This week, the 2099 universe expands with two one-shot stories focusing on Ghost Rider and Venom. There’s a deeper reason for this series unfolding in Amazing Spider-Man, but for now these series serve up a nice dose of new takes on 2099 characters. Jody Houser and artists Francesco Mobili and Geraldo Borges tap into a tale of using a life to save a life.
The book opens with Alea and her father at an Alchemax laboratory before she gets surgery. She has some kind of disease that’ll be cured with a black ooze. You can kind of get the picture of what this entails considering the ooze is the Venom Symbiote and Alchemax is all kinds of evil. In fact, we get a double page layout revealing the Symbiote’s background confirming this is, in fact, Eddie Brock’s Symbiote. That makes the narrative feel more important as it’s not just any Symbiote. As the story carries on we get to see Alea deal with bullies at school and the haunting memories of the Symbiote. It’s a lot for a kid to take on in this origin of a new 2099 Venom. Houser does a good job establishing the character and a bit of background efficiently too. There is also a major twist at the end that adds a great deal of importance on the title and it’ll make current fans of Donny Cates’ Venom epic prick up their ears.
The art by Francesco Mobili and Geraldo Borges is good with a nice amount of details here and there to add a bit of richness to the world. The Symbiote looks great and it has a slightly different design for Alea that Venom fanatics won’t want to miss. Rachelle Rosenberg colors this issue and there are a lot of blues and purples used that make it look futuristic. Glowing light seems to be a major theme in the future. There’s some great use of red too which brings you back to the Alien movie quite well.
However, aside from some visual cues, this book doesn’t read like it’s from the future. There isn’t a lot of slack being used–sure there’s a “shock” or two–but generally speaking, it could have taken place in today’s timeline rather easily. That might be a pro for some who aren’t tapped into the 2099 universe, but I found it lacked a 2099 identity to tether it to other titles or at the very least this mini-event. It is nice to know the Symbiote goes on, and seeing Alea in a future book will be exciting to see.
I enjoyed this 2099 story and while I’m a sucker for Elseworlds tales, it’s nice to know this is bonafide in-canon storytelling. The cliffhanger twist near the end is proof of that. Pick this one up for a slightly different Venom story that may just have you begging for more.
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