Venom fights street crime but at least we get the single most absurd panel of the year (and yes the art scan is inside).
Writer: Cullen Bun
Artist: Pepe Larraz
Color Art: Lee Loughridge
Letters: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Cover Art: Declan Shalvey & Jordie Bellaire
The Plot: We start with a week in the life of Flash which can be summed up as he goes to work in the day and the occasional AA meeting and fights crime at night. In the narration Flash has decided he is going to keep things “simple” now.
So in school one day kids are playing dodge ball and one big kid is using the ball to bully the class nerds. This gives Flash bad memories of his own high school days and the symbiote beans the big kid with the dodge ball on its own. Sullen neighbor teen girl was sitting in the bleachers and may have witnessed this.
Meanwhile as Venom, Flash has been breaking up some drug deals lately and is looking for the crime lord in charge, whose name is Lord Ogre. The crooks try to escape by car so instead of just web-swinging after them Flash has the symbiote possess an abandoned car to make the “Venom-Mobile,” which is an idea that is so monumentally stupid it might just break through the barrier into inadvertently awesome much like a Mega Shark movie on the SyFy channel.
So anyway, Venom gets the crime lord and his motley grew of fashion-challenged unnamed henchman to show themselves. They exchange bad dialogue/threats before Ogre sics attack dogs on Venom so he can escape, and sadly this actually works as Flash continues his streak as one of the most ineffectual heroes ever. Venom then hears a noise and frees a truck full of women. The realization that Ogre is a human trafficker in addition to a drug dealer makes Flash decide this is no longer simple.
Critical Thoughts: Wow, this is a huge step backwards from the last two issues with Eddie Brock. The best way to sum this up is not a lot is happening here and what is happening is nothing I’m interested in seeing play out.
Let’s start with the Flash stuff. His opening narration has the tone of a fresh start but the dude just had a fresh start four issues ago. And really what is he doing different here? He’s still going to work, going to AA and fighting crime at night; pretty much what he’s done every issue since moving to Philly. Unless he’s taking those injections he was ignoring for no good reason before I don’t see how he has simplified his life or really changed his routine at all.
Speaking of the whole simple theme, why is it no longer simple if Ogre is a kidnapper too? Flash already wants to stop him for being a drug dealer, so now he just has two reasons for stopping him instead of one.
I suppose I have to talk about Lord Ogre now, to which I have to say no sale. I rarely find stories about non-powered street criminals in a superhero comic interesting and I can’t imagine this is going to be one of the exceptions. The dialogue between Ogre and Flash is terrible and the way his henchmen are dressed seems to foreshadow the worst of both worlds: they aren’t actual costumed super villains but they also aren’t dressed like people in real life—so now we have non-powered uninteresting characters and yet we’re not going for realism either.
Then we have Venom. The symbiote has been reduced to throwing dodgeballs to show Flash he is losing control. Yea, there’s a high point worthy of the name and history of one of the creepiest villains in comic history. (Sigh.) In closing, Eddie come back soon, we miss you already.
Grade D+: Solely for the balls out ludicrousness of the Venom-Mobile.