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Superheroes Venom Has Defeated

When it comes to supervillains, Venom is almost ridiculously overpowered. Not only does he have all of Spider-Man's abilities, including the proportionate strength and speed of a spider and the ability to climb walls and generate a seemingly endless amount of "webbing," the symbiote can also shapeshift, turn invisible, and even sprout vicious fangs and a gross (but useful) prehensile tongue. Oh, and it's bulletproof, and its only weaknesses are stuff you'd want to avoid anyway, including fire and deafeningly loud noises. Well, that and the occasional craving for human brains, but if you really get down to it, that's pretty manageable too. 

With that much power, it's no surprise that Venom has seen his share of victories over the supervillains of the Marvel Universe in his decades as a Lethal Protector, but he's also managed to score wins over more than a few bona fide superheroes, too. From the characters you'd expect to what might be the strangest matchup of all time, here are the heroes defeated by Venom... in one form or another. 

Black Cat beatdown

Venom's earliest appearances are among the most threatening starts that a super-villain has ever had, and a good chunk of that menace comes from how he hunts Spider-Man by attacking those closest to him. In his first appearance in Amazing Spider-Man #300, he terrorized Mary Jane Watson to the point where she didn't even know her own name, and when he made his return a year later, his actions were even worse.

In Amazing Spider-Man #316, Venom goes looking for Spider-Man, and when he can't find him, he turns his attention to Felicia Hardy, better known as the Black Cat. Unfortunately, the Black Cat had been looking for Spider-Man herself, and when she couldn't give him the information he wanted, the fight that followed was swift and brutal. In a scene that still holds up as genuinely disturbing even today, he slammed her face-first through a wooden door, shattering her mask, and her nose. And the worst part, at least from Felicia's perspective? That's also how she found out Spider-Man, her would-be lover, was married.

That wasn't the Cat's last encounter with Venom, but perhaps surprisingly, the meetings that followed would usually be team-ups rather than fistfights. It seems that when a genocidal maniac like Carnage is running around, you learn to forgive and forget a little thing like a broken nose and a torn-up costume.

Spider-Man meets the concrete

Considering that he's fought Spider-Man more than any other character in the entire Marvel Universe, it shouldn't be too surprising that Venom has occasionally managed to get a win over his heroic arch-nemesis. In Amazing Spider-Man #375, he hands down a victory so decisive that Peter Parker only survives thanks to a handful of characters you've probably never heard of.

In a misguided effort to protect them from what he called Spider-Man's corrupting influence, Venom kidnapped Peter Parker's parents — who had recently come back from the dead to reveal that they were actually secret agents and even more actually robot duplicates created by the Chameleon, because comics get real weird sometimes. Either way, Spider-Man showed up to an abandoned amusement park to rescue them, only to find that Eddie Brock was in the mood to end his bad influence permanently.

In the fight that followed, an already exhausted Spider-Man suffered a beatdown like fans had never seen before. He put up a decent fight, but in the end, Venom smashed Spidey's head through the concrete base of a rollercoaster, then wrapped his symbiote hand around the web-slinger's face to suffocate him. The good news for Spider-Man is that the Wild Pack was there, and Raul Quentino — told you you'd never heard of them — was able to stop Venom from murdering Spider-Man with a blast from a sonic cannon. Even better, Venom finally saw the web-slinger saving someone's life, and agreed to a temporary truce where they'd leave each other alone while Venom went off to star in his own series.

Darkhawk loses 3 to 1

Back in the '90s, an appearance from Venom in a new comic was pretty much mandatory, so the only thing surprising about seeing Eddie Brock show up in the pages of Darkhawk was that Darkhawk won their first fight.

As the most recent in a string of Spider-Man-esque Marvel heroes, teenager Chris Powell had discovered an alien artifact that allowed him to transform into a super-powered cyborg from space, and thus learned that with x-treme '90s power came x-treme '90s responsibility. When he first met up with Venom in Darkhawk #14, he managed to beat Venom so badly that he thought he accidentally killed him... until a few years later, when Venom showed back up and told Powell that he actually let him win that one because he thought he was a good kid. In the rematch, Darkhawk wasn't so lucky — Venom trounced him not once, but twice in the span of two issues, first leaving him wounded on top of the Golden Gate Bridge and then simply webbing him up on the beach before promising to eat his brain if they ever crossed paths again.

It wasn't exactly the best track record for the new hero, but he can take solace in the fact that he did come out ahead in the fourth round, even if it was a little bit of a cheap victory. After ambushing Venom from behind in order to keep him from killing another villain, Darkhawk unleashed his full strength on Venom, knocking him out cold. And this time, he made sure to tell readers that "I beat him. Legit." One out of four ain't bad, we suppose.

Punisher gets punished

The Punisher's status as a "superhero" might be debatable, but we do know one thing for sure: he kills bad guys. It's kind of his deal. Venom also kills bad guys, to the point where he refers to himself as a "lethal protector." With similar tactics for dealing with "criminal scum" — not to mention their coordinated color schemes — you'd think these two stone cold killers would be best buddies when it came time to team up and take on a gang of drug dealers.

Venom: Funeral Pyre #1, however, tells a different story. The problem here is really a lack of information: while they're both down to wipe out the same generic gang, Venom is out to save a reporter who's gone undercover before he's forced to participate in a drive-by shooting. Frank Castle, on the other hand, doesn't know there's an "innocent" involved, and considering that Venom's first appearance involved murdering a cop in cold blood, he's not exactly eager to hear what he has to say on the subject. Another piece of information that the Punisher's missing? Guns don't work so well on a guy who can get shot in the chest and then spit out the bullets.

With Frank's considerable weaponry proving useless — he must've left his flamethrower in his other Battle Van — Venom makes short work of the Punisher with a couple of bone-shattering punches. Later in the issue, Frank would return to trap Eddie Brock in a cage by blasting him with ultrasonics, but that first meeting is a definitive victory for the symbiote.

Ms. Marvel goes for a ride

In a superheroic career that dates back to 1968, Carol Danvers has had plenty of superheroic identities. She's been Ms. Marvel, Binary, Warbird, the Sentress, and she's coming to movie theaters under her current identity as Captain Marvel. Back in 2011, though, Carol Danvers was the all-new, all-different Venom... for about six pages, anyway.  

It happened during the Siege crossover, during the time when the Venom symbiote was bonded with Mac Gargan, the Spider-Man foe previously known as the Scorpion. Norman Osborn had put together a team of Dark Avengers made up of evil doppelgängers for everyone, including billing Venom as the new government-approved Spider-Man. After attacking Thor's home city and literally eating a handful of Norse Gods himself, Venom found himself confronted by Spider-Man and Ms. Marvel. In terms of sheer strength, Carol's in a whole other league, and proved it by straight up reaching into Venom's mouth and ripping Gargan out of the symbiote like she was starting a lawnmower.

While it's a pretty impressive move, it also allowed the symbiote to temporarily take over her body. While Gargan watched in shock, completely naked without the symbiote, Venom used Ms. Marvel's considerable powers to fly around wreaking havoc and keeping Carol's body trapped within itself until Spider-Man managed to overload it with energy. It wasn't the most lasting victory, but a win's a win, and the fact that one of the strongest and most tenured Avengers had to be rescued by the eternally flaky Spider-Man was undoubtedly the hottest gossip to hit Earth's Mightiest Heroes in years.

Jack Flag gets jacked

His encounter with Ms. Marvel wasn't the only encounter that Mac Gargan had with a superhero during his tenure as Venom. In Thunderbolts #111, he was in a brief but brutal scuffle with none other than... Jack Flag! That's right! Venom took down Jack Flag!

Okay, look. If you don't know who that is, well, you're not alone. Jack Harrison was a sidekick to Captain America back in the '90s who, despite having his origins on the mean streets of Arizona, would eventually wind up as a full-fledged member of the Guardians of the Galaxy. Between those two extremes, however, he was one of the vigilantes who resisted the Superhuman Registration Act, bringing him squarely into the sights of the Thunderbolts, a group of criminals turned government-authorized hero hunters.

As obscure as he might be (and as goofy as 1994-era costume might've looked in 2011), Jack Flag was still trained to fight by Captain America, which made him a pretty formidable foe. Even after going through an explosion, he shattered the Swordsman's sword with a single punch and stabbed a shard into Venom. It looked cool, but it also sent Venom into a rage that saw him flipping out and nearly eating Jack before Venom's own teammates stepped in to stop him. Jack wound up being carted off to a prison in the Negative Zone and was temporarily paralyzed by Bullseye. He did not get his brain eaten, however, so in a way, he came out ahead.

Captain America makes it creepy

Okay, this is where it gets weird. During the events of a story called "Spider-Island," an army of genetically modified bedbugs caused New Yorkers to develop\ powers like Spider-Man... and then they continued to mutate until the entire island of Manhattan was overrun by giant spider-people. That's not the weird part.

The whole thing was a plot by a villain called the Spider-Queen, who teamed up with the Jackal in a bid for world domination. Throughout the story, the Queen was accompanied by the Spider-King, a fully mutated warrior who proved to be so dangerous that the government had to stop him by sending in their resident super-soldier: Agent Venom, the codename used by Flash Thompson when he was bonded with the symbiote to pull off dangerous covert ops for the military. Venom was able to take out the Spider-King and drag him back to his headquarters, only for the King to puke up a few thousand spiders with which he had been "impregnated" and try to overrun the lab. That is also not the weird part.

The weird part is that this is where readers learned that the Spider-King was actually none other than Captain America himself. In the fight, Venom nearly killed Cap before realizing who he was, so if anyone ever asks what Steve Rogers' most devastating defeat was, remind them of the time he was nearly killed by Venom shortly after giving birth to an army of spiders who were genetically modified by the guy responsible for the Clone Saga.

Gwenom goes hard

With Venom's overwhelming popularity, it shouldn't be surprising that some version of the symbiote has popped up in most of the Marvel Universe's prominent alternate realities. It bonded to a Tyrannosaurus rex in Old Man Logan, made Tobey Maguire dance through a musical number in Spider-Man 3, and even managed to bond with Galactus in the pages of What If. When it popped up in the world of Spider-Gwen, where Gwen Stacy was bitten by a radioactive spider and became Spider-Woman, though it resulted in some truly memorable beatings.

In addition to boasting what might be the best redesign the symbiote has ever had, "Gwenom" took Gwen Stacy's rage to new heights. Over the course of four issues, she laid the symbiotic smackdown on the Rhino, crushing him so thoroughly that the Punisher just had to stroll in and finish the job. Once that was done, she set her sights on her world's version of Matt Murdock, who was a ruthless, ninja-trained Kingpin of Crime rather than a heroic Daredevil.

Admittedly, neither one of those is a superhero, but if you think we're going to go with a copout justification about how driving Gwen to violence was the real victory for Venom, don't worry. While she was arguing with the Punisher over who got to deliver the finishing blow to Murdock, Gwenom was interrupted by the arrival of Samantha Wilson, better known to residents of Earth-65 as Captain America. She tried to talk Gwen down from her violent rage, and got a spider-strength punch to the face for her trouble.

Thor gets wrecked

You might think that a creature whose major vulnerabilities include fire and sonic attacks would have a pretty hard time dealing with the God of Thunder, but according to What If #4, that is not the case.

That issue tells the story of a world where Spider-Man never managed to break free of his symbiotic costume. Instead, after draining Peter Parker of his life force and causing him to die of old age at 25, the symbiote went on a tear across the Marvel Universe that began when it bonded with the Hulk. After draining his gamma-powered strength, it went into battle with the Avengers and tricked Thor into getting close enough that it could take him over, too.

For reasons that seem to have a little more to do with how Danny Fingeroth and Mark Bagley wanted the story to go than making things fit with the regular Marvel Universe, Thor's thunder and lightning were completely ineffective at stopping Venom. It was, however, still vulnerable enough that Black Bolt, the Inhuman whose voice can shatter mountains, was still able to blast it off of Thor with a single word, leaving it vulnerable to the Black Cat, who showed up with a flamethrower to destroy it once and for all.

Superman gets — wait, seriously?

Of all of Venom's numerous victories over the years, none of them are quite as unbelievable as the one he racked up in DC/Marvel: All Access #1, when he managed to beat Superman. Yes, that Superman.

After the success of the 1996 DC vs. Marvel crossover, in which the readers got to vote on which heroes would win in a series of inter-company brawls, the two companies decided to press their luck with a four-issue miniseries where a jointly owned superhero named Access tried to set everything right again. It's not as fondly remembered as the original, largely because of moments like the one where a guy who can shoot fire out of his eyes and clap his hands loud enough to bring down buildings got beaten up by a guy who usually has trouble taking down Spider-Man.

Whatever the logic behind it, it absolutely happened, with Venom inexplicably taking Superman's best punch and then nearly killing the Man of Steel by choking him on symbiote goo. It's not exactly Superman's finest moment, but it's definitely Venom's most unexpected (and dubiously canonical) win of all time.