I have been reviewing for Crawl Space for five years, now. By my count, this is my 100th review. Please read it and leave a comment!

VENOM #8
“Spider-Island” Part 3
WRITER: Rick Remender
ARTIST: Tom Fowler
COLOR ARTIST: John Rauch
LETTERING/PRODUCTION: VC’s Joe Caramagna
COVER ART: Tony Moore & John Rauch

PLOT:

The military gets to work returning Steve Rogers to human form with the spider-transformation cure synthesized from Anti-Venom’s blood. By the way, what super hero identity does Steve Rogers use these days? Captain America? Super Solider? Just plain old Steve? Cap’n Steve?

At the hospital, where Flash’s dad just died, Betty hands Flash a letter from his father. Before he can read it, the Army calls Flash and orders him to terminate The Queen. Flash tells Betty to hide while he finds an escape route, and then he swings to The Queen’s hideout.

Flash shoots at the Queen, but her telekinesis stops the bullet. The two have a nice, long fight in which The Queen proves far superior as a combatant. During the struggle, Flash’s dad’s letter gets set on fire. Flash never gets a chance to see what it said. We the audience get to read it, though, and it was a lot of “I’m sorry,” “I love you sonny boy,” etc., etc., etc., blah, blah, blah.

The fight moves outside to Central Park. The Queen pins Flash down and rants about how horny killing him makes her. Then Cap’n Steve arrives to help Flash. With Cap’n Steve distracting her, Flash manages to shove Steve’s shield into The Queen’s back, apparently killing her. However, The Queen erupts from her old skin in the form of a gigantic Spider-Monster.

“To Be Continued in The Amazing Spider-Man #672”

THOUGHTS:
I originally meant to make a joke about The Queen morphing into her final boss form, but then I found out that the title to ASM #672 is actually “Final Boss.” It seems Eric Lexie used the same phraseology in his ASM #671 review, too. No one, not even the writers, can look at this ending and not remember all the video game enemies that arbitrarily turn into hulking monstrosities after you kill them the first time. Although it stinks that I’ll never see the boss fight of “Spider Island,” I’m sticking to my guns about not reading any “Spider-Island” tie-ins except Venom. “Spider-Island” has abandoned all pretense of not being a Maximum Carnage-style crossover where one must read all the Spider-Family titles in order to perceive a linear story. Venom #8 shows the first half of a fight, but if you want to see how it ends you must read ASM #672. Eric’s ASM #672 review indicates the reverse problem; that issue starts in the middle of the fight without showing how it started.

Happily, I enjoyed the half of the fight shown in Venom #8. Venom and Cap’n Steve battling The Queen in her human form entertained me due to The Queen’s formidable power set, including strength greater than Venom’s, fighting skill exceeding Cap’n Steve’s, telekinesis, sonic screams, and telepathy. Visually, at least, the fight provides fun, casual comic reading.

Not even Remender and Fowler can make me like The Queen as a character, though. Admittedly, it biases me that Paul Jenkins’s origninal Queen story was arguably my life’s most unpleasant comic reading experience. I can’t fathom why Marvel would remind readers of that mental miscarriage by producing a sequel and making it an extended Spider-Family crossover. And everything I dislike about the character is still there: she’s a quasi-rapist, she has no discernible personality, and her stories dwell on nauseating imagery. The only difference now is that her dialogue is just . . . weird. She calls her victims “lucky duckies,” and when she strips Cap’n Steve’s shield away with telekinesis she says “I don’t want you to use protection.” From what I understand, Remender’s characterization is consistent with Slott’s. Are the writer’s going for funny? With The Queen? She’s such a drippingly icky character overall that attempts to make her humorous just feel deeply wrong.

Remender probably knew this story was merely a warm up to ASM #672, so he put in the burning of Flash’s dad’s letter to enhance this issue’s relevance as a Flash Thompson story. However, Flash’s scene with his father from last issue mitigates the tragedy of this letter’s burning. Flash has already reconciled with his father. He already heard that his father loved him from the man’s own mouth. With or without the letter, Flash and his father received closure. Conversely, if Flash had not made it to the hospital on time, and his dad went to his grave without reconciliation, and the letter’s burning meant Flash never got to know his father’s regret, then the letter’s burning would have mattered. I’ll come right out and say it: the choice to allow Flash to make it to his father’s deathbed in time was self-defeating dramatic cowardice.

RATING:
2.5 out of 5 (neutral). The solid action sequences redeem this issue, but on the whole Spider-Island has done nothing but obstruct Venom from telling the awesome stories I know Remender can tell.

20 Responses to “VENOM (2011) #8 REVIEW”

  1. #1 Enigma_2099 says:

    Good review as always, Chris…

    “The fight moves outside to Central Park. The Queen pins Flash down and rants about how horny killing him makes her.”

    You have got to be kidding me…

  2. #2 CrazyChris says:

    I’m not kidding. It’s a full page of dialog.

    “So much sexier this way, soldier. There’s intimacy to taking a life. To be the last face a man will ever see. The closest bond two people can share. It’s arousing. This gets me purring, gets me revved up more than taking over the entire city did. To mount you, to dominate you. To be the last woman you’ll ever touch.”

    This is what I mean when I say this character is icky.

  3. #3 Brian Bradley says:

    wow… that is some crazy dialogue… waiting to read my venoms review till my bus ride to philly tomorrow but I couldn’t help but read the comments and that is shocking…

    congrats on the 100th and 5 years!

  4. #4 butters911 says:

    congrats on 100 reviews

    I just finished my 17th!

    Im catching up to you :)

  5. #5 spideytothemax says:

    Happy 100th review CrazyChris!

    Remender’s work on Venom has yet to grab me the same way his Uncanny X-Force did, and Venom has the added advantage of featuring characters I actually care about to some degree. I’m sticking with it for now though. Isn’t Eddie Brock supposed to become a part of the supporting cast soon?

  6. #6 crazychris says:

    I haven’t heard about Eddie. Based on solicitations there’s one more Spider-Island related issue and then Flash is relocating to Vegas for a while. Im not sure how Eddie would fit into that.

  7. #7 Two-Bit Specialist says:

    Chris – Would you consider a fault of the issue if the goal was to make the Queen “icky” through her dialogue? If that was Remender’s goal, it is really a bad point?

  8. #8 Kevin Cushing says:

    Just read all three of your Spider-Island tie-in reviews, Chris. I’m on the flip-side of the coin – I have to buy/read ASM for the podcast, but I refuse to let them force me to buy Venom to get the full story. These reviews are a fun, informative way to keep up to date, though. I find all the story you described entirely appalling (as I have the story in ASM), but thanks to your reviews I actually got some entertainment value out of it.

    CrazyChris’s reviews – making Spider-Island palatable!

  9. #9 Parabolee says:

    Congrats dude.

    Although I disagree with your review. Love this series and loved this issue.

  10. #10 Enigma_2099 says:

    @#2

    They’ve got to find a way to squeeze sex into everything, apparently…

    @#8

    Quick guys! Call it in the air! *Flips a coin* Chris or Kevin!

  11. #11 Pete Wiggins says:

    @#7: I’m with Two-Bit on this one. It seems to me that the Queens is MEANT to be intrinsically icky and disturbing.

  12. #12 crazychris says:

    I don’t doubt it. They intended to make an icky, unpleasant, and unfun villain that has consistently made me physically wretch every time she appears, and if that was their goal then they succeeded. That doesn’t make me enjoy the character any more than I would if they made her so unappealing by accident.

    Where I come from, intentionality makes bad things worse, not better. Intentionality turns manslaughter into murder, it turns negligence into battery, and it turns unenjoyable stories into intionally unenjoyable stories.

  13. #13 Two-Bit Specialist says:

    @Chris – But should villains ALWAYS be enjoyable to read? Is it inexcusable to have a villain that you WANT the heroes to kill because you despise said villain?

  14. #14 crazychris says:

    There are villains you love to hate, but then there are villains where just seeing them creates such strong displeasure that seeing them defeated isn’t enough to take your enjoyment out of the negative numbers. The Queen is the latter.

  15. #15 Shaun Martineau says:

    Congrats on the 5 years/100 reviews.
    I agree with your review, except for a different reason. I though it was real closure last issue, it was a lead up to the real closure this time (you did mention how rushed it was last issue) but it was cancelled out by the Queen. So it comes in neutral.

  16. #16 Shaun Martineau says:

    was not real closure last issue*

  17. #17 BD says:

    Chris, I want to publicly thank you for all the work you’ve put into the site over the last five years. You’re awesome and I’m so happy to have you reviewing a book again.

  18. #18 CrazyChris says:

    Some people I’ve responded to, others I have not. Let me fix that.

    @3 (Brian) – I found that dialogue somewhat strange, too. I guess it is in character because The Queen’s first appearance had her forcing a kiss on Spider-Man. She’s a villain that likes to sexually assault male superheroes! Yippee.

    @4 (Butters) – thanks, and congrats on 17.

    @8 (Kevin) – It always means a lot when you comment on my reviews. You’ve been complimentary since the very beginning when I took your place as the ASM reviewer. Your ASM reviews inspired me to write for the site.

    @9 (Parabolee) – a lot of people seem to be liking the Venom Spider-Island tie-ins more than I do. You’re not the only one.

    @10 (Enigma) – I don’t think references to sex are necessarily a bad thing in comic books. I just am not into the idea of a villain who goes around molesting people and at the same time making me want to throw up because all her stories involve sickening bug transformations. It’s a very unsexy combination.

    @15 (Shaun) – I’m not sure what you mean. There was no real closure in Venom #8 whatsoever, as far as I could see.

    @17 (BD) – That means a lot to me!

    KEEP THE COMMENTS COMING!

  19. #19 Shaun Martineau says:

    Nevermind, I thought Flash had read the letter at the beginning and that’s why he was off his game this issue, because the symbiote couldn’t feed as well off the emotions he was producing and his head wasn’t in the game. Read the issue wrong.

  20. #20 Enigma_2099 says:

    @#18

    Could be worse… she could have waited until her transformation to start sweet talking them like that…