In the past couple of years, Venom has undergone a renaissance of character development and growth most superheroes only see over decades. Al Ewing, Ram V, and Bryan Hitch’s new story arc has continued to develop Venom even further after Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman gave him a personality and a place amongst the echelon of superheroes. It’s a shock to see what Ewing proposes in Venom #10, and it may just change how you feel about Venom. In a good way.
It’s not much of a spoiler if you’ve read some of the newest story arc for Venom to say that the character is a time traveler now. Eddie Brock was killed, but his mind is now stuck in a Symbiote timestream where he can jump around. Ewing and artist Bryan Hitch have shown Meridius, a ruler of Symbiotes it seems from the far future, has been testing if not messing with Venom. In the latest issue, Venom must first come to grips with the concept that he is Bedlam, but it goes even further than that!
To say this issue is a mystery box of delights is an understatement. Ewing reveals a major whopper regarding who the Symbiotes are at the Garden of Time, and it’s trippy as heck. Not only that, but it recontextualizes who Venom is for the second or third time in this story arc alone. Again, it’s rare to see this kind of big swing character development for a mainline hero. Sure, a legacy character like Spider-Man can’t get away with it, but a somewhat younger character like Venom, who is super popular, usually maintains a status quo to avoid rubbing fans the wrong way. Here though, Venom’s identity itself is challenged. That’s a cool thing.
That identity fights other identities of himself (trying to avoid spoilers here), and Hitch draws a mean Bedlam. He’s huge, big, and red, thanks to colors by Alex Sinclair inks by Andrew Currie, and a real monster. I’d argue Hitch gets to show off a variety of monster types, from the sniveling pathetic Symbiote that pops up later in the issue that’s like Gollum from Lord of the Rings, to the hulking super strong Bedlam and the godlike confident narcissist that is Meridius. Its wide variety that makes for an interesting palette once you realize who they are.
Despite this being a superhero comic, don’t expect a lot of fighting. Venom is tortured from cover to cover, be it mentally or physically. This isn’t really a fight comic, though, but a cosmic mindf*ck. Venom and the reader must go through an incredible understanding that messes with his mind. How he gets out remains to be seen, but one can imagine he’s trapped forever. For that reason, this is a good issue as it ups the stakes and makes it seem impossible for this hero to escape. Given he’s lost his body, is unclear what is going on, and seems to be overpowered, it’s going to be exciting to see how the creators get him out of this one.
At its core, this is a comic about whether or not we can change our future. Are we stuck in our ways, or can we grow and improve? This is, of course, being depicted via time travel, which adds a lot of preconceptions and sci-fi mental gymnastics, but the meaning is still there. For a character like Venom, who was once a supervillain who ate brains, a slight change and course correction is an exciting thing for them to go through.
Venom #10 does the rare thing for legacy superheroes and continues to evolve their powers and identity. That’s exciting stuff, which is depicted well through the multiple Symbiotes that are like slivers of Venom’s personality depicted via monsters. Ultimately Venom has always been a monster character, but the creators have taken it even further and blended in some time travel mind-messing stuff.
Join the AIPT Patreon
Want to take our relationship to the next level? Become a patron today to gain access to exclusive perks, such as:
- ❌ Remove all ads on the website
- 💬 Join our Discord community, where we chat about the latest news and releases from everything we cover on AIPT
- 📗 Access to our monthly book club
- 📦 Get a physical trade paperback shipped to you every month
- 💥 And more!