Since August 1962, Marvel Comics has seen Spider-Man face off against a multitude of infamous villains - the Green Goblin, Doc Oc, and The Lizard, to name but a few. But the Goliath to Spider-Man’s David is without a doubt the overbearing, symbiote-wearing Venom.
Venom and Spider-Man have always shared a special relationship of sorts, which is none too surprising when you consider Venom is somewhat of a combination between the alien substance and Spider-Man himself. This is due to the symbiote's duplicating abilities from its time spent with its previous host, Peter Parker.
Leading the race in stature and contrasting Peter's brains with his mighty brawn, it's fair to say Venom has given Spidey a good run for his money over the years. However, although Spider-Man manages to escape narrowly almost every time, there have been instances where, due to the severity of the beatdowns, our hearts have been in our mouths, wondering if our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man was finally going to meet his end at the hands of his monstrous, long-tongued foe. This is a shoutout to those moments where Venom totally owned our favorite web slinger.
'The Amazing Spider-Man' #388
This isn't exactly a fair fight. Eddie takes his Symbiote alter ego out for a walk (in The Amazing Spider-Man #388) and decides to road test the alien's ability to negate Peter's Spidey Sense. Rather than go full Venom, Eddie remains in civilian mode and just casually walks up to Peter and shoves him in front of a train.
Thankfully, Peter is able to escape this unbelievably cruel sucker punch.
- Photo: DC/Marvel
'DC/Marvel All Access' #1
In 1996, Marvel and DC did one of their occasional crossover books where heroes (and villains) from both worlds intermingled: DC/Marvel All Access #1. After years of having his backside handed to him by Venom, Spider-Man brings in backup - in the form of the Big Blue Boy Scout himself, Superman! Faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, etc.
One would think the Man of Steel combined with the might and agility of our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man would be enough to take down the infamous monstrosity that is Venom. Instead, Eddie and his symbiote soulmate take the pair on simultaneously and handily dispose of both of these red-and-blue-clad heroes.
'Spider-Man' #52 (Scarlet Spider)
Although not our original web slinger, Ben Reilly's Scarlet Spider is still an incarnation that is equipped with all the moves of our traditional Spider-Man. And considering the beating he receives, his encounter with Venom is well worth a mention.
Spider-Man #52 sees Venom as something of an antihero at this stage in his life, trying to do good but forever being remembered for his past sins. The Spider Clone (Scarlet Spider) tries to take him on for exactly that reason. Quickly realizing that, although this Spider Clone has Spidey’s moves, he is not his old foe, Venom slashes the Scarlet Spider across the chest. Luckily, before the long-tongued unit could get in a decisive blow, the two are interrupted.
Needless to say, Venom made quite the example of Scarlet Spider upon their first encounter - and with hardly any effort!
'Ultimate Spider-Man' #38
Ultimate Spider-Man #38 pits Peter against Venom - but, when we say Peter, we mean just that: Peter. No web shooter, no Spidey suit. Peter faces off against Venom with nothing but his reflexes and his wits.
The handicap of Peter's unexpected lack of superpowered resources certainly shows; in fact, he comes close to actually being consumed by the gargantuan symbiote. Running for practically the entire issue, we experience a clash like none we've witnessed before. Thankfully, Peter does best Eddie and his other half in the end, but Venom's early upper hand over a less-equipped Peter is certainly worth a mention.