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'Venom' #3 review: Out of the shadows

Comic Books

‘Venom’ #3 review: Out of the shadows

A Symbiote grieves.

After encountering an old colleague of Eddie Brock’s, Team Venom is back on the move. But who can they trust? And what is the Absent Throne?

Venom #3 continues to build upon the mythology of Venom in interesting ways, not only by playing off of what came before, but also by showing us little peeks between the lines of what we know to be true about the character. Bryan Hitch gets to go wild with some epic flashback sequences showing the Symbiotes crushing their opposition across time and space. However, the most compelling sequences are the ones set in modern day, in which these larger-than-life characters are experiencing very relatable and human emotions.

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One of my favorite sequences in this issue is an opening speech from Carlton Drake, during which he expounds on each of mankind’s encounters with the Klyntar and how much (and how little) they’ve been able to learn from these skirmishes. While it works as a handy bit of exposition for the reader, it also seems to function as a meta commentary from writer Ram V on how much the very concept of Venom has evolved from its early years of being “Spider-Man’s angry suit.”

'Venom' #3 review: Out of the shadows
Marvel Comics

It seems like we’ll never know everything about the Symbiotes, by design — otherwise, there’d be no more stories left to tell. The fact that there’s a kind of sick satisfaction to Carlton’s admission of ignorance hammers home that there’s a serious thrill in adding onto the mythology of Venom and the Symbiote race. In a weird way, Carlton Drake kind of gets the appeal of the character.

Speaking of which, Eddie’s former other is seriously hurting these days. The previous issue touched a bit on the Symbiote’s grief, but the heartbreaking narration threaded through this issue shows that this is more than mere separation anxiety. With Eddie gone and Dylan resisting the urge to bond with the Symbiote, Venom is no longer Venom. Hitch does a spectacular job with this sequence, granting Venom a pained expression as it wrenches itself apart in every which way; the Symbiote is quite literally directionless. A confrontation with Dylan only serves to deepen this sense of loss. The Symbiote made a vow to protect Dylan, to carry on Eddie’s efforts to be a better father, yet Dylan won’t allow himself to reciprocate. After all, this thing still stands where his father is not, and that breaks both their hearts.

This issue is much lighter on the action than previous installments, and that suits the story at hand just fine. Yes, there’s a bit of characters reminding each other of things they already know for the sake of the audience, but the main event here is Dylan pulling at a thread that’s been there all along. A major conspiracy is forming that stretches back through the history of the Symbiotes on Earth, one that may factor into Venom and his offspring’s lives in ways we cannot yet understand.

'Venom' #3 review: Out of the shadows
‘Venom’ #3 review: Out of the shadows
Venom #3
Even with stunning cosmic flashbacks and monstrous visuals, the Venom symbiote has rarely felt more human than in this issue.
Reader Rating1 Vote
The flashback panel are striking and weird, leaving an impression with very little space devoted to them
The serious conversations between Eddie and Dylan are heartbreaking and honest
Hitch nails the pained expressions on the symbiote's face - we've never seen Venom quite like this
Some of the issue feels like a retread of people telling us what we already know, but it's probably super helpful for brand new readers

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