Venom (2016) #3 Review


WRITER: Mike Costa

ARTIST: Gerardo Sandoval

COLOR ARTIST: Dono Sanchez-Almara

LETTERER: VC’s Clayton Cowles

COVER ARTIST: Gerardo Sandoval

ASST. EDITOR: Allison Stock

EDITOR: Devin Lewis

EXECUTIVE EDITOR: Nick Lowe

 

STORY: Price/Venom attacks the FBI agents who corner him in the alley. But when Firebug burns the symbiote, it leaves Price and tries to bond with one of the agents. The alien, however, ends up returning to Price to save his life when he’s hit in the gut by a bullet. It escapes, taking Price back to the apartment of his dead friend from issue #1.

Mac Gargan voices his suspicion about Price to Black Cat, who dismisses him.

The FBI catches up to Price at his buddy’s apartment and blackmails him into working for them. They will meet at Parker Industries later to discuss details.

Gargan decides to suit up as Scorpion and deal with Price himself.

That’s…pretty much it.

To be continued.

 

ANALYSIS: This was a misstep. Other than blackmailing Price into working for the FBI, every other part of this comic feels like something we’ve seen in this title last issue. Price’s relationship with the symbiote doesn’t move forward. Gargan is still gearing up to fight Price. Black Cat twirls her moustache (there’s an image). Even the government blackmailing Venom to work for it is old and worn territory (Venom: License to Kill, Thunderbolts, Agent Venom, etc.). Even with just a single filler issue like this one, this book is spinning its wheels way too much already. Second tier books like Venom have to justify their existence with every issue, especially early on like this when the goal of the storytellers should be to win readers over, or they quickly barrel downhill into the pit of cancellation.

This book is already making a lot of promises too: the Gargan fight, the Spider-Man fight, the return of the original Venom, resolution to the symbiote’s separation from Flash, whatever that “monster-gas” is, the confrontation with Black Cat, etc… This makes me very nervous. It reminds me of Bunn’s Venom run. When he wrote the coda at the end of his last issue and mentioned wanting to play a long-game with the book, listing all of the things that he wanted to touch on in his run, I was like, “where was all of this, like, 20 issues ago?!” It is very risky to play a long game and make big promises on a book like Venom. Especially with this character’s books’ history, the last thing we need for ole’ Fang-Face is more unresolved plot threads. 

Don’t get me wrong: I didn’t hate this. Sandoval’s art, especially, is such a good fit for a Venom book. And I am still excited for what’s to come. But, I should be excited for what’s happening now. Hopefully the Scorpion fight next issue gets things rolling.

 

All things considered though, my gratitude on behalf of my fellow Venom fans goes out to Mike Costa, Gerardo Sandoval, and the rest of their team for putting this book on the stands for us. See you all next week for #4!

 

GRADE:

C-

Below average (a blundering offer of a set-up issue that causes the story to lose its forward momentum, a mistake I’m not sure B-books like Venom can afford)

(3) Comments

  1. Symbiobro

    Yeah, I'm still not feeling it. I'm only buying this because I'm giving it a chance with the big 150th issue. Lee is not likeable at all, and like you said, books like Venom have to justify their existence with every issue, which this book is not doing. If they wanted to bring Brock back, I don't see why they didn't do that to begin with. Starting off the first 5 issues with someone nobody likes seems like you're asking for the book to be cancelled, and the sales are dropping extremely fast. Don't know if Brock can save it at this point.

  2. Big John - Post author

    @ Jack: Word. BTW everyone: Apologies for the delay in this review. Work. Life. You know how it goes...

  3. Jack Brooks

    The long simmer is what cooked Agents of Shield, at its start. One reason AoS gets such good reviews now is because somebody behind the scenes sped the plots way up. Instead of waiting ten episodes to see some bad guy blow up, or for some inter-character conflict to resolve, AoS gets a lot of plot done in 2-3 eps. They also wisely realized they didn't need to drag out 24-episode arcs. It was okay to do 12 episodes of Ghost Rider, 9 episodes of LMDs, then 9 episodes of something else. I don't think most readers have the patience anymore for slow-cook, dragged-out 12-issue arcs, if they ever did.

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