Venom: Spaceknight: Old Ways
Writer: Robbie Thompson
Artist/C.Artist: Ariel Olivetti
Letterer: Joe Carmagna
Consultant: Dan Nevins
Editors: Kathleen Wisneski & Jake Thomas
Eeditor-In-Chief: Axel Alonso
Recap: After the events of last arc Flash Thompson, Venom, and 803 are joined by the panda mercenary, Pik Rollo, her son, and the alien warrior princess, Iqa. They find a new ship to call home, which Flash dubs the USS Enter Prize. Before they can take to the cosmos and adventure, Flash’s mentor/trainer, Tarna arrives. She has Flash separate from Venom, so they can speak about him. Since bonding with Mercurio, Venom’s anger has returned and Tarna has come to neutralize the threat he poses to the cosmos. Flash refuses to let her kill his friend, but his retaliation is nothing compared to Venom’s. Venom brutally murders Tarna’s Klyn’tar, before fleeing in the Enter Prize.
Thoughts: Straight out the gate, Robbie Thompson and Ariel Olivetti waste no time building off what has come before and quickly escalate it to new heights. This series does not waste time, which at times is a strength and at times a weakness. It is definitely the former this time. Thompson has slowly been returning Venom to the less cleansed version that fans have been clamoring for, but Venom’s return to form is now the focus of the series for this arc. And it makes for an excellent issue. Flash gives a big speech to Tarna about how Venom is his friend, but it is little moments like Venom starting to develop Flash’s sense of humor that really sell this aspect. Flash’s attachment to Venom is pretty endearing, so of course Venom has to go and muck everything up.
The new supporting cast is not given much to do this issue, despite being a constant vocal presence. Flash’s referential humor quickly grates on his teammates, but without Flash to bounce off, they become quite boring. Pik Rollo is still bland as ever and Iqa has quickly become a love interest in place of a badass warrior. Flash’s mentor, Tarna fares the best out of the bunch, when it is revealed that she is a Skrull under her Klyn’tar. Hopefully she will join the crew in time for Flash’s visit home (probably for Civil War 2) since humans and Skrulls are primed for antagonistic tension.
The strongest elements of this issue are the little things that go unstated, like how Venom begins to talk like Flash. When Venom cuts down Tarna’s Klyn’tar, he does so with a symbiotic blade of her own design. And when the Klyn’tars separate from their partners, they become slouched creatures that look more docile than vicious. Little things, but they enhance the story quite a bit.
The series is about to take a huge hit. This issue is Ariel Olivetti’s final as the series main artist. Why he decided to kick off a new story arc and not see it through is beyond me, but he has been the one great constant in the series. And this issue is no different. Whether it is alien skylines, steam rising from destroyed robots, or his super expressive bodies/faces, everything Olivetti provides to this issue is top notch. He makes this issue bright and colorful, before setting the stage for darker chapters to follow after his departure; quite fitting, if you ask me. My favorite moments though are the smaller panels that parallel each other.
I also have to commend Joe Carmagna for his letter boxes. He has been doing classic white boxes with black speech for normal character speech and black boxes with white speech for the Klyn’tars, but now he has added in some green boxes for Tarna (fitting for a Skrull) and I just noticed this issue that 803 gets his own robotic speech bubbles as well. Variety is nice.
Verdict: Venom: Spaceknight 7 is a strong entry in the series, bringing the most interesting aspect of the series to the forefront. Venom and Flash’s relationship is the core of this fast paced issue and I am excited to see where things go. But more than that, I am sad to see Ariel Olivetti go. He created a beautiful and vivid universe, filled with articulate and expressive characters. Hopefully his replacement(s) are up to the challenge he leaves behind, because Olivetti has carried more than his fair share of the weight, on more than one occasion. Best of luck to Ariel Olivetti on his future endeavors, hopefully he will pencil in some time for Venom in the future.
- Fast pace
- Flash/Venom relationship central
- Ariel Olivetti
- A return to prime for Venom
- Supporting cast uninteresting