Eddie Brock has had a crazy summer. You only need to pop open Venom #16 to get a full recap of how he was granted a Dreamstone and joined the fight in the War of the Realms. Now, in this week’s issue, Eddie must combat something that even he may not be able to fight: His son’s cold. Without money, a job, or the Symbiote, how can Eddie be the hero he needs to be?
So what’s it about?
Read our preview.
Why does this matter?
Donny Cates is back with this issue, delivering a heartfelt calm before the storm sort of story. “Absolute Carnage” starts next month, so treat this like a quieter solo story and you’ll be right as rain.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
The art by Juan Gedeon with color by Jesus Aburtov lifts up the weight of the Symbiote on Eddie’s conscience. He doesn’t have the Symbiote, but in his mind he wears it and in his head, he hears it. Gedeon draws a hulking yet less liquid-looking Venom that gives this issue a harder and tougher edge. There is an excellent use of splashy solid color backgrounds as Venom beats on enemies that adds to the ferocity of Eddie in the issue. He calls himself insane at one point and you’ll believe it from these visuals. The book opens with a double page spread recapping War of the Realms in epic fashion, too.
The story itself feels like a check-in for Eddie after going full metal Dreamstone maniac in War of the Realms. He visits an old friend looking for a job, he recaps what happened to him in the last few issues, and he thinks quite a bit. Cates does a great job exploring Eddie’s mind via captions, revealing a hero who is more down on himself than he probably ever was. He’s no longer the villain, but a man trying to sort out what he’s done wrong in the past. He even worries if his own darkness infected the Symbiote. The emotional toll Eddie is going through is clear and it does well to set up what kind of man he is as we get ever closer to Carnage’s event.
Speaking of, there’s some progress with the “Absolute Carnage” plot seeping into this one. What is fascinating is how Eddie doesn’t have the Symbiote anymore and yet the thing that Carnage has become is still looking for revenge. Cates squarely puts this upcoming threat in front of Eddie and it’s a bit of a shock how he reacts.
It can’t be perfect, can it?
We know Eddie doesn’t have the Symbiote, but more than once the visuals threw me off and made me doubt myself. I had to put myself at ease that the Symbiote is long gone since Eddie literally wears the suit at one point. The visuals don’t quite do enough to show us he doesn’t have it and that he’s only thinking he’s wearing it.
Is it good?
Symbiote or no, Donny Cates knows how to write Eddie Brock. The man is so full of self-doubt and worries that it’s amazing he can ever be heroic. Cates and company remind us he’s a hero with so many faults and that’s why we love him.
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 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!