Connect with us
Venom by Al Ewing & Ram V Vol. 4: Illumination
Marvel Comics

Comic Books

‘Venom by Al Ewing & Ram V Vol. 4: Illumination’ finally figures it out

Finally, some good food.


I embarked on the journey that is Venom, primarily with disappointment in my heart. I had tried to start the series a couple times: once when it started, and again in an attempt to catch up in time for Dark Web. I never caught up all the way because it was both boring and also just not good. In a ridiculous turn, Ewing figured out how to make Venom finally be good – he just had to jettison everything that it was about prior to this point. Good thing he did! 

Venom by Al Ewing & Ram V Vol. 4: Illumination
Marvel Comics

The two major improvements this volume makes over the last ones are through the mythology, and the art, both of which seem to have finally clicked after 16 issues of what I assume is trying really hard to make the worst thing of any of those creator’s collection of works. 

Listen to the latest episode of our weekly comics podcast!

Mythology isn’t anything new to Mr. Ewing, but it seems that he’s ramped that up even more post-Immortal Hulk, and while this—and maybe nothing so far—doesn’t live up to that, I can see Ewing cooking here. Which is nice, because that was nowhere to be seen in Venom up to this point.

Where the stuff with the garden and Meridius was clearly mythological in nature, they were also the least interesting versions of that kind of story. If your main comparison is Interstellar, and that film did the concept a great deal better, it’s probably a good idea to scrap everything and figure out how to do a good job. 

Unlike the rest of the series, this volume presents the Kings in Black as something both key to the fabric of the 616 and tragic: the makings of a perfect Marvel superhero. Where the rest of the series presented Eddie with choices that weren’t really choices, with a clear destiny and a decided endpoint, this new definition of Kings in Black, as beings who exist as protectors, and maybe destroyers, of all that exists. What’s maybe most impressive is that it’s ultimately the same point. Eddie is chained to a particular destiny, to a particular role, and all he can do is live it. But by framing it as the tragic core of the story instead of the rote sequence of events that dominated so much of the early issues. 

Really, the fact that this volume uses Bedlam — a character whose concept is devoid of anything interesting, whose design is as lazy as I’ve ever seen — so much is enough for me to wrinkle my nose. This is how much I dislike the whole Garden storyline, and praise its conclusion. 

Venom by Al Ewing & Ram V Vol. 4: Illumination
Marvel Comics

What’s far more important to this comic working for me, though, is the art, which is just glorious all thorough. Cafu is an artist whose work I’ve enjoyed previously, but I’m not sure I’ve seen him go as hard as he goes here. The whole trade feels like he’s in lock-step with Ewing, from the action, to the presentation of the Kings in Black, to just how cool and hot Eddie looks in every scene. The imagery he put together is so cool, and elevates everything about the writing in a way that was really lacking in Hitch’s work across the series. 

Cafu makes choices that especially emphasize what Ewing is doing with the mythology of the character, and maybe most importantly, made the floating black hand look menacing, gentle, and somehow have Venom eyes, which is just such a cool visual.

Venom by Al Ewing & Ram V Vol. 4: Illumination
Marvel Comics

Part of me thinks that maybe I only connected with this arc so much because previous issues were so much worse, but I think Ewing and Cafu did really great work here. I won’t go around saying it elevated the rest of the series like some kinda fool, but these are some genuinely good Venom comics that I’m gonna shelve next to Defenders

Venom by Al Ewing & Ram V Vol. 4: Illumination
‘Venom by Al Ewing & Ram V Vol. 4: Illumination’ finally figures it out
Venom by Al Ewing & Ram V Vol. 4: Illumination
Finally, some good food.
Reader Rating1 Votes
8.9
Ewing knows how to push and mold Marvel mythology like no one else
Cafu might just be my new favorite Venom artist
Still doesn’t make vols 1-3 worth reading
8.5
Great
Buy Now

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!
Sign up today
Comments

In Case You Missed It

X-Men #1 X-Men #1

‘X-Men’ #1 is an exciting relaunch

Comic Books

DC Comics reveals SDCC 2024 exclusives and panels DC Comics reveals SDCC 2024 exclusives and panels

DC Comics reveals SDCC 2024 exclusives and panels

Comic Books

Marvel reveals new addition to the Ultimates with new 'Ultimates' #2 cover Marvel reveals new addition to the Ultimates with new 'Ultimates' #2 cover

Marvel reveals new addition to the Ultimates with new ‘Ultimates’ #2 cover

Comic Books

New comic book company teased New comic book company teased

New comic book company teased

Comic Books

Connect
Newsletter Signup