It is becoming quite clear throughout Donny Cates’s Venom run that he’s a well read writer. This series references Beowulf for instance, and in this fourth chapter he seems to be channeling Paradise Lost by John Milton. Cates and Stegman are crafting quite an origin story in this series and it’s an epic that I did not expect. In this fourth chapter we learn all about the ancient villain who commands Symbiotes.
So what’s it about?
Read our preview.
Why does this matter?
This series has basically rewritten how we should think about Symbiotes and Venom in just three issues. This issue is a must read if you’re a Venom fan as it is adding a good deal of purpose and weight to what this character is all about.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
This issue opens with a somewhat biblical feel — a grand retelling of how the god of the Symbiotes got to where he is and why he’s so mad makes the intro cosmic and quite cool. Cates has basically created a cosmic vampire of sorts and in a few issues, he’s made the character seem purposeful.
There are terms like “Godslayer” and “Necrosword” used in this issue that are incredibly badass. These concepts probably took a lot of energy to come up with and add a layer to the narrative I wasn’t expecting. Cates is crafting something that feels big and important, which keeps you reading and fully invested. In only the first few pages he lays down ancient history that reform and rejigger who the Celestials are and what they were up to. This is a very big cosmic story which might surprise some and it’s doing wonders as far as Venom’s place in the Marvel universe.
Stegman continues to draw in a horror style that suits this book perfectly. There are panels that brought me back to Francis Ford Coppola’s Dracula — it can be very gothic and moody, but also unnerving. There are some large scale moments in this issue that impress beyond belief. It’s cosmic and you see it on every page.
It can’t be perfect can it?
This is an example of serial storytelling sometimes being best read in a collected format. I say this because Venom, the character with his name on the cover, isn’t really in the issue much. Given, he’s outmatched and can’t do much, but the Symbiote god has taken over the narrative completely. It’s like an aside to the audience so we can catch up and let the villain do the talking. That doesn’t make it bad per se, but it does mean the plotting feels inorganic.
Is it good?
This is a good issue and a great one if you like creation myths. Cates and Stegman are revolutionizing Venom that will shock and delight you.