeeds, the Klyntar elders deemed the Venom symbiote unworthy of inclusion in their hive mind society, and exiled it into a sort of space prison.
This prison was somehow incorporated into Battleworld as it was crafted by the Beyonder for the first "Secret Wars". It was here that Peter Parker first encountered what he believed to be just a costume. However, he was not the first Earth hero to bond with the symbiote -- that is an honor that belongs to Deadpool, who is partially to blame for its initially unhinged state of mind.
3 IT WAS PART OF AN INSANE MASHUP
In terms of superhero mashups, most of Marvel’s occur in their series of What If books. And none of them are as insane as this one. In the “Circle of Four” storyline, Venom, X-23, Ghost Rider, and Red Hulk venture to Las Vegas, and then to a very literal hell to stop Blackheart from bringing hell to Earth to overthrow his father, Mephisto.
Blackheart had proved too powerful for the heroes to take down, even when they teamed up. In response, the heroes created a mashup hero so over the top, that the '90s were jealous. Flash Thompson gave Red Hulk the Venom symbiote, and Alejandra Jones gave him the Spirit of Vengeance. The result? A totally hulked-out Venomized Ghost Rider. And yes, he rode a hellfire motorcycle.
2 THE SYMBIOTE LIKES TO WATCH TV
Pretty much everyone watches television and yes, that even includes symbiotic alien organisms that completely take over its host. In the most recent run of Venom after the symbiote was reunited with longtime host, Eddie Brock, the symbiote gets more of a story than it ever has before. Writer Mike Costa revealed in Venom issue 154 that the Venom symbiote enjoys watching television, and frequently watches it by itself when Eddie is asleep.
The symbiote’s favorite kind of programs to watch? Definitely medical shows -- it even learned how to take control of a sleeping Brock via his spinal column. The news definitely freaked the symbiote out a bit, though. And who can blame it? It would appear that not even aliens are immune to the barrage of tragedy.
1 HE WAS IN LINE TO BECOME SATAN
Okay, we know that Venom is not the most shining example of a ‘good’ guy, but we don’t think that he’s bad enough to be a candidate to replace Marvel’s answer to the ruler of all hell, the devil. Apparently, Mephisto thought so -- and branded Flash Thompson’s Venom with a Hell Mark, meaning that he would be in line to become the next Satan.
While this made Venom start blacking out, and sprout demonic features from time to time, it did not last. The Venom symbiote eventually transferred the Hell Mark to the clone it had absorbed. When Flash used the symbiote to protect Andi, the symbiote used this as an opportunity to get rid of both the clone, and the Hell Mark entirely. Not today, Satan!