“Savage Six, Part 3: The Truth”
WRITERS: Rick Remender & Cullen Bunn
PENCILS: Lan Medina & Robert Atkins
INKS: Nelson Decastro & Rick Ketcham
COLORS: Chris Sotomayor
LETTERS: VC’s Joe Caramagna
COVER ART: Michael Del Mundo
Venom investigates his mom’s apartment, where Death Adder ambushes him. The two crash through the apartment building’s walls fighting, scaring the residents. Venom straight up breaks Death Adder’s neck.
Venom finds the Human Fly, who holds Flash’s mother hostage in the sewers. Momma Thompson’s alive, so the last issue’s ending was a fake-out. Venom induces Fly to reveal Crime-Master’s hideout by straight up ripping Fly’s wings off.
Crime-Master has Betty imprisoned. He calls her to his inner sanctum, where he has made a candle-lit shrine with pictures of Betty and her loved ones posted to the wall. Crime-Master unmasks himself.
Straight up–no joke–he is Bennett Brant, Betty’s brother who got shot in Amazing Spider-Man #11.
I expressed how well Remender and Bunn executed the resurrection of one Bennett Brant in the issue #21 review. This review merely covers my initial reactions to the reveal. So . . . wow. This comic gets credit for surprising me. I never considered that Crime-Master could be Bennett. I like the idea in theory. Part of the spider-verse’s fun comes from how it sometimes reads like a cheesy daytime soap opera. The comics should embrace that. Having Betty Brant’s brother return from the grave as an arch villain fits the mold. Also, because Bennett enjoyed scarce prior appearances, the writers can treat him as a blank slate; they can make him whatever he needs to be. The villains that stand out are usually both major threats and have personal ties to the heroes. Bennett can be that kind of villain. He has potential.
While fans will remember Venom #20 for the Crime-Master reveal, most of the book actually deals with Venom fighting Death Adder. Artistically, the fight showcases the artists’ penchant for gloriously rendered mayhem and ranks highly among this series’s action sequences. The down side is that, of all the villains Flash has encountered, Death Adder has the least personality. One doesn’t feel the same emotional investment as when Flash battles better-developed characters like the Fly or Jack O’ Lantern. When Venom snapped Adder’s neck, I felt neither loss nor satisfaction. At least the killing reveals character by demonstrating that even with the Symbiote sedated by the Secret Avengers, Flash Thompson does not have the same scruples against killing his villains as his idol, Spider-Man.
The scene with Flash, Fly, and Flash’s mom interests me because the Fly tells Momma Thompson that Venom is her “boy.” Between this and Jack O’ Lantern’s encounter with Flash’s sister, the Thompson clan is pretty dumb if they do not deduce Flash’s identity. I hope Cullen Bunn addresses this soon.
3.5 horrible person genes out of 5 (good). Venom #20 serves up a great fight scene–visually, at least–and reveals an identity that left me aching for the next issue. My review for the next issue is already posted, so you can see how well Remender and Bunn realized Bennett’s potential right away!
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