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Venom Epic Collection: The Madness
Marvel Comics

Comic Books

‘Venom Epic Collection: The Madness’ review

The real selling point of this trade is the twisted art that looks like nothing published within Marvel’s superhero line.

Since his introduction in the Todd McFarlane era of Spider-Man, Venom has remained a popular anti-hero, expanding his interactions far beyond the cast of characters connected to Peter Parker. Considering the character’s popularity, Marvel has found ways to shoehorn Venom into almost every Marvel book on the shelves, in addition to countless minis and crossover titles. Venom Epic Collection: The Madness attractively assembles many of these books published between 1993 and 1994 into one single volume, giving some excellent horror artists an opportunity to shine and craft some sinister interpretations of Eddie Brock. 

Collected in this truly “Epic” volume is Iron Man #302, Darkhawk #35-37, Venom: The Madness #1-3, Venom: The Enemy Within #1-3, Incredible Hulk vs. Venom #1, Venom: The Mace #1-3, Nightwatch #5-6, and Venom: Nights of Vengeance #1-4. At their core, all these issues share the same basic plot: Eddie Brock is going mad because of the symbiote and existing voices in his head, all while directing his vigilante impulses against assorted figures in the Marvel Universe. It’s a characterization of the Venom that many fans of the recent Venom films will find appealing. 

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Venom Epic Collection: The Madness
Marvel Comics

I distinctly recall these various miniseries on store shelves back in the early ’90s, but the visual approach to the character seemed far too extreme for my young self, having grown accustomed to the more grounded version on display in the mainstay Spider-titles from that era. While the issues featuring the likes of Iron Man, Hulk, and Darkhawk stay closer to the traditional esthetics of the character, the minis let artists like Kelly Jones, Bob McLeod, and Jim Craig go all-out in twisting and distorting their characters into terrifying visages.  The Madness and Enemy Within minis have some of the gloomiest art I’ve seen in a Marvel book; they were clearly trying to capture some of the Vertigo energy that DC had tapped into during this time. The stories are par for the course when it comes to Venom, but the pictorial execution is a spectacle to observe. 

Venom Epic Collection: The Madness
Marvel Comics

Like many of these Epic Collections, there are a handful of sketch and inked pages, as well as a few editorial pieces published when these books were released in the ’90s, but nothing to write home about. The real selling point of this trade is the twisted art that looks like nothing published within Marvel’s superhero line. It’s clear that the creators tasked with bringing many of these stories to life wanted to create something far more disturbing than was generally allowed in superhero books published by the big two at the time, and they succeed in giving nightmarish dimensions to Eddie Brock’s physicality and psyche.

Venom Epic Collection: The Madness
‘Venom Epic Collection: The Madness’ review
Venom Epic Collection: The Madness
It’s clear that the creators tasked with bringing many of these stories to life wanted to create something far more disturbing than was generally allowed in superhero books published by the big two at the time, and they succeed in giving nightmarish dimensions to Eddie Brock's physicality and psyche.  
Reader Rating1 Votes
9.1
The stories are simple but largely coherent, with Eddie Brock facing off against Marvel characters while battling his own demons.
Artists Kelly Jones, Bob McLeod, and Jim Craig all do very interesting, twisted versions of Venom in their books.
Light on supplementals.
The basic plot premise is repeated throughout the book, and may be too much for uncommitted Venom fans to digest in full.
7
Good
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