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Venom #21
Marvel Comics

Comic Books

‘Venom’ #21 features a Symbiote fight for the ages

This is the ideal fight comic.

Action hounds, this is the issue that you’ve been waiting for. The all-star team of Al Ewing, Cafu, Pere Pérez, and Frank D’Armata go all out in the pages of Venom #21, giving us a truly inventive and wicked fight between Eddie Brock and Bedlam. In doing so, the book further highlights the gulf of experience between them, showing that even though Bedlam may have some years on Eddie, he doesn’t know nearly as much as he thinks. That’s illustrated both in their philosophical differences and the fact that Eddie roundly mops the floor with this monster using his new “Human Symbiote” powers.

Readers will have a good idea of what they’re in for from the very first page, which gives us a quick countdown from three before the fists start flying. Every other page after that, these two find a new, visually stimulating tactic to use against one another. Someone chucks a table, the other person finds a shotgun strapped to the bottom of it. One combatant sprouts teeth where they shouldn’t have them, the other figures out how to use their nervous system as a weapon. By the halfway point of this fight, both Eddie and Bedlam look like a Rob Bottin fever dream, and it’s awesome. All the while, the two are negging each other with verbal digs that feel like they both watched a lot of WrestleMania in the ’90s.

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Venom #21
Marvel Comics

We even get a funny gross-out gag (literally) involving the biker gang on the scene. It’s a welcome addition to the insanity, even though it’s still kind of bizarre that they’re still just chilling as this battle unfolds. Presumably they’ll become part of Eddie’s entourage as he heads to the next confrontation, but you’d think they’d try to put some miles between themselves and a guy who go can come back from being turned into a pile of chewed muscle.

This latest issue is honestly the platonic ideal of a fight comic. It’s balls to the wall, unapologetically bonkers action, but done in a way that allows for new expressions of Eddie’s powers and new explorations of these two characters’ personal arcs. Eddie faces down his worst self in more ways than one, and readers should be very pleased to see the results. I feel like I’m a broken record at this point, but Venom continues to push the envelope of what you expect from this series, and I absolutely love every bloody panel of it.

Also, Eddie yells “KNOCK KNOCK” at one point. Listeners of the AIPT Comics Podcast may know that I have a real soft spot for a certain Symbiote-adjacent Eminem song, and I choose to believe that was an intentional and hilarious nod to said track. And even if it isn’t, it still stands as another bombastic and satisfying moment in one of the series’ wildest issues yet.

Venom #21
‘Venom’ #21 features a Symbiote fight for the ages
Venom #21
Venom #21 is the ideal fight comic. Eddie Brock is back and badder than ever. This issue will have Venom fans banging their heads throwing up devil horns for the return of the King in Black.
Reader Rating1 Votes
8.9
Inventive action – you never know what the next page will bring
Accomplishes some interesting character development through an issue-long fight scene
Genuine laugh moments throughout
9.5
Great
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