Web of Venom continues to be an intriguing one-shot series of books and the latest promises to tie into the reveal in Venom #22 that Dylan (Venom’s son) is in possession of the last sliver of Carnage. This can’t be good with Knull heading back to Earth.
This is an extra-sized issue by Zac Thompson, penciler Dio Neves, inker Oren Junior, color artist Rain Beredo, and letterer Clayton Cowles. It opens with Normie (Harry Osborn’s son) and Dylan hiding out in Normie’s dad’s home. Normie reads Eddie’s letter to Dylan apologizing for leaving and soon we’re off with these two boys who are likely going stir crazy stuck inside. At its core, this book shows Thompson has a great handle on writing children of this age. They’re 10 or 12 years old, just young enough to be foolish, but old enough to know better. Given these two kids are the children of two supervillains–though they aren’t anymore–Thompson plays into the fact that maybe they too have dark, angry, and maybe even evil natures about them. They are still kids and you see it in how they play and get overly emotional, but you can see the groundwork for behavior that needs to be treated or they could go full-blown bad guy someday. From that angle, this is an interesting character study you don’t normally get in comics.
As far as the plot is concerned this issue also plays around with the Symbiote sliver Dylan has trapped. He uses it in creative ways and it’s quite clear there’s a lot of power left in the piece. Normie’s dad gets a bit of exploration too which hints at more to come with him and it’s nice to see Molten Man pop up however brief. This corner of the Spidey universe has been untouched for a while so this issue serves as a nice check in on that.
Fans of Sleeper, the prodigy of the Venom Symbiote should enjoy this issue quite a bit too. The character factors into the main story as the protector of the boys who have taken the form of a cat, but he also gets his own short backup story. That story does a lot to show us what he was up to since we last saw him in the Mike Costa solo series. Juan Gedeon draws this issue with colors by Rain Beredo and they do a great job giving the story an indie feel. I got Maxx and Image Comics vibes from the visuals which do a great job making Sleeper look cool and also depicting his crazy powers well too. It also offers up a mystery as to what this character may know but hasn’t told anyone yet.
This is a good one-shot that does well to build off what we know and set up some interesting threads going forward. It does, however, feel a bit slow in its middle as it lacks some real conflict for a long portion of the tale. The cover is sadly misleading too, but that’s pretty normal these days. All that said, if you’re at all interested in Sleeper, the newest Symbiote to hit the scene, don’t miss this.