Let’s see how much symbiote stuff we can get on the front page, eh? After this, we’ll have two Venom reviews, a Guardians review, a Carnage review, and an article on Venom’s Wounded Warrior consultant. It seems like none of the books so far are home runs, but hopefully this issue can change that?
“Courage will now be your best defense against the storm that is at hand-—that and such hope as I bring.”– JRR Tolkien.
Venom Space Knight 3: T Minus Thirty
Writer: Robbie Thompson
C.Artist/Artist: Ariel Olivetti
Letterer: Joe Carmanga
Consultant: Dan Nivens
Editors: Kathleen Wisneski & Jake Thompson
Editor-In-Chief: Axel Alonso
Flash, We Should Probably Talk: Flash is wearing himself thin trying to solve all the problems the Cosmos is throwing his way. On his way to some R&R on the planet, Xffgath, he is summoned to a volcanic planet. Fearing for Venom’s safety, he leaves him in space and enters the planet in a rumble suit.
The suit can only withstand thirty minutes on the planet’s surface, so Flash races to solve the problem. He unites with a rebel female warrior class and travels into the heart of the Great Eye, their largest volcano. He finds a device there and destroys it, earning the gratitude of the rightful Queen, Iqa.
When Flash returns to his ship, 803 reveals he has fashioned him new prosthetic legs. Flash is grateful, until he questions who drove the ship as 803 worked. The answer is Venom, who tells Flash they need to talk.
Flesh Tom-Sen, Destroyer of the Tol-Keen: What an issue. Let’s get the biggest positive out of the way: Venom is in fact a sentient talking being. In all of my reviews, I have criticized Venom’s lack of verbal communication with Flash. We have seen the Venom symbiote cares about Flash in the past, passing his demonic curse on to Mania to protect Flash back in the Cullen Bunn days on Venom, but finally we have an opportunity to hear from the second half of this partnership. Having not been the biggest fan of the Spaceknight direction, and everything Klyntar, I consider this a huge step in the right direction. I hope to see Venom’s own struggles in being a hero, as we have with Flash in the past.
This issue has a serious hard on for Tolkien, which again brings a positive bias to my review. The Great Eye is the center piece of this Mordoric planet and Ariel Olivetti’s depiction is a sight to behold. There’s also at least one direct visual reference I caught, thanks to a viewing of Fellowship last night.
Flash’s commentary is a little on the nose this issue, but its not like Flash is a clever scholar who doesn’t feel the need to point things out. Robbie Thompson’s Flash is a very observational every-man. A lot of the humor is situation based, which is another personal bias coming into play, as its my favorite type of humor. I constantly have a smile on my face reading, from the little jokes based off his suit’s name to his bemoaning of current problems to 803.
Speaking of 803, he grows more endearing each issue. When he was first introduced, the potential for him to grow wearying was high. Thankfully, Thompson knows how to use him sparingly and as juxtaposition for Flash, contrasting eager optimism with weary pessimism. Although a loyal servant to Flash, Thompson develops a heart for the tin man by having him aid Flash of his own free will with the construction of prosthetic legs.
The creation of Flash’s new prosthetics will apparently drive the story for the next couple issues and Robbie Thompson brings on a consultant, Dan Nevins. Nevins works for Wounded Warrior, a nonprofit organization that helps veterans who lost their limbs in service. Flash only has his prosthetics for two pages this issue, one of which is focused on Venom, so we’ll see Nevins contribution more in coming issues.
This is the first issue I would credit Thompson as being equal to Ariel Olivetti. This is a weaker issue for Olivetti. The storytelling and action is still well done, but the rumble suit leaves a lot less to work with compared to the Klyntar.
The issue is not without flaws. Our bad guys appear for a couple pages only to do the same thing they did last issue. The reader doesn’t need a constant reminder that a big bad is orchestrating all the events Flash encounters.
And while last time I praised the series for being both self-contained and yet a piece of a larger whole, this issue struggles to finds its place in the overarching storyline.
Verdict: I’ll be honest, my personal bias would have me give this issue an A. I love Tolkien, I love the humor, and I am beyond ecstatic for a verbal Venom. Robbie Thopmson is someone who writes in a style I particularly like, but reviewing Silk and Spider-Woman side by side has shown me that he has a lot of faults as well.This has to factor into my grade. I do think this a continuation of the upward swing in quality last issue started, but I do think it’s also a little sloppier. If Robbie Thompson literally wastes the sentient symbiote next issue, but nails the rest of the story, I can’t let my negativity bring that issue down a grade so I can’t use it as justification for boosting the book up either. This is still a solid issue and I think it might be the start of Robbie Thompson hitting his stride. Hopefully he continues the good work going forward and can reach the height of praise I have for his artistic contributor.
- Sentient Symbiote
- Tolkien influence
- Situational humor
- Bad use of the Big Bad
- Struggles to fit in the whole