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Amazing Spider-Man: Venom Inc. Alpha #1 Review

Comic Books

Amazing Spider-Man: Venom Inc. Alpha #1 Review

The world of Venom and Symbiotes is about to get a heck of a lot more complicated.

I know what you’re probably thinking, “Throwing Inc. in a title could spell doom!” Grant Morrison effectively told an interesting story with Batman Inc. though, so who are we to judge? It appears the Venom canon is about to get a lot more crowded.

So what’s it about?

Read our preview.

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Why does this matter?

Dan Slott and Mike Costa are bringing us a new direction for Symbiotes in the Marvel Universe and it starts with Eddie Brock and Flash Thompson. A fitting place to start, but with any new reimagining of heroes we’re bound to get an army of baddies to come up against them. This is the first thrust of the story and boy does it get crazy.

Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?

Amazing Spider-Man: Venom Inc. Alpha #1 Review
That ain’t good.

This issue does a good job establishing where Eddie Brock is mentally and where Flash Thompson is too. Eddie is currently running to Alchemax to get his Symbiote treatment so he doesn’t go eating people’s heads, while Flash is running covert ops with Mania (another Symbiote wearing hero) and clearly lusts for Symbiote action himself. That creates an interesting dynamic between the two since Flash desires the Symbiote which Eddie wears. Between those three characters (yes, the Symbiote is its own character) is Spider-Man, who has a personal stake in how this shakes out since he’s good friends with Flash. The writing team has done a good job setting these complicated relationships up, which only get more complicated with a major new direction for Flash by the end.

Spider-Man is represented well here too. The banter is on point and it’s nice to see Spidey as the pariah of New York again. He’s also dirt poor, which allows the writers to give him that sad sack point of view we all know and love.

On the other end of the spectrum are the bad guys who we don’t know much about yet, but they seem to be some kind of special ops and organized crew. A seed is planted as far as what their deal is and thus far they seem to be formidable adversaries, but they are more of a b-plot this issue so that Eddie and Flash can work things out.

Ryan Stegman draws this issue and he does a great job with Venom and Spider-Man. Stegman uses a heavy inked look which suits Venom (duh) and gives characters like Spider-Man a darker tone. The villains are pretty freaky and in one scene where Venom loses control, it has a horror feel to it due to the darker art and violent acts taking place. There are also some impressive full and double page spreads (like one where Flash and Eddie are being torn asunder by the Symbiote).

Amazing Spider-Man: Venom Inc. Alpha #1 Review
A great full page spread!

It can’t be perfect can it?

There’s a lot of talking going on in this comic, about feelings, relationships with aliens, and the like. It’s a slower paced issue for sure and it’s somewhat convoluted. Opening with Mania, a Symbiote hero who is friends with Flash, I wasn’t entirely sure who she is or what her history is. Then we have the villains who seem to have a new Symbiote ability in their grasp and Flash’s transformation. There’s a lot going on with Symbiotes in this issue and I’m having a hard time remembering all the rules and switches that are taking place.

I was also hoping for some explanation on the “Inc.” in the name of this title. So far it’s unclear what that means though with “Alpha” in the title I assume we’ll find out by the end of the series.

Is It Good?

A good start to a new Venom series that’s in canon and raring to make the Symbiote a much more complex character. Eddie Brock and Flash Thompson may be fighting over their Symbiote, but things are getting a lot more complex in the world of aliens and Spider-Man.

Amazing Spider-Man: Venom Inc. Alpha #1 Review
Amazing Spider-Man: Venom Inc. Alpha #1
Is it good?
A good first start, but answers as far as the villains and the "Inc." in the title remain to be seen.
Strong art that's darker in tone that suits the story
The Flash/Eddie/Symbiote triangle is an interesting one and Spider-Man only makes it more interesting
The story is feeling a bit convoluted with different Symbiotes running about and a complicated history for some of these characters required to fully grasp the drama

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