VENOM (2011) #13.1 REVIEW


Cover by Caselli & Martin

Does Venom’s crossover into the Marvel Universe’s hellish side justify a weekly shipping schedule? FIND OUT!

And you must leave a comment!

VENOM #13.1
“Circle of Four” Part 2
WRITER: Rob Williams
ART:Lee Garbett
COLORS:Rob Schwager
LETTERS: VC’s Clayton Cowles

PLOT:

Doctor Strange and Daimon Hellstrom convene at Las Vegas’s outskirts, where they find Johnny Blaze’s impenetrable invisible barrier preventing Hell from seeping past the city’s border. A civilian bystander utters the book’s funniest line: “How’s a working man supposed to make his living in this economy if the planet Earth is entirely overrun by the nefarious denizens of hell itself?”

Within Vegas, Blackheart commands his concubine, Gari Oyle, to destroy the barrier. Blackheart then orders that Venom, Ghost Rider, Red Hulk, and X-23 die at the hands of “The Antitheses,” four villains created to target the heroes’ weaknesses.

 

Ghost Rider rides after Gari Oyle, but her antithesis, Ichor, intercepts her. Venom’s antithesis is The Evangelist, who plagues him with visions of guilt. X-23 faces X-666, who claims to be “nuanced” whereas X-23 is a pure killer. Red Hulk’s antithesis, a giant brain named Encephalon, torments Red Hulk with emotion control.

Why can't I have a nemesis whose power is handing me booze?

 

Ghost Rider subdues Ichor, who then reverts to a human form. Blackheart offers to undo one one of Ghost Rider’s past mistakes in exchange for her joining Blackheart’s ranks.

THOUGHTS:
The new Ghost Rider, Alejandra, is a dud. Two able writers, Rick Remender and Rob Williams, have failed to demonstrate that she even has a personality, let alone a good one. She mostly speaks in generic, emotionally flat catch phrases like “there is no forgiveness.” The only exceptions–her snide insults towards her teammates–utterly lack wit. I avoid resentful, uncharismatic people in real life, so why should I read a comic centered on one?

Perhaps ironically because Rob Williams regularly writes Ghost Rider, the scenes featuring the other three heroes in this crossover fare more interestingly. Each hero faces his or her antithesis, each of which reveals its counterpart’s innermost doubts in a fascinating way. The rhyme or reason behind how the Antitheses manifest themselves is not yet clear, but as a best guess each Antithesis represent’s a reversal of each hero’s inner and exterior selves. X-23 is good and pure on the inside but has a dark, murderous exterior. X-666, conversely, is a killer on the inside but superficially looks like a nice, all-American cheerleader. Red Hulk has a keen brain disguised within a monster; Encephalon is a monster that looks like a brain. I am not sure how this theory applies to Venom and the Evangelist. Anyway, just the fact that this comic provokes these thoughts earns it points.

Yet again, though, Ghost Rider remains the weakest link. Whatever the thematic dynamic between her and Ichor, it isn’t as interesting as it is with the other pairings. I get the good demon/evil angel connection, but is there more too it? Does this contrast say anything about what kind of person Alejandra is? Not really. Alejandra, as she delivers the knockout blow, does say something about how the human part of her has died and only the Ghost Rider remains. If that’s supposed to be an epiphany, than it’s a lame, cliched one. And it does not work anyway because we never see her acting “human” before this point other than when she calls Red Hulk “bossy.”

The art gets the job done and tells the story clearly. I usually prefer tighter lines than what Lee Garbett uses, and I dislike his rendition of Blackheart, but other than that there is not much to complain about. few artists could follow Tony Moore and come out looking spectacular.

RATING:
3.0 eyeball snacks out of 5 (Adequate). I liked every scene of this book not featuring Ghost Rider. I like that he have gotten her spotlight issue behind us.

 

PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT! KEEPING UP WITH THESE ISSUES IS CHALLENGING AND I NEED YOUR FEEDBACK IN ORDER TO STAY MOTIVATED! DO YOU DISAGREE AND LOVE THE ALEJANDRA GHOST RIDER? THINK “POINT ONE” ISSUES SHOULD BURN IN HELL? JUST POST SOMETHING TO LET ME KNOW YOU CARE! 

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(17) Comments

  1. Phantom Roxas

    Ichor's design actually resembles an angelic version of Flash's Venom suit, but with four eyes, although even that could be compared to the multiple eyes of a spider. Thematically, Ichor is Ghost Rider's antithesis, but design-wise, he resemble Venom a lot more, although Evangelist's presence alone pushes Ichor to being Alejandra's antithesis.

  2. crazychris

    @1-11, the book makes it quite clear that Ichor is Ghost Rider's antithesis and the Evangelist is Venom's.

  3. Enigma_2099

    "The new Ghost Rider, Alejandra, is a dud. Two able writers, Rick Remender and Rob Williams, have failed to demonstrate that she even has a personality, let alone a good one. She mostly speaks in generic, emotionally flat catch phrases like “there is no forgiveness.” The only exceptions–her snide insults towards her teammates–utterly lack wit. I avoid resentful, uncharismatic people in real life, so why should I read a comic centered on one?" ... who the hell cares?!?!?! She has bewbs... BEWBS!!!! ... yeah, I got nuthin'...

  4. BD

    I haven't read this issue but I will agree with you on the female Ghost Rider. She is a very boring uninteresting character. I've read the first five issues of her book and damn. It was hard to top Jason Aaron's and Howard Mackie's run on the character.

  5. Mike 13

    I think if people can pony up the money for the issues all February, this could be the mini of the year...

  6. Iron Patriot

    I'm confused...Were you suggesting better counterparts or did Chris mix them up in his review or what? Because the review clearly states that Ichor-Lady GR and Evangelist-Venom.

  7. Iron Patriot

    I'm just going by what's in Chris' excellent review. What makes less sense? The Evangelist is man in a black and white suit who hands Flash a drink. Ichor is an angel, an emissary of God,while Ghost Rider is an emissary of the Devil.

  8. Iron Patriot

    Oh sorry, I was referring to you Two-Bit. Ichor is Lady GR's counterpart and The Evangelist is Venom's counterpart.

  9. Two-Bit Specialist

    There's also this I took from Wikipedia (so you know it's true): "Ichor is the ethereal golden fluid that is the blood of the gods and/or immortals...In Ancient Crete, tradition told of Talos, a giant man of bronze portrayed with wings...He possessed a single vein running with ichor that was stoppered by a nail in his back." "The term "ichor" is often used in fantasy contexts by authors as a synonym for "blood" or "ooze."" Venom is also a secretion (ooze) released by some insects, usually lethal. So his antithesis would be Ichor, the blood of gods, that gives them life.

  10. Two-Bit Specialist

    Ghost Rider was an emissary of Mephisto (Satan), so his mirror is The Evangelist, an emissary of God. But Venom and Ichor are harder to connect. The obvious visual cue is that one is black so the other is white. Then there's Venom's alien symbiote and... Ichor's feathers?

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