This first issue of Venom from Al Ewing, Ram V, and Bryan Hitch takes some huge swings right out of the gate. If you thought you knew where Eddie and Dylan’s story was leading at the end of the previous run, trust me when I say you have no idea.
Taking its cue from the previous volume, Venom is now leading the charge to do good throughout the universe, using his influence over the Symbiote hivemind to be everywhere (and everywhen) at once. Almost immediately, this series is expanding on the possibilities of Eddie’s abilities, showing us how powerful he truly is. Hitch draws the hell out of this sequence, presenting a chaotic assembly of scenes from the past and future that is already starting to pay off by the issue’s end.
Alex Sinclair’s colors make the starbound sequences pop, with Venom’s sleek black suit popping against the purplish hues of the cosmos. There are also tell-tale signs in the illustrations that this mission won’t go the way Eddie thinks, with one particular character’s eyes hinting at things to come. And of course, a book with Venom in the lead needs plenty of strong inks — and Andrew Currie gives brilliant definition to every figure. You’d think it’d be easy to lose an all-black alien in the depths of space, but this creative team makes sure that doesn’t happen.
However, while this issue is definitely filled to the brim with cosmic struggles and bombastic fights, it also sings when it comes to character development. Ewing tackles the Eddie-centric sequences, perfectly capturing the character’s voice and showing how he has and hasn’t changed over the years. Eddie may literally be the god of the Symbiotes and have his finger on the pulse of everything that happens throughout space, but he’s also still Eddie Brock, a kid from New York City who frequently gets in over his head and rises to the occasion all the same. He has to find ways of coping with everything happening around him, whether that means giving cute nicknames to his fellow Symbiotes or reminding himself to check back in on Earth every once in a while. The King in Black still has the heart of a human, after all.
Meanwhile, Ram V writes the Dylan scenes with a great deal of pathos and teenage angst. Dylan may be a kid who’s been through a lot and played a part in saving the world a time or two, but he’s also very much a teenage kid, and the writers remember this. He messes up, he gets into fights, and he misses his dad. Seeing Dylan trying to keep it together through everyday life reminds the reader that he still has the same needs every person does. Hitch especially reminds us that it’s not easy having a god for a dad when Dylan comes home in the middle of the night to a totally trashed house. There’s food everywhere and the laundry hasn’t been put away. This is a kid who is used to doing things on his own, but that doesn’t mean he has to like it.
Eddie and Dylan’s portrayal here feels completely honest, grounding the bonkers events around them. And they do get bonkers. We’re talking interstellar hijackings and bloody betrayals, as well as a hometown brawl that is only just beginning. To get into more detail would be veering into spoiler territory, but trust me when I say you’ll be jonesing for the next issue as soon as this one closes.
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