Well that was a long break, both from the Crawlspace and the character of Venom. Unfortunately, John had to step down from the book and with a big Venom event on the horizon, I figured I would give this new series a shot. After all, how bad could it be?
Venom #150: Heart Of Darkness
Writer: Mike Costa
Artist: Tradd Moore
Colorist: Felipe Sobreiro
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Venom Spaceknight Finale: Independence Day
Writer: Robbie Thompson
Artist: Gerardo Sandoval
Colorist: Dono Sanchez-Almara
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
C. Artist: Gerardo Sandoval
Editors: Nick Lowe & Devin Lewis & Allison Stock
Editor-In-Chief: Axel Alonso
This Is A Love Story: Eddie Brock awakens from nightmares of separation from Venom. Venom tries to calm him by suggesting a night out on the town as one. As they swing through the city, they spot a group of criminals breaking into a building. They confront the villains, but Venom loses his temper and brutally kills one of them. They are about to kill another when Eddie learns that these criminals were just stealing a genetically modified tomato. Eddie wrests control from Venom and flees as the cops arrive. Eddie returns to the church where he first bonded with Venom. He scares off some vandalizers and is thanked by the priest who had been hiding from them. The priest tries to comfort Eddie, who is upset by the actions he took earlier tonight. Eddie explains how he had wanted to be whole with Venom for so long and now is unsure of who he is. The priest notes that Eddie speaks about his partner like a man dealing with addiction, which angers Venom. Eddie leaves the priest behind before Venom does something sinister. They do not get far before they are attacked by Mac Gargan, in a new high tech Scorpion suit. Mac is almost able to best Venom and Eddie, but Venom is able to destroy his suit as Eddie loses consciousness. When Eddie awakens, they are back in the church, where Venom has killed the priest from before.
Spaceknight Finale: Venom is forced away from Flash during a fight. Flash searches for him. Flash finds nothing. Ends with the opening scene of Venom (2016).
I Know What Love Turns Into When It Is Used To Justify Pain: I feel like it would be a bad move to open this review with a string of profanities, so I will save them for later. Let me start off by complaining about the return to the legacy numbers. I am not a fan of the constant reboots, but I felt there was a way to rebrand them to make it work. That would involve turning comic series into something akin to a television season; you give a creative team 6-13 issues to tell their season and if it sells well enough, you renew them for a second season. It would deal with a lot of these current problems with constant reboots and unceremonious cancellations of series that have to rush their finales (like Venom: Spaceknight). It would allow creative teams some downtime between seasons to get ahead in the next series, so that you don’t have to constantly swap out members of the artistic team. And it would be a way to move forward, not backwards. And seriously, Marvel picked Venom of all series to start with? When DC returned Detective Comics and Action Comics to legacy numbers, that made sense. These were their longest running series. If Marvel had decided to return Avengers, or Amazing Spider-Man, or Uncanny X-Men to their legacy numbers, sure. But Venom? What the hell are you thinking Marvel? So yeah, not a fan of back-pedalling to legacy numbers in this era of cancelations. It solves nothing.
I read a single issue of the Lee Price Venom issues and found it to be the worst issue of any Venom series I ever read. So I really have no idea what happened during the Lee Price issues, nor do I have a desire to find out. What it seems like to me is that Marvel and Mike Costa decided to use Lee Price as a reset switch for all the progress Venom made under Robbie Thompson’s guidance, so that Costa could tell the story of a villain trying to be a good guy. WHAT THE F%$%! Thompson left Venom in such an interesting place, finally a place where he could do good. And how cool would it have been to see Venom finally away from your average Joe Schmoe and with someone intelligent? But no, Marvel just doubles down on regressing the character, by removing all that progress and giving him back to Eddie F$%&ing Brock. F%^& that. I was hoping to make it to my conclusion before the profanities started flying, but I guess not.
All that being said, there are elements here I like. The story opens by telling you this is a love story and if you missed that fact, they remind you about every other offing page. It is an interesting concept, I guess, but what I really like is that both Venom and Eddie want to do good in the world and somehow that unity turns into something violent. It is a great exploration of how desire to do good can be so easily corrupted and Venom is the perfect series to explore a concept like that. Ultimately, Venom is once again the bad guy of this series, which hurts a lot, but I am invested in Eddie Brock’s struggle/journey here. Eddie Brock is a man completely lost, despite having a goal and getting back that which he desired for so long. I also really like the use of the priest in this story, despite his whole backstory being just a generic retread of the idea that when the world ends, church goers stop going and the non-religious find faith. I particularly like how he breaks through the blackness of the pages that consume Eddie Brock through visual effects.
Speaking of the art, Tradd Moore elevates this book several grades worth. It seems to be fate that the artistic teams of half the Venom stories out there have to carry the book. Tradd Moore is the reason Robbie Reyes is my Ghost Rider, and he does amazing work here. The fights in this issue alone are worth picking this book up… when it drops in price. For the first time I can think of, Venom is almost graceful in battle while being no less vicious. I particularly love how Moore depicts Venom suiting up, as it is quite disturbing. And his colorist, Felipe Sobreiro, is the perfect fit for him. Sobreiro uses his colors to cut through the darkness on the page, project movements across the panel, and make the effects pop off the page. If I had to hazard a guess, I would say Moore did his own onomatopoeia, because they stand out more than your usual Clayton Cowles work. However if I am wrong, credit to Cowles, who manages to fill the onomatopoeia with comedy and make the vocal effects stand out.
I have nothing to say about the finale to Thompson and Sandoval’s Venom Spaceknight run except fuck that (no symbols here, this deserves an unadulterated f bomb). I waited for months and I get a generic six page story that adds nothing of value to either Flash Thompson or Venom. Marvel has taken Flash’s time as Venom and castrated it of any importance.
Conclusion: This book would be a steaming pile of F (for a certain profanity littered throughout this review) if not for the work of Tradd Moore & Felipe Sobreiro. And one interesting concept at play, something we already partially saw during Robbie Thompson’s run but has the potential to be better explored here. I cannot recommend this book to anyone for any reason outside the awesome fight scenes. I am sad to see Venom in such an bass ackwards place, but I guess this is what the fans wanted? Yeah,F$#% that.
- Tradd Moore & Felipe Sobreiro
- Corruption of the desire to do good
- Destroys Venom’s legacy
- Stupid return to Legacy numbers
- Whatever the hell Independence Day was supposed to be
- Generic storytelling
- Generic characters