When he was first introduced, Venom was a breath of fresh air. Spider-Man had always been home to a long list of iconic villains, but there was never a doppelganger like Eddie Brock and his alien suit. This was someone who could challenge Spider-Man to a fight and easily win - not only that, but Brock also knew that it was mild-mannered Peter Parker behind the mask.
That being said, as the character grew more and more popular, Marvel struggled to keep up with demand - and, as a result, the stories got more and more preposterous. Of course, when the symbiote started switching hosts ever few years, things got even weirder. What was once a character dedicated to getting revenge had morphed into an intergalactic knight of justice.
After nearly thirty years of stories, the character has been host to some truly insane moments - here are our picks for the 15 Most WTF Things Venom Has Ever Done.
16 Took over the Guardians of the Galaxy
On behalf of the Avengers, Flash Thompson's Agent Venom is sent to join the intergalactic heroes as an envoy, and it’s not long before he finds himself knee-deep in their bizarre outer space adventures.
The most memorable moment from Thompson’s time with the Guardians doesn’t involve taking down space pirates or battles with the Kree - instead, the symbiote’s rampage through the Guardians themselves stands out as the one true highlight from Flash’s tenure with the group.
It’s everything that fans could have hoped for: in an attempt to escape, the suit jumps from one Guardian to the next, with each member’s defining trait enhanced by the symbiote’s powers. Rocket Raccoon was dangerous enough on his own, but watching the pint-sized Venom grow an arm cannon is on an entirely different level.
Sadly, Thompson’s time with the Guardians was short-lived - at the very least, fans got to see some fantastically imaginative takes on some of the galaxy’s best heroes.
15 Lost control of its most recent host
For most of its history, the Venom symbiote has been the one in control. Mac Gargan was reduced to a bumbling, frightened child over what the symbiote made him do; Flash Thompson was constantly fighting for control; and it was eventually revealed that even Eddie Brock had trouble controlling the creature.
So, when Lee Price bonded to the symbiote, many expected more of the same. The fact that Price had never appeared anywhere in the Marvel Universe gave the impression that he was expendable, that he would be overshadowed by the symbiote itself. As it turns out, that couldn’t be farther from the truth.
Almost immediately, Price was able to take full control of the symbiote. To be fair, this was after the symbiote’s personality had been ‘cleansed’ (more on that later), but for someone to take such total control over the creature so quickly was a huge shock. For the first time in years, the symbiote had lost control - and it’ll be interesting to see what happens to the new Venom as a result.
14 Ditched its host mid-flight
Not all of Venom’s new hosts are so lucky. Eddie Brock carried the symbiote for years, Mac Gargan was trapped inside for quite some time, and even Flash Thompson got a few years in - Angelo Fortunato, on the other hand, barely spent any time as Venom before his untimely demise.
Back in 2005, Marvel decided that it was time to reboot Venom. Eddie Brock auctioned off the symbiote, where it landed in the hands of mobster Don Fortunato. Wanting to make a man out of his son, Don then gave the suit to Angelo... who immediately began using it for his own personal gain.
Unfortunately for Angelo, the suit never really bonded with him. After Angelo attempted to flee from a fight with Spider-Man, the symbiote released him in the middle of a jump between buildings. The suit itself would find a new home in Mac Gargan. Angelo, on the other hand, plummeted to his death.
Looking back, it’s clear that Angelo was a placeholder more than anything else: his entire time in the Marvel Universe spans just two issues, and most comic book fans have long since forgotten about him.
13 Bonded with Deadpool
Most comic book fans know the origins of the Venom symbiote: during a multi-dimensional battle, Spider-Man’s suit was damaged. Looking for a replacement, he was told to look inside a nearby alien facility, only to find a black orb sitting inside a large machine. After Spider-Man made physical contact, the orb proceeded to cover his entire body and replaced his tattered suit - albeit with a new design.
What a lot of fans don’t know is that Spider-Man wasn’t the suit’s first human host: that honor actually belongs to Wade Wilson, better known as Deadpool. The Merc with a Mouth wore the suit for a short time during his time on Battleworld, but after realizing that the organism was actually alive and communicating with his mind, Deadpool placed the symbiote back in its prison. Spider-Man entered moments later, and the rest is history.
While it may come off as a somewhat pointless retcon, it does help explain why the Venom symbiote is so far removed from the rest of its species. Recent comics have revealed that the symbiotes aren’t actually evil, but peaceful - and it definitely makes sense that anything that bonds with Deadpool’s brain would eventually go insane.
12 Saved an underground city of homeless people
The ‘90s were a strange time to be a comic book fan. Though Venom’s debut in 1988 had been an incredible introduction, and the follow-up was a worthy successor, incredible demand for the symbiote led for a litany of strange (or downright awful) storylines. Though Marvel's The Hunger miniseries stands out for many, it simply can’t hold a candle to the time where Venom saved an underground city buried beneath San Francisco.
The Lethal Protector series wasn’t necessarily bad, but it was definitely weird. After discovering the underground ruins, Venom teams up with Spider-Man (yes, the same hero that the symbiote was supposed to hate) to stop a surprisingly well-armed construction crew from demolishing the underground city and wiping out its populace for a stash of buried gold.
It’s a storyline that’s decidedly ‘90s: the villains are either all corporate businessmen or clad in ridiculous armor, the dialogue is goofy at best and Eddie Brock sports an epic mullet. Again, it’s not terrible...but fans of the villain’s original debut probably won’t find much to latch onto.
11 Traveled through a phone line
All symbiotes have a long list of powers. Even when Venom first debuted, it almost seemed as if the writers were going out of their way to give him too many different abilities. In addition to all of the powers it inherited from Spider-Man, the Venom symbiote could cloak itself, poison others with its bite and steal the abilities of other superpowered individuals.
Oh, and it could also shrink itself down small enough to fit through a telephone wire.
The Venom symbiote attached itself to Eddie Brock’s ex-wife Anne Weying on a number of occasions, but the second time was certainly the flashiest. As part of an attempt to lure Brock into an ambush, the NYPD used his ex-wife as a way to contact him. While on the phone with Brock, the symbiote traveled through the cables and bonded to Weying, allowing her to escape. Unfortunately, the experience traumatized Weying, and she committed suicide shortly thereafter.
Giving symbiote the ability to move through electrical wiring may seem silly, but remember: Venom’s spawn, Carnage, once downloaded himself onto the Internet.
10 Traveled to the Microverse
When Flash Thompson became Agent Venom, Marvel used the change as a way to branch out. Eddie Brock’s stories were largely centered around getting revenge on Spider-Man, and Mac Gargan’s were mostly about the host desperately trying to survive the suit’s tendencies. Thompson, on the other hand, spent his early days with the suit fighting off mutated spider-people and traveling to Hell.
That may sound strange on its own, but it's nothing compared to the symbiote’s trip to the Microverse. Here, Thompson teams up with a number of the dimension’s resident resistance fighters in an effort to stop Carnage from taking it over and releasing an army of clones. It’s just as bizarre as it sounds, and about as far removed from the character’s origins as you could get.
Then again, strange doesn’t mean bad: though the story could get a bit wordy for its own good, the central focus on the battle between Venom and his spawn keeps the proceedings from growing stale. Carnage has become a truly megalomaniacal supervillain as of late, and his trip to the Microverse was an early sign of what was to come.
8 Had its brain reset
For years, fans believed that the symbiote acted the way it did simply because that was its nature. Its origins implied that all of its kind acted in a similar manner, and several storylines throughout the ‘90s reinforced this idea.
In more recent years, however, Marvel has revealed more and more about the symbiotes, and just how different Venom is from the rest of its kind. Whereas the ‘Klyntar’ were known throughout the galaxy as a benevolent race, Venom’s various mutations and hosts had warped its personality into the twisted villain/anti-hero that fans had grown to love.
As it turns out, it’s never to late to turn over a new leaf - or have your brain reset like a faulty router. By re-merging with its people, the psychological damage that the Venom symbiote had been living with was ‘cleansed’. Venom had officially been transformed into an honest-to-goodness hero, complete with a new look and far less teeth.
If that sounds like too radical a departure for one of Marvel’s most popular villains, don’t worry - the changes didn't really stick.
7 Became an adventuring space paladin... for about five minutes
For what it’s worth, Flash Thompson and the symbiote definitely kept themselves busy while wandering through the depths of space. After being cleansed and re-joining the Klyntar hive-mind, Agent Venom found himself with the ability to sense when a planet’s population was in distress. Naturally, this resulted in Thompson traveling to a number of different planets, aiding in whatever way he could - though this new take on Venom was rather short-lived..
Despite having just cleansed its mind, the Venom symbiote would be re-corrupted almost immediately. After rampaging across a number of different planets, the organism was put on trial, and it was revealed that its cleansing was only partially complete. Flash would have to return to Earth in order to retrieve the symbiote’s missing pieces in order to fully repair its broken mind.
The entire storyline screamed of forced drama, with seemingly huge moments for the character overwritten within the span of a few issues. Though much of Flash’s time as Venom is worth reading, his final storylines were some of the most tonally-confused in recent memory.
6 Stole Spider-Man’s identity
There was a time where Marvel’s greatest team of superheroes was left in complete disarray. The events of the massive Civil War crossover had left much of the world in shambles, and the Avengers were not immune. The group was shattered, and the villainous Norman Osborn was there to fill the power gap.
After stumbling upon the Venom symbiote and joining the Thunderbolts, Mac Gargan was recruited to fill the role of Spider-Man on Osborn’s Dark Avengers. A medication was created to give Gargan a look reminiscent of Spidey’s time in the suit, and the villain was actually touted as the Amazing Spider-Man. As one might expect, this led to several confrontations between Venom and the genuine article, but it was more than enough to further Osborn’s plans.
Needless to say, the illusion was far from flawless. Gargan’s control over the symbiote was touchy at best, and any sort of confrontation led to Venom returning to his giant, monstrous form. Despite this, Gargan proved to be one of the Dark Avengers’ most dangerous members - and easily the most gruesome of the lot.
5 Attempted to bond to two hosts at once
The symbiotes have done a lot of crazy things over the years (as this list proves), but the idea of a host and a suit has always been a core part of the character's lore. So...what happens when a symbiote tries to bond to two separate people at the same time?
During their first confrontation, the battle between Spider-Man and Venom was a lopsided one. Eddie Brock, along with the symbiote, had the clear advantage over Spidey, and it looked like the Wall-Crawler was done for. Then, in a moment of either pure genius or dumb luck, Peter Parker begged the symbiote to take him back. Much to Brock’s dismay, the suit attempted to bond with Spider-Man once more...while it was still attached to Brock’s mind.
The backlash was enough to finally knock Venom unconscious, and almost took Spider-Man with it. Ever since then, the symbiotes have known better than to try and attach themselves to multiple people at once: there may be more than one host, but two at a time is just too much.
4 Ate its own clone (multiple times)
Just ask Spider-Man: clones always make things worse.
It all started with the 2003 miniseries, simply titled Venom. To put it bluntly, the entire storyline was an absolute mess: government agents that were actually aliens cloned the Venom symbiote and planned to use it to destroy humanity. The suit then went on a cross-country rampage in an effort to kill the original Venom, though it would inevitably fail.
Eddie Brock managed to re-absorb the clone just as the series was mercifully cancelled by Marvel. The entire Venom miniseries had been confusing, convoluted and filled with far too many characters - which explains why Marvel was so quick to ditch the series.
Then, years later, Marvel decided to bring the idea of Venom’s clone back into the forefront in an equally confusing set of stories. After purging itself of the clone and creating the heroine Mania in the process, it was revealed that Venom would need said clone if it were ever going to be fully cleansed of its evil ways. Though the Mania storylines were far better than that of the 2003 series, that doesn't mean much - and, with the introduction of Lee Price, it doesn’t seem like it mattered much in the long run.
3 Spent decades feasting on cancer
For years, fans believed that the bond between Eddie Brock and the symbiote was one born of both a twisted love and a mutual hate for Spider-Man. Though the character’s antagonistic origins dissipated throughout the ‘90s, there was one constant: the bond between the symbiote and its host.
Then, in 2005, Marvel decided to change all of that. It was revealed that Brock was actually suffering from cancer, and the only reason that the symbiote had remained with him for so long was because it was feeding off the adrenaline that the disease produced. Everything that fans had come to love about the complex relationship between the two organisms was ditched overnight, seemingly so that Marvel could come up with an excuse to revamp the character. Eddie even went so far as to auction the symbiote off like an old car.
Since then, both Brock and the symbiote have bounced back and forth between storylines and characterizations. There have been good ideas, but none of them have lasted for long - and it all started when Marvel decided to give Eddie Brock cancer.
2 Gave birth to Carnage
When Venom was first introduced, much about the symbiote itself was still shrouded in mystery. No one knew where it had come from or what the full extent of its powers were - given that most people assumed the symbiote had been artificially created back on Battleworld, the idea of a second suit seemed impossible.
That’s when Carnage joined the fray: after being put into a coma by another supervillain, the Venom symbiote re-bonded with Eddie Brock while simultaneously broke him out of prison. Unbeknownst to Brock, the symbiote also left something behind: a single, red-tinted spawn. As Brock’s former cellmate (the mass-murder Cletus Kassady) watched Venom leave, the spawn found its new host.
Since then, Carnage has gone on to be one of both Spider-Man’s and Venom’s greatest foes. Unlike Venom, the Carnage symbiote and its host are bonded together on a molecular level - no matter how hard anyone tries, it’s physically impossible to separate the two. Kassady’s shattered mind and violent tendencies were bad enough on their own, but with the Carnage symbiote, he’s basically invulnerable.
1 Forced its host to eat people
As the Scorpion, Mac Gargan was a decidedly B-class villain. Though his origins were compelling enough, subsequent stories did little to expand on his character or evolve in any meaningful way. That all changed when Gargan ditched his green armor for the Venom symbiote...though few could have ever expected that Gargan’s turn in the suit would be so grisly.
While the Venom symbiote’s knack for feeding on human brains had been mentioned in storylines past, it was usually used as a threat and nothing more. Once Gargan put on the suit, however, scattered references became a central focal point: where Eddie Brock had been able to keep the symbiote under control for the most part, Gargan was almost immediately overwhelmed by the alien’s lust for violence.
As a result, cannibalism became a core aspect of Gargan’s turn as Venom. What was once a gag character had quickly become one of Marvel’s most unsettling villains, and gave the new Venom’s storylines a decidedly different flavor (no pun intended) than its predecessors. For the first time in years, Venom was a monster again - and it was just as horrifying as one might imagine.
Many fans opposed the radical changes to Venom when Gargan first took on the symbiote - but, as time went by, Marvel did more than enough to keep the character interesting.