Venom #153 Review (Spoilers)


The first arc of Marvel’s Legacy Initiative comes to a conclusion, pairing up the classic Eddie Brock iteration of Venom with Marvel’s smartest… shiniest new genius, Luella Lafayette. The bleeding of the old with the new, with some big cover numbers on it is what the Legacy initiative is all about, but does it work for Venom? Check out below. 

Venom #153: Devils in the Details

Writer: Mike Costa

Artist: Gerardo Sandoval

Colorist: Dono Sanchez Almara

Letterer: Clayton Cowles

Editors: Nick Lowe & Devin Lewis & Allison Stock

Editor-In-Chief: Axel Alonso

If You Had A Friend Who Was Not Himself, You Would Help Him: Our issue opens, not where we last left our heroes, but inexplicably with them separated. Devil Dinosaur is chasing Luella Lafayette out of the sewers, when Venom swings out of nowhere (instead of you know, by her side like the end of last issue) to save her. Devil wants to chase them through the city, but his dinosaur overlord, Stegron calls him back so they can continue with his master plan.

Eddie Brock berates Luella for getting involved again, but she manages to talk him into a team up. They discover Stegron is planning to release his dinosaur serum into the New York City water supply, but Venom is able to take control of Devil Dinosaur through symbiotic bonding. They fight off Stegron’s army while Luella outsmarts the dinosaur overlord. Venom overexerts himself trying to control Devil Dinosaur and starts murdering the dinosaur people before Eddie can reign him in. Free of Stegron’s influence, the dinosaur people decide to make a home in the sewer. Luella mentions to Eddie that they will need a protector to defend them against those who would wish to use lethal force against them. 

Eddie delivers Stegron back to Liz Allan in exchange for a month’s worth of the Venom supplement. Liz asks about the dinosaur army Eddie claimed to have fought and Eddie lies to her, saying they perished in the fight against Stegron. The issue ends with Eddie worrying about money and Venom celebrating their return to heroism. 

Forearms Too Short, Classic Dinosaur Problem: I do not have much to say this time around. This issue reads like the rest of the story arc before it; a solid story with not much boiling under the surface. If there is any subtext to this story, I think it has more to do with the Legacy initiative than Mike Costa’s on-going Venom story. The team up between Luella and Eddie is well executed, with a nice division of labor between the brains and brawn of the group. Luella’s solution is a simple one, turning a compound in Stegron’s dinosaur serum into an explosive. I enjoy how Luella basically turns Stegron into a joke on a scientific level, even if it pushes Luella’s dominance as the smartest person in the Marvel Prime. She also gets in a couple good dinosaur jokes that made me chuckle. The corruption of Devil Dinosaur serves a nice parallel to what is happening with Venom, which makes their bonding a literal crossing of the story and subtext. At this point, the spectacle of seeing a Venomized dinosaur is non-existent in the Marvel Universe but it is a nice attempt at heroism for Venom. His celebration of heroism at the end does seem to forget that he killed a lot of dinosaur-people though and rings a little hollow. 

This is the weakest issue artistically. Some of Gerardo Sandoval’s faces look a little off (especially his sad Venom) and a lot of the dinosaur men are drawn without details. There is only a couple pages with creative paneling choices, but there is at least a couple visual cues to classic Spider-Man moments in the issue to make up for it. Dono Sanchez-Alamara is the MVP here, with a palette that is rarely monochromatic in colour and breathes life into the pages. Clayton Cowles’ letters neither add nor detract from the story. There is a moment in the issue where Sandoval draws Venom tackling Stegron that makes me miss Flash every time. We recently got confirmation that Agent Venom will be a part of VenomVerse, which has me more excited than ever for the event. 

My biggest complaint with the story arc is how the individual chapters do not line up nicely. Cliffhangers are often ignored at the start of the new issue, even though  page or two later we find ourselves in the exact same position as the cliffhanger from the previous chapter. It is a bizarre choice to make, especially when you only have eighteen to twenty page of story per issue. 

Verdict: Despite featuring characters I do not care for, and a neutered Venom, this story is good. Not something you have to rush out and buy, but it would be a good Marvel Unlimited story to read in a single sitting thanks to the brevity. Gerardo Sandoval and Dono Sanchez Alamara are the power players in this storyline, so if you are not a fan of the Sandoval/Humberto Ramos style of comic book art, this book might not be for you. Much like James’ review of the new Spider-Man cartoon, this series is also ‘decent with potential’. Lets see what comes next. 

Pros: 

  • Solid team up between Venom and Moon Girl
  • Nice sense of Legacy

Cons: 

  • Cliffhanger ignored then recreated
  • Lack of detail in art

C+ 

Land Before Crime Grade: C 

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