Depending on if you’re a fan of Flash Thompson or Venom, you may love or hate this arc. These two issues were combined due to a lack of substance between the two of them (Issue Twenty Two in particular)
Guardians of the Galaxy: Planet Venom Parts Two & Three (Of Three)
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Valerio Schiti
Colorist: Jason Keith
Letterer: Cory Petit
Cover Artist: Christian Ward
Editors: Xander Jarowey & Mike Marts
Editor-In-Chief: Axel Alonso
Plot Summary: With Flash unconscious after the events of Part One, the symbiote moves through the various Guardians, taking them out as it goes. Flash awakens and converses with Venom, who is using Drax as a conduit to speak through. Venom leads them to a hidden planet which is home to the symbiotic race, The Klyntar. Flash convinces the Guardians to let them bond with the symbiotes, so they can learn the history of The Klyntar. It turns out that their race has been looking for the perfect host, someone not pure but not evil, the perfect match to them morally and physically. The symbiote can be influenced as much as it influences the host and that has lead to several complications through out the galaxy. And those who have broken away from the home planet become broken after too long a separation.
It turns out, Eugene Thompson is the perfect host that had been searching for and after Venom is made whole again, they rejoin one another, with the ability to communicate with one another and become the ultimate Guardian of the Galaxy. The Guardians leave the Klyntar home world, just in time for Captain Marvel to notify them that Peter Quill has been made the new President of the Spartax Empire.
Thoughts: Wow, where to begin? This is going to be split the fandom and I can totally see why. I love Venom. I love Flash Thompson. So I both hate and love the answers we’re given in this arc. It’s an excellent new status quo for Agent Venom, making him one of the ultimate soldiers of the universe. And he’s been turned into a encyclopedia of information on the symbiotes, so I imagine we’ll keep coming back for more on the symbiotes. What I really want to see is a team-up with Bucky Barnes in the future, since they’re both in very similar places right now.
However, I’m not okay with the Klyntar. The symbiotes are good guys who just happened to be misunderstood all this time? Yeah, I’m not buying that. Brian Michael Bendis basically turned them into the Geth from Bioware’s Mass Effect series. They mention that the host can influence the symbiote as much as the symbiote can the host. That line made me miss Toxin, Patrick Mulligan and their wonderful relationship, but also left me thinking why the hell wasn’t Venom a good guy when he was with Peter? Bendis tries to cover this up with another line of logic about the symbiotes being corrupted after being separated from their home planet for too long but what we really needed in this issue was more time in the head of Venom. We don’t know how long he was away from home, how he feels about nearly everything learnt in this issue, or how he felt in his relationships with Peter, Mac, and Flash. Bendis flies through some of the biggest bombshells he’s dropped on the Marvel Universe in a long time and I’m actually quite pissed about that.
Especially because we had an entire issue that was nothing but Venom jumping from host to host before the finale. And sure, Valerio Schiti makes the most of the issue and his art continues to be the highlight of this arc, but we didn’t need a whole issue of that. Especially considering everything he just dropped on us before rushing off to tackle the next big plot point in his Guardians run. Bendis takes forever to do a story line about the Guardians coming together, a story we’ve seen time and time again, but rushes through this? Ugh. Just as he’s getting a good handle on the team, he pisses me off more than he has since he ruined any change of Clint Barton/Bobbi Morse getting back together. I wish we had a writer, who is slow but methodical on this series. Because there has been some great concepts in this run, but Bendis is not delivering on any of them.
While I’m sure this story takes a crap on a ton of continuity in classic Bendis fashion, it does touch on a plot point Bunn created over in the Carnage minis, where symbiotes have the ability to cure cancer. I thought that was a nice little nod.
Schitit also delivers his weakest work in the finale of this story. The opening with Drax was delightfully disturbing but then The Klyntar lose that element of dread I love from the symbiotes in the Marvel Universe. Apparently, the symbiotes original forms are a cross between a flower and a butterfly. Um, what? I also don’t care much for Agent Venom’s redesign. It looks like the Destroyer meets classic Venom and it just looks generic.
Verdict: I guess that was more of a rant than a review, I apologize for that. In Bendis’ defense, I’m excited to see what happens with Flash and Venom now and that’s what’s stopping me from dropping this book. But I can’t recommend this series to anyone anymore. It’s far too inconsistent in terms of story and the art team changes too often for that to be this book’s saving grace. Here’s hoping Sam Humphries’ The Black Vortex crossover brings some magic to this series. This arc was so much weaker than the sum of its parts, which had entertaining elements and concepts buried in a story line that took forever to go anywhere and then hit us with everything at a frantic pace. Sloppy, sloppy storytelling.
House Cleaning: This is my last review of Guardians of the Galaxy. I’ve come to love Flash Thompson as Agent Venom (he’s in my top five Marvel heroes) and while I’m excited for Flash’s new status quo, reviewing the three Spider-Female titles, working, and going to school doesn’t leave me with time to review this series anymore. It also helps that it’s not all that good in my opinion. I hope the next guy has fun with Agent Venom and doesn’t let Bendis off easy when it comes to my boy Flash.
- Interesting new status for Flash
- The team banter is fun
- Super slow…
- …Until the end where everything is dumped on us
- No time to explore the fallout before a new plot point is introduced
- Generic Agent Venom redesign
- Classic Bendis Continuity Breaking
- The Klyntar
- Why is Captain Marvel on this team?