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' #299-300
One of Spider-Man’s key abilities when it comes to detecting his foes is his "Spidey Sense." Given that Venom is sort of an offspring of Spider-Man, he is able to cloak himself and sneak up on the web slinger undetected.
This is now a common obstacle fans know Spider-Man must overcome when going toe-to-toe with Eddie Brock and the Symbiote. But back in Amazing Spider-Man #299-300, when the sneak attack first arrived, we got our initial glimpse at just how much Spider-Man would have his work cut out for him, for decades to come, with his first encounter against one of his most legendary nemeses.
'The Amazing Spider-Man' #316-317
You know a fisticuff encounter is pretty intense when it spills into the next issue, and that’s precisely what happened in The Amazing Spider-Man #316-317. Venom strikes Spider-Man in the subway after spending days stalking him. After several clashes, Venom gains the upper hand and is able to lure Spider-Man in after a heartless strike on Black Cat.
Not only does Todd McFarlane's input stand out when a vat of blood is dumped over Spidey in the meat-packing plant arena, but Spidey gets beaten so badly he decides his only recourse is to remove his costume and beg the symbiote to take him back. Though it almost does, the pain of the separation from Eddie stops the process. While the symbiote and its host are knocked out, Spidey flees in his underwear - with his life, but sadly, without his dignity.
'The Amazing Spider-Man' #347
In The Amazing Spider-Man #347, Venom lures Spidey away from the Big Apple and the two go face-to-face on a remote tropical island, away from large, swingable buildings, putting Spider-Man at a severe disadvantage.
The exchanged blows take such a toll on Peter Parker that his only means of escaping Venom and his determination to end his life is by beating him to it. Well, sort of. Peter disguises a skeleton in his attire (in the process providing the issue with its memorable cover image), faking his own death and seizing his chance to escape. It was a beatdown like no other; it's not every day a superhero has to stage his own demise just to escape his nemesis.
'The Amazing Spider-Man' #375
Tragic parent-related origin stories go hand in hand with a lot of superheroes. One who has famously been through it when it comes to parents and parental figures is our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man.
Uncle Ben always springs to mind when we think of Peter's biggest loss; however, in Amazing Spider-Man #375 we see the return of his actual long-lost parents! (Or so we think.) Venom goes in a much crueler direction than usual this time around. Knowing Spidey's true identity and using it to his advantage, Venom captures Mr. and Mrs. Parker before Peter has even had a chance to catch up with them.
'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.