17

Disclaimer: I have zero Spider-Man comic lore experience.

When I think of Venom from the Spider-Man universe, I picture this:
Venom Comics
I always thought of the big white areas on his face as his eyes.
Not unlike an Orca Whale:
Orca
But ... Like with the Orca Whale, further inspection led me to realize that those white spots aren't actually their eyes.

I stumbled upon this picture:
Realistic Venom
This led me to question if there were details about Venom that I hadn't previously noticed.
Does Venom have eyes?
I don't know much about the biology of the character, but i'd be curious to know if he is technically blind or not.

  • Looks like he has a little white eye in that picture. – Z. Cochrane Dec 27 '16 at 22:57
  • @zabeus That would be why he's asking. That picture is fan art. – Slacklord the Terrible Dec 27 '16 at 23:00
  • 3
    That is an awesome fan art though... wow – Derek Dec 28 '16 at 4:17
  • @zabeus That may be a nostril. – Acccumulation Mar 15 '18 at 21:30
12

Venom is a two-part entity, the alien symbiote and the human to which it is bonded. Venom's appearance is a variation on the original black Spider-Man costume.

black spidey costume

The white areas corresponded to the eye patches on the old blue and red costume and as such were simply translucent areas where Parker sees through the mask. When Parker wore the symbiote it worked in a similar fashion, i.e. human eyes behind a mask. There's no reason to think it works any differently when worn or bonded to other humans, though I admit it is uglier.

  • Is this Secret Wars 1 or 2? – Detective Chimp Dec 28 '16 at 12:18
  • 1
    So, the alien always has a human host within him when I think of "Venom". Because of that, one would assume the alien uses the host eyeballs. This doesn't feel like a concrete answer in its current form, but definitely helping me understand how the creature functions and why he may or may not have "eyes". – Nomkins Dec 28 '16 at 15:19
  • 1
    @DetectiveChimp The black costume first appeared in the first Secret Wars. – Thunderforge Mar 14 '18 at 4:57
11

When the symbiote was being used as a costume by Peter Parker, as noted in this answer, it imitated the "one-way mirror" style lenses of Spider-Man's regular costume.

Note that, while the symbiote (when not attached to a person) is always black (or black and white), the symbiote imitated Peter's red and blue costume at one point (and of course, he could use it to imitate any clothes he could think of).

Once the symbiote bonded with Eddie Brock (and continuing through the others it's been bonded with), we've seen that the symbiote can do more than imitate clothing.

It can seem to bulk up much more than the human it's bonded with; it can portray a mouth, tongue, and teeth that bear no resemblance to the actual bonded human:

enter image description here

Note that the human's features don't necessary match the apparent biology.

In fact, while Flash Thompson and the symbiote were bonded, the symbiote would imitate the lower legs he no longer had (and the symbiote would do this even when Flash was visibly himself).

This indicates that the extra bulk and apparently deformed face are not something that's actually happening to the bonded human (we've never seen any deformation of that human returning to a normal form during such a disruption).

So, the white areas are merely acting as a stylistic element, rather than being actual eyes at this point. The symbiote presumably makes whatever element of its outer image lines up with the bonded human's eyes transparent.

On its own, the symbiote may or may not be able to see. It can certainly sense people in some fashion; we just don't know if that's truly sight as we think of it. The symbiote alone may have occasionally been shown with white eye-spots without being attached to a human, but it's usually shown as being just black, and I'd argue that any "eye-spots" shown by the symbiote alone would still be it imitating that first costume it acted as.

3

The "costume" is actually a living creature that needs to bond to another living organism in a symbiotic relationship, which has given rise to the practice of calling the living costume a "symbiote". Once bonded, the host and symbiote behave as one entity.

As other answers have pointed out, the white areas of the 'mask' on the symbiote known as Venom are facsimiles of the one-way lenses used in the mask of the original red and blue Spider-man costume. As such, we can surmise that they behave the same way, allowing the wearer/host to see out but preventing anyone from seeing through from the outside.

I don't have any knowledge of whether or not the unbonded symbiote has a way of seeing. Since the symbiote itself feeds of the neurological chemicals of the host's brain, it's possible that the symbiote does not in fact see at all on its own, but only through the host's optical nerve impulses. We can thereby extrapolate that Venom's eyes are, in fact, the host's eyes.

That said, the appearance of the Venom symbiote's eyes is largely dependent on the host that the symbiote is bonded to, though subsequent iterations are variations of their appearance when it was bonded to its "first" host - Peter Parker. (I realize that certain storylines in the comics retconned some additional hosts before Peter in-universe, but since the first true appearance in the comics was when it was bonded to Peter, that is the original appearance from which all others are derived). Some of the most important variations are:

Spider-man/Peter Parker

Spider-man Symbiote Costume

When bonded to Peter, the shape is a relatively uniformly curved "cat's eye" that, per above, is based on the same area of the red and blue costume.

(Source)

Venom/Eddie Brock

Distorted Eyes

When bonded to Eddie Brock, the first host to bond with the symbiote after Peter, thereafter known as Venom, the eyes take on a variant fluid, distorted, twisted version of the original "cat's eye" shape. It's worth noting that this was an evolving look, originally only taking on a more sinister, exaggerated proportion and shape:

Venom First Appearance

(Source)

But ultimately being distorted to an almost fluid-like shape in the first pic, as though the edges are constantly ebbing and flowing. This obviously is dependent on the artist's interpretation of the character.

Venom II/Mac Gargan

Mac Gargan

Later, the symbiote is auctioned off by Brock and purchased by a mob boss for his son to use. The symbiote rejects the mob boss' son and bonds instead with Mac Gargan, formerly known as the Spider-man villain Scorpion. As you can see, the white areas of the eyes actually form more of what you describe as the "Orca Whale" pattern with a distinctly visible eyeball, similar to the fan art you posted. It is again worth noting here that further down the line, the symbiote is administered a medicine of sorts by Norman Osborn in order for it to be more docile and take on the appearance of the original black costume worn by Spider-man, in order to appear as the real Spider-man in Osborn's "Dark Avengers" as "The Sinister Spider-man".

(Source)

Agent Venom/Flash Thompson

Agent Venom

When bonded later to Peter Parker's high school tormentor/war veteran Flash Thompson, the eyes take on a similar shape to the original but as only a white outline with a black inner area. Presumably the one-way visibility is retained, where the host can see out of the black area, but obviously no one can see through from the outside.

(Source)

1

IIRC, there are organisms that have receptors that work like eyes, yet they don't "see" per se. Parameciums and Amoebas for example. It's like Daredevil's sight, which works like sonar. If the symbiote gives the host control, I assume the white areas are transparent enough to give them sight. Either that, or they look like venom did in Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2.

It's also possible that symbiotes, having the ability to adopt the powers of its previous host, also has a form of Spider-Sense, allowing him to perceive the world with panoramic vision.

1

I assume it works like Spider-Man's mask. The eye-like things on his mask are one way, making the interior part transparant, and the exterior opaque. I think when a symbiote (venom, carnage, or any of the others) covers the head, the white spots, or maybe even the entire face, is transparant. Either that, or the suit gives the wearer panoramic vision, since that's how the symbiote "sees".

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