VENOM (2011) #9 REVIEW

Flash Thompson returns for yet another wacky Venom adventure! Read the review and leave a comment.

“Capital Punishment”
WRITER: Rick Remender
ARTIST: Stefano Caselli
COLORIST: Frank Martin, Jr.
LETTERING: VC’s Chris Eliopoulos
COVER ARTIST: John Tyler Christopher


Flash traverses New York, looking for Betty in the Spider-Island outbreak’s aftermath. Flash catches the Hijacker looting banks in the post-disaster chaos. The Hijacker remorselessly runs over civilians obstructing his impenetrable tank’s path. Flash tries to stop Hijacker from running over a mother and child, but Flash cannot get there in time. Flash “Venoms out” in rage and tries to penetrate Hijacker’s tank, but that proves futile.

Hijacker, thinking he’s evaded Venom, flies his tank to his hideout. But Venom had latched onto the tank the whole time. Venom tears Hijacker’s fingers off and makes Hijacker beg for his life before Venom bites his head off and spits it out.
Afterwards, Flash returns to Betty, who reads Flash her extra copy of Flash’s father’s dying letter.

The main thing—the only thing—this issue accomplishes is taking Flash one step further down the road of symbiotic corruption. Flash has killed before as Venom, and he’s even bitten off body parts, but he at least committed those acts in furtherance of a mission, under military orders. Here, Flash perpetrates out-and-out murder. Previously, the symbiote had subtly influenced Flash by making him enjoy killing. Here, rather, the symbiote nearly takes complete control. These differences exist, but are ultimately incremental. The only shocking thing about what happens is how un-shocked I feel. This is Flash Thompson we’re talking about. The fact that his chomping off a person’s head and spitting it on the ground seems like natural, even marginal, character progression testifies to how deftly Remender has transformed this character over merely nine issues.

Still, I expect more to happen in a comic book issue. The pivotal moment worked well, but the issue offers nothing else in terms of story movement. Betty reading Flash his father’s letter doesn’t count because, like I said last issue, Flash already received his father’s final sentiments in person.

I enjoyed Caselli’s artwork. His work looks clean and dynamic, with some exaggerated proportions but unappealingly so.

Yikes, this is a short review. Unfortunately, that’s what happens when only one important event occurs in an issue. To pad this out, I’ll get one thing off my chest. Venom says that if he turned Hijacker in to the cops, Hijacker would be charged with “vehicular manslaughter.” Actually, because Hijacker caused death during his flight from the commission of a bank robbery, the appropriate charge would be felony murder. Don’t these people at Marvel know anything?

3 out of 5 (Adequate). Despite one relatively significant moment, this issue displays symptoms of being a filler issue, including major decompression. The artwork boosts it slightly.