“I’ve been kicked out, been told I’m a total disgrace,
Been shoved, pushed, I’ve been slapped in the face,
I’ve had drinks thrown my way,
And barely escaped with my life…
I’ve been there, I’ve done that.” – Been There, Done That (Hedley)
Venom #4: Partners In Crime
Writer: Robbie Thompson
C.Artist/Artist: Ariel Olivetti
Letterer: Joe Caramagna
Consultant: Dan Nevins
Editors: Kathleen Wisneski & Jake Thomas
Editor-In-Chief: Axel Alonso
Some Of You May Find This, Unbearable: After an illuminating talk with his Klyn’tar, Flash bearly has time to respond to an assault, when his ship is shot down by the Ruu’lto criminal, Pik Rollo. In the pandamonium, 803 is torn apart by Pik Rollo and both Venom and Pik Rollo are captured by the planet’s natives. They are forced to fight in an arena, but Flash gives Pik paws when he offers to save her son from Mercurio. Flash and Pik manage to bamboozle the planet’s overlord, and Flash becomes the new master of the planet. Flash decides he’s not koala-fied for the job, leaving with Pik and a self-repaired 803 to rescue Pik’s kid.
I Am With You Flash, Always: So at the end of last issue, we discovered the Klyn’tar was able to take a form of its own when it was away from Flash. In this issue, we got some answers on to why this can happen. After it’s purging in Bendis’ last volume of Guardians of the Galaxy, the Klyn’tar has been growing. While it prefers to use a host body it can now support a shape of its own, only for an hour but with practice half a day. It also considers Flash to be its first true partner, rather than a host. Because of this, I’m moving away from calling it a symbiote, which I think is still a fair term for Carnage and the other Klyn’tar wearers. We also get a hint at a new name for the symbiote. I imagine some fans may take issue with this, but it’s the direction the series is heading down. Venom is the name for the unity between host and Klyn’tar and Flash has his own name, so why not the Klyn’tar?
Pretty Sure This Is Your Fault, Sad Panda: In this issue, Flash meets Pik Rollo, a panda-esqe alien who Mercurio, the arc’s big bad, employed to kill Venom. She’s adorable and once again, Ariel Olivetti nails the body posture and facial distortions needed to convey emotion on an alien creature. But that’s about where the praise stops for Pik. She’s about as generic character as you can get, although plot device is a better description. She’s a mother who has to work for the evil character, because he’s holding her child hostage. Naturally, her maternal instincts make her believe in the hero, rather than be cautious of how this hero could get her child killed. She’s used primarily for the joke she’s adorable but ferocious, a ‘mama bear’ archetype if you will. Unless there’s a big character reveal coming next issue, Pik Rollo is a very disappointing addition to the cast.
Also remember the big deal made about Flash getting new prosthetic legs last issue? How Marvel hired a consultant to help Robbie Thompson write the story? Yeah, nothing on that front this issue. That’s not at the fault of the series though, just poor marketing that over-hyped such a minor part of the story.
I’m really over the use of battle arenas in space. In the past two months alone, we’ve had Drax fighting in an arena over in his solo series, Ben Grimm and Groot fighting in one over in Guardians of Infinity, and the central fight of this issue occurs in one. This is more a critique of Marvel in general, especially since Robbie Thompson actually uses this to positive effect.
Probably Should Have Seen This Coming: Robbie Thompson continues to excel at the situational humor in Venom: Spaceknight and this issue is all about deja vu. Flash finding himself in a battle arena, again. Flash becoming the leader of a planet, again. And when Pik Rollo describes Mercurio as a rogue warrior from the peaceful planet Gramosi, looking for power to keep his planet alive, Flash sees the obvious parallels between Earth and Gramosi. It’s actually interesting to see the arc’s big bad as an allegory for earthlings and good intentions gone wrong. Hopefully Thompson will explore this more next issue.
I really like how Thompson continues to build the universe Venom inhabits with each issue. The self-contained nature of exploring a planet at time really works for the series and having Pik Rollo around to connect it to the larger story helps in a way that last issue lacked. I really enjoy the position of power Flash is building for himself in the universe, especially since it’s unintentional. This is the type of storytelling that could really pay off, if the series has longevity. How cool would it be to see Venom leading an alliance of planets into battle against a powerful foe?
When I Get Pissed, My Partner Takes Over: I’d be remiss to not mention letterer, Joe Caramagna this issue. He’s doing a good job on the series. His most notable addition to the series is how the dialogue will switch from black in white bubbles to white in black bubbles whenever the Klyn’tar takes over. The speech bubbles also lose a rigidness that the normal dialogue has, indicating a bit more instability and ferocity for the Klyn’tar.
Ariel Olivetti continues to deliver spectacular artwork. In my moment of praise this issue, I’m complimenting his storytelling once again. At the beginning of the issue, Flash is clean shaven, but by issue’s end he has a five O’clock shadow. This is a nice way of showing the amount of time passed when Flash was in captivity, without verbalizing it. Sadly, there’s nothing new added to the Klyn’tar arsenal this issue, but just having Venom suit up this issue makes it stronger than last issue’s art.
Verdict: Another solid issue of Venom: Spaceknight that continues to build its universe in similar yet exciting ways. And Ariel Olivetti continues to make this universe something beautiful to behold. Robbie Thompson shows he’s aware of similarities the series has from issue to issue and seems to be working with them towards a larger goal. Despite a weak addition to the cast in Pik Rollo, Flash, the Klyn’tar, and 803 continue to deliver enough thrills and laughs to keep the series strong.
- Development for the Klyn’tar
- Playful with repetition
- Strong artistic storytelling
- Pik Rollo the plot device
- Story is still generic