After an ever so slight delay of about two weeks, Venom is back and it continues the all-new idea-laden take by Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman. The Symbiote has lost its memory and personality, Eddie is back home dealing with his father, and now he has to explain to his brother, who he just met, what happened. It gets deep, y’all.
So what’s it about?
Read our preview.
Why does this matter?
After years of Venom more or less not changing his spiel, this creative team is rewriting Symbiote and Eddie Brock history. It’s exciting and, frankly, a breath of fresh air.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Fans of Eddie Brock need to read this issue. Cates reveals a lot in a key flashback, and cleverly the pain and trauma we witness Eddie go through directly connects to something that is key to the Venom character. Much like how we learned the green ooze is Venom’s waste, Cates appears to be tying character traits to concrete life experiences and explanations. It makes the character feel more well rounded and thus more interesting.
This issue also continues to develop the relationship between Eddie and his brother. Not a difficult task since his brother has only just been introduced, but the relationship is interesting and well crafted. It’s amazing what a new relationship dynamic can do for a character. Eddie has always been kind of a loner, but when he has someone to protect, it makes the character all the more interesting. There’s also a key moment that appears to connect back to Knull that has huge ramifications.
Stegman, inker JP Mayer and color artist Frank Martin do a great job with the flashbacks. Truth be told, there isn’t much superhero stuff on the page, but the character acting is on point. There are subtle touches to show Eddie’s pain, be it tears or the strangeness of this character, like when his Symbiote helps stir his coffee. It’s in these visual details that the character reveals himself further. I read this comic with my girlfriend who audibly gasped from some of the turmoil on the page. Maybe I’m more numb to the violence, but it struck me how affected she was by the art. It’s brutal and helps convey the trauma felt by the characters.
It can’t be perfect, can it?
I’m confused at the integration of the Maker in this story. He’s a fun, super smart, but psychotic type who seems way out of Venom’s league, yet here he is meddling with his life. It seems out of place. I’ll leave it to the creators to prove me wrong though.
As I mentioned above, there’s little to no action in this issue. This isn’t a superhero book so much as a character study and it reveals much, but I’d be lying if I didn’t mention I missed some sort of action. It also juggles a few too many plots, thinning out its meaning here and there.
Is it good?
A great issue that further defines one of the most polarizing heroes ever created. This is a character who has always had haters, but also huge fans, and it’s in this latest run that I think the haters may have to reconsider their positions. Cates and Stegman are making a case for why Venom is a top tier complex hero.
Like what we do here at AIPT? Consider supporting us and independent comics journalism by becoming a patron today! In addition to our sincere thanks, you can browse AIPT ad-free, gain access to our vibrant Discord community of patrons and staff members, get trade paperbacks sent to your house every month, and a lot more. Click the button below to get started!