The half-man, half-alien powerhouse known as Venom is known as one of Spider-Man‘s most popular bad guys, but that’s certainly not how he sees himself. If you asked Venom, he’d tell you that he’s actually the hero. Between the symbiote’s jealous rage, Eddie’s selfish hypocrisy, and the guilt he feels at failing to be the upstanding religious man that he wants to be, Venom is one of the most morally conflicted characters out there. In Venom’s mind — or should we say minds? — he’s standing up for the right cause, and no one else understands. Venom also likes to consider himself a “lethal protector,” and a guardian of innocent lives.
Well… the problem is, Venom has murdered innocent lives, though he always justifies it as being “for the cause.” Sure, everyone knows all about the thousands of people who Carnage has killed, but Venom isn’t that much better. Venom’s warped perspective is a huge part of what makes him such an interesting character — the deadly combination of two furious, rage-driven personalities who are too stubborn to see the flaws in their own philosophy. If Sony wants its upcoming Venom movie to be successful, it’s going to have to get the character right, and a key part of that is recognizing that Venom is not a good guy.
Venom has killed many people, both bystanders and villains, innocent and guilty. The symbiote has been worn by many others as well, from Mac Gargan to a Tyrannosaurus Rex, and those other hosts have further upped its body count, performing gruesome actions — such as cannibalism — that would make even Carnage blush. Here are 15 Times Venom Has Killed People.
15. Venom killed an innocent police officer… in a church!
Those who might argue that Venom is a hero, including Eddie Brock himself, would do well to remember the character’s earliest appearances. Even at the beginning, Eddie spouted the same claims of justice and honor, but his actions revealed the dark truth beneath his moralizing. As if actions such as terrorizing Mary Jane or breaking the Black Cat’s nose weren’t villainous enough, Venom was so intent on terrorizing Spider-Man that he didn’t mind casting aside complete innocents, if he felt it necessary. At one point in his first appearances, Brock — who still considers himself a devout Catholic — goes back to the same church that the symbiote originally found him in and is approached by a police officer, who believes that Brock is the one who has been robbing the poor box.
So, what does the heroic Eddie Brock do? Talk to the officer, maybe? Run away, to avoid damage?
Nope. Venom smothers the cop in his symbiote, suffocating him. Slowly. Brutally. As the officer drops dead, Brocks mutters a line about how “Innocent death is always unpleasant. But nothing must stand in our way. Nothing must block our righteous revenge!” Needless to say, it’s hard to imagine anyone being convinced of Brock’s moral justification here, other than Brock himself.
14. He Drove His Ex-Wife to Suicide
Yes, Eddie Brock had a wife once, a high-profile lawyer named Anne Weying. Not surprisingly, she left him when he started getting crazily obsessed with Spider-Man, blaming the masked vigilante on his own unethical reporting failures. But divorce would not be the end of Eddie and Anne’s relationship woes, and Eddie’s actions eventually drive her to take her own life.
See, a couple of years after their divorce, Anne gets shot. Eddie rushes to save her, by temporarily bonding the Venom symbiote to her. But the symbiote, which has spent years running off of Brock’s crazed, angry, and cancerous adrenaline, mutates her into a horrific “She-Venom”. Anne brutally murders her attackers in cold blood, an event which leaves her deeply traumatized, even after Eddie takes the symbiote back. Later, she is arrested by the cops as bait so that they can trap her ex-husband. She uses her one phone call to warn Eddie not to come rescue her. Key word, don’t. Eddie says he won’t, but instead, he sends his symbiote after her. The black suit bonds to her and leads to another She-Venom rampage.
All of this trauma leaves Anne emotionally shattered, reclusive, and scared of shadows on the wall. At some point, she looks out the window and sees Spidey swinging past in his cloth black costume. This fills her with horror, petrified that the symbiote might be coming back for her, and she promptly jumps out a window to her death. Not surprisingly, instead of taking responsibility for his actions to Anne, Eddie just blames Spider-Man again.
Spider-Man may be the biggest focus of Eddie Brock’s obsession, but there’s at least one other opponent he hates just as much: Carnage, AKA Cletus Kasady. The Carnage symbiote is Venom’s spawn, and Kasady is an immoral mass murderer who kills anyone he can, with no regard for who they are. As a result, Venom and Carnage have battled many times, with the latter’s power levels being so far beyond Venom’s that Brock and Spider-Man have usually been forced to team up in order to put down Carnage.
But finally, Venom got sick of his regularly scheduled Carnage battles, so he decided to do a sneak attack. While Kasady is in prison, locked away in a cell specially designed to contain the Carnage symbiote, Venom drops in unannounced. While Carnage can normally overpower Venom with ease, the surprise attack gives Venom the chance to sever Kasady from Carnage… at which point he literally devours the Carnage symbiote, absorbing its powers into himself. He then walks away, leaving a weak and powerless Kasady writhing in agony.
However, though Venom did kill the original Carnage symbiote, this proved to not be the end of Kasady’s reign of terror. Kasady eventually breaks out and paints himself red, trying to relive his former glory, even though he’s now a powerless human. Still later, the symbiote is reborn within Kasady’s mutated blood. Venom hasn’t been able to hit him as hard since.
12. Hugh Taylor, a Guardsman at the Vault — That’s Right, Another Innocent Death
Killing Carnage is one thing, seeing as the red symbiote is one of the most dangerous things on the planet. But here, once again, we get another little taste of Brock’s moral hypocrisy in action.
After his latest defeat by Spider-Man, Eddie Brock is imprisoned in the Vault, a special prison designed specifically to hold superpowered criminals (a necessity in the Marvel Universe, where some of these guys can bust open brick walls by flicking their fingers). In any case, Venom breaks out. As he’s escaping, in order to once again pursue his bloodthirsty quest for Spider-Man’s head, one of the guardsmen — whose name is later revealed to be Hugh Taylor — tries to stop him. Instead of just knocking the guardsman out, Venom once again suffocates an innocent man in his symbiote. As he swings out of the prison, Venom reiterates aloud how much he regrets spilling innocent blood, but reemphasizes his feeling that “sacrifices have to be made,” because it’s just so important that he gets to kill Spider-Man.
This murder would come back to haunt Brock, however, because these sorts of things do have consequences. In this case, after Hugh Taylor’s funeral is done, his father Orwell bands together with Hugh’s son, and a bunch of other former guardsman. This gang becomes the high-tech squad known as the Jury, specifically formed in order to take out Venom.
11. Angelo Fortunato
Eddie Brock was diagnosed with terminal cancer many years ago. The adrenaline that his cancer released was a source of sustenance for the symbiote, and the symbiote kept Eddie alive. But eventually, Eddie has a crisis of faith, decided he’d rather die than remain a supervillain, and so he sells the symbiote at a black market auction for $100 million, intending to donate the proceeds to charity. The symbiote is purchased by crime boss Don Fortunato, who gives it as a gift to his son, Angelo. With the symbiote’s power, the frail and self-conscious Angelo becomes the new bulky, murderous Venom.
It doesn’t last long. Angelo immediately takes the fight to Spider-Man. Once Angelo starts murdering people, Spidey stops pulling his punches, and the inexperienced Angelo is no match for the web-slinger, so he tries to escape. The Venom symbiote is disgusted by this cowardice. As Angelo leaps between buildings, the symbiote separates from him, leaving him stranded in midair — whereupon Angelo immediately falls to his death.
Soon after this, the symbiote snakes right into the invitingly more villainous arms of Mac Gargan, the former Scorpion. However, the Gargan/Venom combo proves to be one of the most toxic relationships that either ever has.
10. Spider-Man in Beyond!
Mac Gargan’s years as Venom drove to the former Scorpion to the depths of depravity: he finally had the power and status that he always craved, but it came at the cost of any traces of humanity left in him. Throughout his time as Venom, Gargan’s greatest victory — though short-lived — occurred during the miniseries Beyond!, by Dwayne McDuffie and Scott Kolins, where he finally succeeded in killing Spider-Man.
Beyond! tells the Secret Wars-esque story of a handful of superheroes and supervillains being teleported off the Earth, and put on a world where a powerful force calling itself the Beyonder says that all of them must fight to the death, and that whoever slays the others will be rewarded. The characters, including such mainstays as Hank Pym, the Wasp, and Medusa, as well as lesser-known figures like the Hood and Kraven the Hunter, are bewildered and confused by the whole situation. But as soon as the Beyonder puts forward that whole “slay your enemies” speech, Mac Gargan can’t get started fast enough. He immediately tries to kill Spider-Man. The web-swinger easily bests him, cracking his trademark jokes, when suddenly…
SHUNK. The symbiote sprouts a scorpion tale and impales Spidey through the chest. Even Venom himself can’t believe that he actually killed Spidey, after trying and failing for so many years. Of course, it’s revealed a few issues later that this “Spider-Man” was just an imposter, and was actually the shape-changing Space Phantom… but for a moment, however brief, Venom truly believed he had finally won.
9. He… um… Devoured A Whole Bunch of Asgardians (Yes, Literally, He Really Ate Them)
Eddie Brock may be a murderer, but there are certain lines that he just will not cross, and one of them is cannibalism. There was even a time wherein the symbiote started hungering for human brains, craving a chemical within them called Phenethylamine, and so the alien tried to convince Eddie to be a cannibal. This lead to a massive fight between Eddie and the symbiote, nearly ending their long partnership, until Eddie realized that Phenethylamine is also found in chocolate, and that consuming some nice bars of Hershey’s would stave off his symbiote’s hunger problems. Eddie may be a bad guy, but he doesn’t eat people.
Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for Mac Gargan.
As Venom, Gargan was a like a drug addict, and a total servant to the symbiote’s desires. So when the symbiote started wanting to eat people, Venom ate people. He munched on people’s brains, chewed up their arms, and swallowed anyone who got in his way. Yes, he became a full-blown cannibal; there are no two ways about it. One of the most disturbing instances of this occurs when Venom serves a member of Norman Osborn’s “Dark Avengers.” Osborn sends them and hundreds of soldiers on a mission to invade Asgard, Thor’s home. Once the assault begins, Gargan starts eating Asgardians, and he relishes the taste of these ancient people in sickening detail. Even if Asgard does get messed up in the upcoming Thor: Ragnarok movie, it probably won’t be this gruesome. Since the symbiote and Gargan have split ways, Gargan’s had pretty severe PTSD, and it’s not hard to see why.
8. An Entire Arctic Outpost
Technically, this wasn’t the same Venom symbiote that we know so well. But this other Venom puts its abilities to deadly use in Daniel Way’s solo Venom series, back in 2003, in a story that was inspired by John Carpenter’s The Thing — and it’s every bit as grisly.
The opening story arc, “Shiver,” follows a U.S. Army communications specialist named Patricia Robertson, who makes a supply run to an arctic outpost owned by the Ararat Corporation… only to find that all of the researchers have been brutally murdered by some sort of weird and creepy alien attack. As it turns out, the Ararat Corporation has cloned the Venom symbiote, for sinister purposes that are revealed in later stories. However, the clone isn’t too happy about being told what to do, and it breaks out and ravages everyone who serves as its hosts, in a thoroughly violent fashion.
7. Scream, AKA Donna Diego
We’ve been diving into the crimes committed by other Venoms, but hold your horses, because we can’t let old Eddie Brock off the hook just yet. Eddie’s antics have left a much, much bigger body count than he would like to admit, particularly when it comes to unnecessary innocent deaths. Furthermore, his murders didn’t end when his Venom days did: he’s killed other people since then. A number of these kills have been supervillains, including Donna Diego, the host of the Scream symbiote.
Scream is a character who resulted from the machinations of the Life Foundation, a corrupt corporation who forcibly extracted five symbiotic spawn from Venom’s body and bonded them to five mercenaries. Scream is the self-proclaimed leader of the group, but she actually ends up killing her teammates. The other four symbiotes survive this slaughter (it was the hosts who died), and end up merging to become the symbiotic vigilante “Hybrid,” who we’ll talk about in a minute. But Scream stays with Donna, and she continues her reign of terror for years.
But later on, Eddie Brock decides that he must eliminate the “evil” of the symbiotes from the Earth, and goes on a symbiote killing spree, believing that it’s the only way to protect the planet. That’s Brock, for you. He manages to trap Scream, weaken her symbiote with a sonic device, and then ends her life with a super-heated knife.
6. Hybrid, AKA Scott Washington
Of course, during Eddie Brock’s whole “I’m going to kill all of the symbiotes and save the planet” phase, he doesn’t stop at just the villainous ones: he also makes a point to kill the symbiotes with more heroic intentions, as well.
Scott Washington was a former guardsman who showed compassion to those four other Life Foundation symbiotes when they were being tortured by scientists in the Vault. Appreciating his kindness, these four symbiotes all bond with Washington at once, turning him into Hybrid. With these new powers, Hybrid becomes a heroic — though sometimes violent — vigilante, defending his local Brooklyn neighborhood from the gangs that terrorize it.
For Brock, that’s not good enough. He respects Washington as a man, and believes that Washington is trying to do the right thing. But Eddie has decided that the Hybrid symbiote needs to die, and he doesn’t know how to separate the man and the four aliens. So he captures Hybrid in mid-air, brings him to ground level, and guns him down. While apologizing, of course, and saying it’s all for the cause.
5. Betty Brant (Ultimate version)
Over in the Ultimate Universe, where the symbiote was uniquely reimagined as a cure for cancer instead of an alien lifeform, Venom is still far from innocent. Betty Brant, the Daily Bugle worker famously played by Elizabeth Banks in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man films, has been a major supporting character in most versions of Peter’s story since the beginning. But while the regular Marvel Universe Betty is still alive today, the Ultimate version met a grisly fate at Venom’s hands.
After the death of the Ultimate version of Peter Parker, the teenage Miles Morales becomes the new Spider-Man, inspired by Peter’s sacrifice. Betty discovers Miles’ identity and pitches the story to J. Jonah Jameson, but Jameson doesn’t want any part of it: he believes that revealing Miles’s identity will simply ruin the boy’s life and destroy his family, and he refuses to profit off of this. Yes, that’s right, Jameson is a better man than he usually gets credit for. In any case, Betty is miffed about all this. She marches off to her apartment, announcing that she’ll just sell the story to someone else. But Venom isn’t happy about her trying to “profit off things that don’t belong to you,” and he sneaks in through the window and kills her, in cold blood.
4. The Hijacker/Howard Mitchell
Other than Spider-Man, the most truly honorable and noble person to bond with the Venom symbiote has been Eugene “Flash” Thompson, Peter’s former high school bully turned adult best friend. A military veteran, Flash wore the symbiote as the government operative “Agent Venom.” But the symbiote always locates the darkest parts of its host’s psyche and draws these impulses out into the open. As a result, even a hero like Flash has blood on his hands.
Such is the fate of Howard Mitchell, the Hijacker, a tech-powered burglar and super-criminal who normally gets into fights with Ant-Man. Hijacker is a pretty standard Marvel “thug” villain, motivated by profit. But one day, he robs a bank with his truck, killing a security guard in the process. Venom swings in to stop him, and as the Hijacker desperately tries to escape, he also runs over a mother and her son, instantly killing them. For Venom, this act is the final nail in the coffin. He follows Mitchell to his hideout, breaks his fingers, beats the hell out of him, and then…bites his head off and spits it out.
3. Venom Took Over New York, Killed its Spirit, and killed countless innocent New Yorkers in Spider-Man: Reign
Spider-Man: Reign is Kaare Andrew’s dystopia-style grand finale for the Spider-Man legend, an R-rated possible future that shows an aged Peter Parker coming out of retirement in order to save his beloved New York City one final time around. It’s a truly unique story, both passionate and bizarre, which shows a futuristic New York that’s been overtaken by an authoritarian dictator named Mayor Waters. The Waters administration clamps down on all rebellious and/or criminal activity through a military police force named the Reign. This has led to the loss of millions of lives, and turned New York into a dreary, repressed, inhospitable place.
But Mayor Waters isn’t truly the one in control: he’s actually nothing more than a servant to his supposed aide, Edward Saks, who is himself nothing more than an unconscious host to the Venom symbiote — the real master of NYC. Even in the future, Venom is still filled with sorrow, rage, and grief over Spider-Man’s abandonment of it all those years ago. The symbiote has spent decades turning New York into a graveyard, killing countless people for the sake of hurting Spider-Man, waiting for the day where they will finally face off against each other one final time. Basically, Venom destroys New York just to ruin Peter’s life. As the villain says at the end of the story, quite memorably, “Look at me, Parker! I am the one responsibility that you shirked!”
2. Harry Osborn, in Spider-Man 3
As we all know, Topher Grace’s Venom didn’t have nearly enough screentime in Spider-Man 3. But he made the most of what he did have, and managed to play a huge role in one of the movie Spider-Man’s most iconic moments — the death of his best friend.
Harry Osborn has one of the most fully developed character arcs throughout the Sam Raimi Spider-Man trilogy, beginning as Peter’s only friend, until his drive for vengeance slowly turns him into the new incarnation of the Green Goblin, out for Peter’s blood. But in the end, Harry redeems himself. Seeing Peter at the end of his rope, only seconds away from being killed by the brutal combo of Venom and the Sandman, Harry rushes in and rescues him, and not a moment too soon.
Unfortunately, in order to save his pal from another death-by-glider, Harry is impaled when he leaps in front of Spidey, mirroring his father’s demise and ending the legacy that began in the first film. After Spider-Man defeats Venom, Peter and Mary Jane hold Harry as he passes away, staring out into the sunset.
1. A Whole Bunch of Documentary Filmmakers, at the end of Truth in Journalism
Though Spider-Man 3 is Venom biggest media appearance so far, most fans would agree that the best cinematic depiction of the character to date occurred in the edgy fan film Truth in Journalism, developed by Adi Shankar and directed by Joe Lynch. This gritty black and white found footage-style mockumentary is filmed by a crew of French documentary filmmakers, as they follow an increasingly uncomfortable Eddie Brock in his early days as Venom, while Brock (played by Ryan Kwanten) tries to justify himself to the camera.
Brock gets more and more desperate as the filmmaking process goes on, and the crew starts pulling back, unsure of how to take their star’s weird behavior, constant disappearing act, and immoral actions. At the end of the movie, Eddie brings them into his apartment. He throws up black gunk, then finally mutates into Venom — a truly scary transformation, straight out of a horror movie — and murders all of the filmmakers before shutting down the camera.
Despite its fan-made nature, Truth in Journalism was a huge hit with Venom enthusiasts, and a possible blueprint on how to make a solo Venom movie work. It looks like Sony might agree, since their possible shortlist of Venom directors has Adi Shankar at the top of it.
Did we miss anyone? Who else has Venom killed? Let us know in the comments.