King in Black has officially kicked off, which has instantly made Venom a go-to for fans who want more from Marvel’s latest event. Venom #31 is out today and takes place moments after the end of King in Black, so spoilers ahead folks! But wait, the way writer Donny Cates left Eddie Brock means certain death, so how can this issue go on? For starters, it all takes place within seconds as Eddie plummets to the ground!
To get around the time issue, the book actually opens “A long time ago…” The first three pages dig into some semi-recent storytelling involving Rex Strickland, who originally wore a Symbiote in the Vietnam War. If we already thought Eddie was in way over his head, these opening scenes further that truth based on Rex’s assessment in a previous story. What we have here is a story filled with self-doubt and outsiders who know Eddie can’t be the hero that stops Knull. It’s effective in setting up Venom and Eddie Brock as an underdog.
This issue is honestly quite light on plot and story. It serves its purpose, though, as conveying a moment Eddie Brock will never forget. More development of the B-plot with Dylan could have helped, though it is handcuffed a bit by the entire issue taking place over only a minute or so.
Drawn by Iban Coello with colors by Jesus Aburtov, this issue will blow you away with not one, but two double-page splashes. Knull looks incredible in this book, with a suit that’s all liquid and a general design that’s very pointy. In a way, Knull is like a sick rock band lead singer with an awesome costume and tons of swagger. Body language is filled with confidence and it’s quite cool to see how Coello draws all the Symbiote tendrils coming off of him and how Aburtov adds volume to it all. Earth has only been invaded for a few seconds up to this point but it’s already becoming a goopy mess. It’s gross-out cool stuff.
This is a book about a hero filled with self-doubt. Cates has Eddie literally explore his journey up until this point, not as Venom necessarily, but as Eddie Brock the man. For this, there’s clearly some soul searching and rediscovery in store for Eddie Brock, which is exciting since Cates has developed the character quite a bit since taking over in 2018. For that, this issue serves as a major moment before a change takes place.
This issue has a serious problem when it comes to gravity. Suspension of disbelief can only get you so far, but Eddie is clearly falling away from the building at the start of the issue, but then somehow is close enough to kick off the building later on. It’s a touch confusing and it’s also hard to believe Eddie has so much time to think and do so much as he falls.
Venom #31 works on its own terms, honing in on a man, his self-doubts, and those who don’t believe in him. As the world crumbles, Eddie is about as lost as can be and in that this issue serves as a huge moment for the character. The great change ahead does not start, but like with any great change, it all starts at the bottom of a very deep hole. This is an issue about how deep that hole goes before a character like Venom can pull themselves out of it.
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!