It’s Venom versus the Human Fly versus the Phil Urich Hobgoblin. What a cool cover! Leave a comment!

VENOM #16
“Clemency”
SCRIPT: Rick Remender
ARTIST: Kev Walker
COLORS: Chris Sotomayor
LETTERS: VC’s Joe Caramagna
COVER ART: Michael Del Mundo

PLOT:
Venom patrols a bullet train transporting the Human Fly to the Raft prison. Fly pleads that he stole cash from the Kingpin and must escape to return the loot, or else Kingpin’ll murder Fly’s nine-year-old son. During a ruse meant to expose the Kingpin’s agents on the train, Venom deactivates Fly’s cell.

Hired by the Kingpin to assassinate Fly, the Phil Urich Hobgoblin attacks the train. Phil-goblin offers Venom ten million dollars and the Kingpin’s help in killing Crime-Master and Jack O’ Lantern if Venom helps kill Fly. Venom feigns agreement, but ultimately helps Fly fight Phil-goblin.

 

 

 

These two make for a great fight match-up.

 

Hobgoblin, having fire weapons and a sonic scream, throws Venom from the train. Fly and Hobgoblin then battle, with Hobgoblin unabashedly massacring obstructionist prison guards. Venom returns riding a motorcycle, which he slams into Hobgoblin, launching Hobgoblin from the train. Fly’s begging about his son makes Venom hesitate to shoot him. Venom rescues an imperiled guard, allowing Fly time to escape. Fly swears to turn himself in after returning Kingpin’s money. Fly also asks Venom to deliver a letter to Fly’s son, a letter stashed among the Fly’s belongings on the train.

Venom finds Fly’s letter. It says “I don’t have a son!”

Thank God. For a second I thought there was a Human Maggot out there suing for child support!

 

 

THOUGHTS:
With two to five Venom issues churned out monthly, I somewhat doubt Marvel needed a stock issue on hand in case the churning fell behind schedule. But this issue sure reads like a stock issue. Venom #16 could have fallen anywhere in the sequence of issues after #5 if an editor deleted “Secret Avengers” and replaced it with “army” in whatever dialogue references Venom’s status quo. The story bears no connection to Flash’s disintegrating personal life, nor does any development since issue #5 affect its plot.

Filler or not, I enjoyed the issue. Last issue boasted no Venom action, but this one boasts nothing else besides. With both fire and sonic powers, Phil Urich proves a tailor-made opponent for Venom. I like that Venom defeated Hobgoblin despite Hobgoblin’s physical advantages, and I like that Venom resisted Hobgoblin’s tempting bribe. Flash Thompson has risen to the occasion of becoming a super hero. I know jack about the Phil Urich character, but based on his Amazing Spider-Man story, I find him an irritating and unworthy successor to the title, Hobgoblin. Remender dials back Phil’s grating personality, writing him more like a mildly giddy mercenary. Remender also makes the Human Fly his own, and the three characters’ battle royal produces a fun, chaotic, and violent comic.

No one can withstand the awesome power of death poison and glorff!

 

Kev Walker’s tight and vibrant style upholds this book’s prime artistic legacy. He tends toward big, flashy panels, which suit this slugfest well. Sadly, the issue includes a few lapses in clear storytelling. First, I could not tell how Hobgoblin arrived on the train. I think he might have posed as one of the guards but the art does not show whether Hobgoblin has the ability to change his appearance. And second, the art shows Venom riding his motorcycle off the edge of the elevated railway and then landing on top of the train car. How did that happen?

He jumps down from the tracks and somehow lands on top of the train. Perhaps the track curves under itself or something like that, but the art should show it.

 

Oh, and Fly carries a paper that says “I don’t have a son!” with him at all times? This is hilarious. He must have had it when he was arrested for it to be in his personal property storage. Did he plan this trick out ahead of time, planting the note as a way to say “gotcha,” and just hoping that through sheer stupidity the authorities would not find the note when they inventoried his belongings upon arrest? Since the time Venom captured Fly, all of “Spider-Island” occurred, Venom traveled from New York to Las Vegas by car and motorcycle, and all of “Circle of Four” occurred. Fly has thus been in custody for a least several weeks. The authorities went that long without opening and reading a sealed envelope found in a murder suspect’s possession? And I love how the Fly must have been carrying this thing around for ages just in case he got arrested on any given day! 

RATING:
3.5 “I don’t have a son!” letters out of 5 (good). Okay, I harped on the letter thing but only because it strikes me as especially preposterous. Truth be told, Venom #16 provides a visceral and well-drawn bit of comic book mayhem. I recommend it to anyone looking for a one-and-done issue that cuts right to the chase and delivers flaming, puking, and exploding entertainment.

I STRONGLY URGE YOU TO LEAVE A COMMENT!

 

18 Responses to “VENOM (2011-PRESENT) #16 REVIEW”

  1. #1 YES!!! says:

    Nice review, i really liked this issue, next month Savage 6

  2. #2 Peter says:

    I thought Venom was pretty boring this week. The premise starts off well, building on the character depth Remender has shown so far with Flash, but it all devolves into mindless violence shortly after. Remender’s Hobgoblin is so dull, as well, lacking any of the jokes or “Evil Peter Parker” juaxtoposition that Slott’s version has. Wasn’t a big fan of the artwork either, which is good because I usually really like Kev Walker. There’s a fun moment here and there, but it all just feels silly, an excuse to get the Fly out of jail for the Savage Six story coming up. Oh well.

  3. #3 reader says:

    I’m still sad that the spikes on Venom seem to be a permanent thing, I hope they at least turn it down a notch … he’s looking a little too “thorny” lately.

  4. #4 spideytothemax says:

    Pretty decent for a possible filler issue. I don’t really understand why The Fly needs an Avenger escort to the Raft, but then I imagine that Hawkeye gave Flash this job just to piss him off. That makes me smile a little bit.

  5. #5 Two-Bit Specialist says:

    I didn’t even know Venom came out this week. Will pick up Sunday.

  6. #6 SpiderVenom says:

    I really enjoyed this issue, it’s been done but it works. Just goes to show you can’t trust a villain

  7. #7 CrazyChris says:

    KEEP THE COMMENTS COMING, GUYS! I WANT MORE! MOOOORE!!!!

    1 – Thanks a lot! I am hyped for Savage Six, though I hope Remender’s new cowriter maintains the series standard of quality.

    2 – Sounds like everything I liked about this issue, you disliked! Slott’s characterization of Phil Urich annoys the heck out of me. I’m not sure which is the “right” way to write him but at least Remender doesn’t try and force the jokes. I think Slott tries too hard to be funny whereas Remender knows how to naturally draw humor out of the genre’s innate bizarreness.

    3 – I like the spikes. I think they make Flash’s suit look more like combat gear instead of an organic substance. Its part of what makes Flash look unique among the Venoms.

    4 – I think an Avenger escort is warranted due to the Fly’s power level. He’s not a heavy hitter by any means but he might be more than regular human guards can handle. He has been a challenging opponent for Spider-Man and that was before his powers were upgraded by coming back from the dead. In this issue we see that his acid vomit can eat through heavy-duty shackles. Plus, his wings have “death poison.”

    5 – Yeah, the number of Venom issues coming out makes it hard to keep track of. It’s April and so far 9 issues of Venom have shipped this year.

    6 – True that.

  8. #8 Nightmare Freddy says:

    The action between Hobgoblin and Venom made it really a great comic for me since it shown me that they were more villains than I thought that could compete with Venom to the point that the art flaws didn’t bothered me as they normally do and the battle scenes was really cool.

    Strangely enough however when I had read this comic the dialogue the Fly gaved to Flash was for me kind of evident that he didn’t have a kid since he literally said « [I] ate my girlfriend» proving to me that he couldn’t really see his son other than food. And when he said «my plan’s built on you being a good guy» it was clear that he was going to try getting Flash to have sympathy for him and would use that weakness to get away when he would have the chance. Since the message of «I don’t have a son» wasn’t really logical to me since, like you said, it wouldn’t have been not open since his arrest, I would have prefer seeing Flash not falling in the obvious hero trap. To the point that I would have liked seeing him kill the Fly and/or win the money with the extra help against Crime Master just so that he would have a better distinction with Spiderman that he seems really wishing to become. Or better yet making Flash show the opened letter to the Fly in the beginning of the story and saying something like «Did you really though I was going to fall in that obvious hero trap».

    Anyway, nice review once again.

  9. #9 Bertone says:

    I too am surprised (but delighted) at two issues this month. Great done in one. Didn’t feel like a stock issue, just regular “no crossover no nothing will ever be the same again” action packed issue like we use to get in the old days.

    Minor continuity nitpick….

    Flash was attacked by the original Hobgoblin.

    Flash was put in a Hobgoblin costume and was in jail (then a fugitive) under suspicion of being the Hobgoblin.

    Hobo-fugitive Flash then saved Spider-Man’s life from Hobgoblin 2.0 (Macendale) who put Flash in the hospital almost killing him.

    Years later the Hobgoblin was revealed to the be the dead husband of Flash’s on again off again girlfriend. Flash helped clear said dead husband.

    With all that in mind, I would think some thought balloon from Flash upon seeing the new Hobgoblin (“for months I was in the newspapers under suspicion of being him” “Hobgoblin makes me think of Betty…”) would have been nice. Doesn’t ruin the issue…but I feel like Flash is so tied with the Hobgoblin that he should of had SOME reaction.

    Now if he teamed up with the Black Cat and had no response (they were almost married) then I’d be ticked.

  10. #10 fantasyfreak says:

    Sounds like a fun issue. I don´t know too much about these Savage Six though. Sounds like they have appeared before?

  11. #11 Phantom Roxas says:

    Like Peter said, because the Human Fly is in this, I think this was meant to set the stage for the Savage Six story. I’m curious how Toxin gets involved. What are the names for the guy who looks like Blackheart and the guy with the big M’s on his outfit?

  12. #12 CrazyChris says:

    8 – I also predicted that Fly was lying and, yeah, it is silly that anyone fell for it or didn’t read the letter. But it’s one of those things that’s so ridiculous that I can’t get annoyed by it.

    9 – I didn’t think of that Bertone, but you’re right. I don’t think Remender is much of a continuity buff.

    10 – We have not seen the Savage Six before. They are a villain team that will be the focus of the next story arc. The members of the Savage Six have appeared individually in various comics but never as a team. Venom has fought a few but not all of them.

    11 – By the Blackheart-looking guy, do you mean the green guy with the fins? That’s Death Adder. He has appeared in the background as a henchman of Crime-Master in an earlier issue of Venom. I think the guy with the Ms is called Megatak. I don’t know much about these villains other than Death Adder, Megatak, and Fly are all villains who were killed by the Scourge of the Underworld and brought back to life during Rick Remender’s run on Punisher.

    AND PLEASE KEEP COMMENTING!!!

  13. #13 Spidermars says:

    I can’t believe Flash was suckered like that and the Fly is now an escape crook…:(

    Here’s hoping for a future capture of the crooked crook.

  14. #14 Phantom Roxas says:

    12 – Yes, him. I don’t know, his face just reminded me of Blackheart. It’s interesting that Remender is bringing in characters from his Punisher run then. Not sure why Remender decided to bring in Toxin though.

  15. #15 CrazyChris says:

    The Toxin symmbiote is the “grandchild” of the Venom symbiote, so there’s enough of a connection that it makes sense for Toxin to be involved in a Venom book. The Toxin symbiote appeared in Venom #12 and is in the possession of Crime Master. I doubt Crime-Master would give the symbiote to its original host, who was a police officer, so I assume that the Toxin in Savage Six will have a different host. I have my guess on who it is based on the solicitations.

  16. #16 Bertone says:

    Rick’s continuity hasn’t been too bad. The “Flash’s dad” storyline was pretty good. Plus he’s referenced Jessie. While it could be stronger (like this issue), he hasn’t been as bad as some could be.

  17. #17 CrazyChris says:

    I don’t mean he’s “bad” at continuity, just that it doesn’t seem that important to him. He doesn’t seem to contradict much that came before, but he doesn’t take much time to reference continuity either.

  18. #18 Spidergeek says:

    I think Crime Master’s gonna be one of Flash’s war buddies.

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