Horrific, disgusting, monstrous, powerful, and incredibly dangerous. His name is Venom, and he is one of Spider-Man’s most fascinating enemies. Venom originally started out as a replacement costume idea for Spidey, but he soon developed into a living nightmare that would terrorized the web-slinger for decades.
Throughout the years, Venom has become a popular favorite among Spider-Man fanatics. And for good reason! The depth of this character is cavernous. He has everything that a great comic book villain needs: an awesome costume, incredible powers, and a really cool name. But he also has something more that I think sets him apart as an absolutely stunning character. Venom’s entire character is driven by a powerful yet hidden metaphor.
To me, Venom is the personification of addiction.
The story of Venom is the story of an addict succumbing to his darkest desires and then struggling against the evil that his addiction creates. Like a black ooze, addiction clings to its prey, slowly at first, until it completely consumes the victim. It is like a parasite that will not release its hold. Even if you do manage to struggle free from addiction, it will take a piece of who you are and who you could have been.
The parallels to Venom’s character are uncanny. He is the black ooze that clings to your flesh like a thick tar. And just like an addiction, he becomes your worst nightmare. Yourself, completely out of control.
It’s an interesting thought. Consider this, the villain that scares Spider-Man the most is an imprint of his former self. Venom doesn’t alert Spider-Man’s spider-sense. That fact alone is terrifying! And the only explanation for this is Venom is a living part of Spider-Man, a dark part that serves as a constant memento to a time when Spider-Man was addicted to power.
With great power comes great responsibility. Venom is the result of Spider-Man’s addiction to great power.