Venom is the hottest character right now at Marvel Comics, due in no small part to the commencement of Knull’s long-awaited attack on Earth. King in Black has kicked off and at the end of its first issue–spoilers–Eddie Brock was dropped off a very tall building. Venom #31 took place over only a few seconds, but with Venom dead, how can the character proceed? Find out in Venom #32!
Writer Donny Cates is clearly being a bit more exploratory with this series as opposed to the more straightforward and, so far, simple main event. This issue opens with Eddie hitting the car we’ve seen him hit twice in two other books and then fall into what appears to be some kind of spirit realm. In fact, that’s exactly what is going on, as Eddie must navigate some kind of Symbiote purgatory before they inevitably reach Hell. He has a guide through with Rex Strickland, who was set up in the last issue and his inclusion makes a lot more sense here. It appears Cates is adding even more to the Venom mythology with an impressive new layer that’s put the usually violent and physical alien race into a new spiritual place.
Narratively speaking, this issue establishes that Eddie is a hero to the bitter end, Knull is gonna be super hard to kill, and there is some glimmer of hope for Eddie to get back to the land of the living. How he pulls that off seems iffy, but the path does seem clear. Cates has effectively set up a story of redemption for Eddie’s turned Symbiote as well as Eddie’s ability to learn something in death. There’s an effective level of stakes at work here.
That does get slightly messy, however, since we learn you can’t really die if you’ve ever worn a Symbiote. Apparently, there’s more time in the afterlife for you if you’ve worn one for longer periods. It’s a convenient plot device that is so new and undefined it makes some character reveals less impactful. We’ll see how they play out as the story goes, though.
Iban Coello draws yet another good issue with color artist Jesus Aburtov, who uses a lot of cool blues to convey the spirit realm well. The goopy goodness of the Symbiote takeover is seen a few times which is epic and detailed beyond belief. It stretches in long tendrils and is colored well to show the light gleaming off of it. There’s also nice hazy red and orange to convey the city lights still peeking from the Symbiote gunk hanging over everything. One scene reminded me of The Matrix with rows of characters connected to the Symbiote hive. It’s a neat concept that would look fabulous in a movie, though it does feel familiar.
Venom #32 offers up a brand new way to think about and look at Symbiotes. Venom #32 is Ghost meets The Matrix with Hacksaw Ridge energy.
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