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Venom is a general term for the poison used by several groups of animal species for the purpose of defence and hunting prey. Most widely known are snakes, some species of which inject venom into their prey through hollow fangs, spiders, which also inject venom through "fangs", and bees, who inject venom with a sting. The use of venom is much more widespread than just these examples, of course.

Antivenom is used in the treatment of venomous bites. It is created by injecting a small amount of the targetted venom into an animal such as a horse, a goat, or a rabbit; the subject animal will suffer an immune response to the venom, producing antibodies against the venom's active molecule which can then be harvested from the animal's blood and used to treat envenomation in others.

See also : poison.

Venom, comic character

One of Spiderman's villains a character whose popularity soared surprisingly during the 1990s. Created by writer David Micheline[?] and brought to the page by artist Todd McFarlane based on a number of plot ideas and concepts from various other creators at Marvel Comics.

While embroiled in a major crossover storyline fighting a Secret War on an alien planet Spiderman acquired an alien costume. It appeared to respond to his thoughts, was able to mimic street clothes and seemed to provide an inexhaustible supply of webbing. Unfortunately, once on Earth Spider-man learnt that the costume was in fact a sentient parasite. With the aid of Reed Richards Spiderman managed to have the costume removed. The costume made one more attempt to bond itself to Spiderman but was forcibly rejected. Weakened by the rejection the costume slithered away, presumed by Spiderman to perish.

Meanwhile, reporter Eddie Brock had been penning a number of articles on the recent Sin-Eater[?] case. Following a false lead he proceeded to writer a series of columns identifying the wrong man as the perpetrator of the crimes. His mistake was revealed when Spiderman caught the real criminal. Blaming Spiderman for the downturn in his career subsequent Eddie was found by the alien costume which bonded itself to the failed reporter. The process left both, already emotionally unstable individuals, permanently damaged. Adopting the name Venom the new symbiotic pair decided to take their revenge on Spiderman.

Gifted with strength in excess of Spiderman's, agility, speed, web-shooters and the ability to remain undetected by Spider-man's spider-sense the villain has come to be one of the more dangerous enemies the wall crawler has faced. Despite his lethal ability and homicidal hatred of Spider-man, Venom remains curiously protective of those he considers innocent. He will generally avoid killing bystanders or innocents in his quest for vengeance if it can be avoided. (Of course the fact that he is insane means his definition of innocent as well as necessary casualties fluctuates as the story demands).

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