Venom aka Eddie Brock is dead, and all hope is lost. But wait, Eddie is now in some kind of afterlife and has some agency over fighting Knull. In a surprise turn for the solo series in an event all about Symbiotes, Donny Cates and Iban Coello are exploring new spiritual realms tied to the Symbiote species. In this latest issue, progress is made and a little more context for King in Black #3 takes place, too.
If it’s not already obvious that Venom is a slight step forward in between King in Black issues, it will be after reading Venom #33. This issue opens with Spider-Man giving Dylan a pep talk before they rush out to fight Knull — something that could have seriously helped add to the actual book — and it adds a solid focus on being a hero regardless of your standing. In fact, it’s this heroic speech that drives something later on in the issue bookending its message well.
Still, spending the first three pages of this issue with Spider-Man and Dylan involving an event that happened at the start of King in Black feels like a step backward. It’s starting to become clear Venom and King in Black should be read intermingled in a specific order, not on their own, and hopefully, Marvel collects them together to avoid confusion and an awkward reading experience.
The meat of this book involves Eddie, Flash Thompson, and Rex Strickland talking things out and experiencing Dylan’s attack on Knull while in the Symbiote spirit realm. That location is important to the major reveal in this issue and how Cates is further fleshing out how Symbiotes work and how much bigger in scope you can take a guy in a black living suit. For that, this issue is hugely important and interesting. There isn’t quite enough time to show us everything, so there are a lot of expository revelations that certainly reduce the impact of the moment. That said, it’ll be interesting to see if the God Hive is explored in tie-in stories.
Art by Coello with colors by Jesus Aburtov continues to be excellent. The fleshy and goopy nature of the Symbiote is ever-present, whether it’s a slab of it on the ground or how it curls off a figure. There’s a fantastic double-page splash of Dylan doing his work on the Symbiotes that explores background and foreground well. Aburtov reminds us of the red hell that is the God Hive via subtle reds on reflective surfaces and how it interacts with the character’s skin or suits.
Venom #33 takes an interesting step forward when it comes to Symbiote legacy. Cates is adding more richness to the way these aliens work while plodding forward with Eddie’s personal journey in finding resolution as a man who can’t see how he’s a hero. This issue suffers from excessive exposition and speeches, but makes up for it well enough with some mind-bending ideas.
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!