A new year, a new job for Flash Thompson and the Venom symbiote. This time around, he’s looking to the fill the void left by Rom in the Space Knight department. But, in a galaxy where Alpha Flight has evolved into a first response group against alien threats, the Ultimates are solving the biggest problems in the universe, the Avengers know no earthly bonds, S.W.O.R.D is still a thing, cosmic god level beings like Singularity & Starbrand exist, the Silver Surfer is surfing around while Howard ducks things up in space, and there’s Guardians from all kinds of time periods… Is there a need for Venom: Space Knight?
Venom: Space Knight #1: What is an Agent of the Cosmos?
Writer: Robbie Thompson
Artist/C.Artist: Ariel Olivetti
Letterer: Cory Petit
Editors: Kathleen Wisneski & Jake Thompson
Editor-In-Chief: Axel Alonso
Just a Series of Broken Plays: Flash Thompson and his recently purged Klyntar have begun to hear voices, urging them to be something called “An Agent of the Cosmos”. Flash has no idea what this means, but he follows the voice in his head to a pirate named Kio who has stolen something known as YT-19. Flash discovers that YT-19 is made from the blood of a peaceful species from the planet Uuex. He teams up with a narcissistic robot named 803 and together, they defeat Kio and bring the Uuexians home. Flash discovers the Agents of the Cosmos are universal heroes who deal with the problems that slip through the cracks of universal policing. Flash embraces his new role and decides things are starting to look up for ol’ Agent Venom when he is surrounded by an armada of unidentified origins.
Which Have Always Been My Favorite: Over the past few years, Flash Thompson has gone through many roles as Agent Venom. He’s been a soldier of the government, a soldier of Hell, a soldier of fortune, and a soldier of the galaxy. He’s always been working for someone else, but Robbie Thompson hopes to set Flash out on his own. Well, not on his own per say, as Venom will always be with him but for once he’s playing without someone looking over his shoulder. The biggest problem though, is Flash isn’t really given a substantial role that justifies him striking out on his own. We have several authorities looking after the galaxy and we’re told Flash is now the guy looking at problems that slip past them, but we already have several other heroes filling this role right now. What makes Agent Venom special?
The question of what is an Agent of the Cosmos drives this first issue. The answer Flash receives is they are the heroes of the galaxy, which I took to mean they’re a purer standard than your average agency or God-like being who will make questionable calls in the name of the ‘greater good.’ So basically, he’s Spider-Man in space. As for the Space Knight aspect of the comic, Robbie Thompson has said it will play a larger part later down the line, but first he wants to define Flash as an Agent of the Cosmos. And he does this by breaking down Flash to his most essential role; the quarterback (He does something similar in both Silk #1 and Spidey #1, showing us the core of these characters and building from there.) Unfortunately, the ‘Broken Plays’ analogy he uses to frame the issue doesn’t work as well as the ‘Hail Mary Pass’ back in the Rick Remender days. Still, it’s nice to see Flash in a book where he’s having fun for once which is what Robbie Thompson wants the series to be.
Thompson introduces the first member of Flash’s new supporting cast with 803, a robot in service to the issue’s big bad. He provides a bit of dark comedy to the series, desiring only to be destroyed but programmed against such actions. The camaraderie between Flash and 803 is okay, but nothing to write home about. I’m hoping 803 is essential to bringing in the Space Knight element later on. The Space Knights (introduced back in Rom and the Space Knights ongoing in the 70s) were defenders of the planet Galador, made up of Galadorians who sacrificed their physical bodies to receive bionic robotic forms. Considering a robot sidekick is introduced in the first issue of a title sharing the Space Knight name, it feels like it would be a misstep to not have him tie in to this history.
The most common member of Flash’s supporting cast, the symbiote Venom, remains quiet through out the issue even as Flash addresses it as a sentient being. I always expect to see a more verbal relationship between the two, especially in light of recent developments, but the symbiote remains a silent partner.
The art is easily the best thing about this issue. Ariel Olivetti takes on full artistic duties and gives this book a visual unlike other Marvel books; a blend of Esad Ribic’s painterly style and Paolo Rivera’s crisp storytelling. I’d say Olivetti is the better storyteller in this issue, as his world sucks you in more than the characters and dialogue. He creates alien races of all shapes and sorts (including one based off Wanda Pierce from Netflix’s BoJack Horseman) that inhibit this beautiful world. He draws spectacle and fights particularly well, giving us a few classic Spidey moves while also throwing in a few tricks that would be more suited to Mister Fantastic.
Verdict: This is book isn’t bad, it just isn’t on a level that makes it worth recommending yet. Hopefully now that Robbie Thompson has addressed what he feels make Flash Thompson who he is, he can move past the familiar and begin to evolve the character. Visually though, it’s hard not to admire this book. Ariel Olivetti has created a captivating world full of creatures you won’t see in other Marvel books. The unity between writer and artist just isn’t there yet and it’s hurting this book.
- Olivetti’s world building and story telling
- A sense of fun
- Familiar Flash
- Lack of a strong supporting cast
- Doesn’t justify its place in Marvel’s lineup