“Monster’s of Evil Part 1″
WRITERS: Cullen Bunn
PENCILS: Thony Silas
INKS: Nelson Decastro
COLORS: Chris Sotomayor
LETTERS: VC’s Joe Caramagna
COVER: Patch Zircher
VARIANT COVER: Humberto Ramos
The Secret Avengers have assigned Venom to investigate the Department of Occult Armaments (DOA), a satanic Nazi sect. After gleaning information from reporter Katy Kiernan, Venom tracks DOA to a building where they have hooked human volunteers to mechanical “possession engines” that syphon demons into their souls. Stealth fails, so Venom guns down the cultists. A possessed human attacks Venom but relents, apparently because the demon senses Venom contracted with Mephisto in the “Circle of Four” story. Venom commands the demon to leave, but shortly after it departs Daimon Hellstrom appears and disintegrates the demon’s human host.
Hellstrom has sided with the DOA. He blasts Venom, but the Son of Satan’s powers barely affect our symbiotic hero due to Venom carrying Mephisto’s mark. Some ooze from the possession machines drenches Venom, causing the symbiote to become demonic, sporting horns and devil wings.
Cullen Bunn’s solo run on Venom may require a mindset adjustment. The gears have shifted firmly to “zany brain candy” mode, recapturing the feel of “Circle of Four” (especially the Symbiotic Ghost Rider Hulk sequence) or even a ‘90s Venom issue. We’re in the realm of demon-possessed symbiotes, people. Either you know why that’s totally radical, or you’re dead inside, or you’re old.
Thus, I won’t think too hard about things like how Venom, acting as a government-licensed Avenger, basically broke and entered into a private lawful assembly (unless the Marvel Universe has outlawed voluntary demon possession) and executed them all for their political and religious beliefs (Nazi satanists have rights, too). I wont think about how in his recap narration, Flash says he recently “put my friends and family in danger,” which seems like an understatement considering that his beloved brother in law DIED. I wont think about how Hellstrom burning the freed human host down to his skeleton makes no sense once we learn that they were on the same side.
Not that I think readers should “turn off their brains.” Actually, I despise that phrase. Instead, you need to retune your brain to a different wavelength. You need to tap into the part of you that gets why Spawn pogs are way awesome.
Also, I won’t bother to ask what happened in whatever comic I didn’t read that transformed Hellstrom from an anti-hero to a cackling, drooling villain in league with a Nazi demon cult. Last time we saw him in Venom, Hellstrom had lost his resolve to resist Blackheart’s assault on Earth, but now he seems to have fully embraced evil.
Bunn greatly deviates in focus from Rick Remender. For example, the comic barely mentions Flash’s family angst, his relationship with Betty Brant, or his addictive personality, all preoccupations of Remender. Instead, we get pure Venom fighting demons and demon worshipers. In his Crawl Space interview conducted by Bertone, Bunn explained he wanted to focus on Flash becoming a super hero as opposed to a soldier. I definitely see that in this story. Bunn writes action well and his script has wit. When Venom says his mission is not to engage the enemy, and the next panel immediately cuts to him mowing everyone down with guns, you can almost hear the “wah wah.”
I am less enthused by the new art team. I much preferred Lan Medina’s tighter, more detailed style, and of course no one working on Venom will ever rival Tony Moore. One thing I hope changes is that Silas drops the backgrounds during the fight scenes so much that one never gains a sense of the physical space in which the action plays out. Perhaps the artists poured their energy and skill into a few key images, such as gorgeous two-page spread recapping Remender’s run and the final reveal of demonic Venom, at the expense of consistency throughout the action.
3 Venom horns out of 5 (Adequate). Apparently, we’re in store for more over-the-top devil madness a la “Circle of Four,” but those issues cannot be equaled without Tony Moore.
POST A COMMENT!