VenomVerse #2 Review (Spoilers)


In my previous review, I wrote about a rumored Venom Inc. miniseries/on-going spinning out of VenomVerse. Sadly, this turned out to be a crossover between Dan Slott’s Amazing Spider-Man and Mike Costa’s Venom series. One that will see Peter back with the symbiote and Flash Thompson playing a role (hopefully Slott treats Agent Venom better since he helped birth him.) I could not be less excited for this comic, as I have personal bias towards both writers and hate seeing Marvel continue this supposed celebration of Venom’s legacy when it is clearly a celebration of Eddie Brock’s legacy. Is anybody at the Crawlspace looking forward to a one-two combo of Slott and Costa? If so, share your feelings in the comments. 

VenomVerse #2: Assembling the Payload

Writer: Cullen Bunn

Artist: Iban Coello

Colorist: Matt Yackey

Letterer: Joe Carmagna

C.Artists: Nick Bradshaw & Edgar Delgado

Editors: Nick Lowe & Devin Lewis & Allison Stock

Editor-In-Chief: Axel Alonso

Spider-Man Versus Venom Just Like The Good Old Days: After Spider-Man was transformed by the Poisons at the end of last issue, he engages Eddie in a brutal fight. Eddie is about to lose when a team of Venoms save him and together, they are able to fight off Spider-Man. They regroup with the other Venoms and they lament the loss of Captain Venom (who we see turn into a Poison.) Old Man Venom takes charge and leads the team to Our Lady of Saints church, somewhere Captain Venom did not know about. Doctor Venom explains the nature of the Poisons to Eddie and how they consume the original Venom host as nutrients. The group realizes Venompool is gone and we see him switch sides, joining the Poisons willingly. 

A World Famous Actress And The Best Role You Ever Played Was Damsel In Distress: This event continues to improve in the second installment and it manages to deliver a lot of that ‘Spider-Verse’ thrill alongside some solid character moments. Nearly every Venom in this comic is given some small role to play in the grand scheme of things. Last issue, Flash and Peter performed sacrificial plays while Rocket saved the day with his technological tinkering. This time around Logan is given Cap’s leader role (Admantium is proven to harm Poisoned hosts), Cap is our transformation of the issue (Peter was last time), Mary Jane is abused by Peter, Strange gets to wax exposition, and Deadpool just might be the MVP of this series (unsurprising, given Cullen Bunn’s love of the character.) The story does a good job of building off the Edge of VenomVerse anthology (with the exception of Rocket’s story), as we see what happened to Doom (spoiler: he is seemingly leading the Poisons) and Wade learns that the hosts can fight the Poisons (which is exactly what he does to another alien species in EoVV #5 which means his turn at the end of the issue is likely an attempt to test his mettle against the Poisons.) We also learn that the Hosts are consumed by the Poisons for nutrients, which means Host-Rider may not be able to turn since his Venom and Spirit of Vengeance already feast on him. Andi Benton, Laura Kinney, Eric O’Grady, and Ngozi have yet to play any real role (Mania gets to criticize Eddie a lot, I guess) so I guess time will tell if they are meant to be cannon fodder or not.  Either way, these Venomized heroes feel like they serve story purpose and that makes them feel important. 

One complaint I do have is the fact that Poisons seemingly overwrite their host personalities… except when they do not. Steve Rogers, Peter Parker, and Victor Von Doom all seem to override their Poisons. Are they unfiltered as compared to their originals? In the case of Peter, definitely, but they are still capable of hesitation and mistake, and their personalities seem to surface (something Eddie even comments when the Poison Spider-Man can not shut up.) Hopefully the true nature of the Poisons will be better fleshed out in the back half of this event and I still hold hope that this all stems from Eddie Brock; the Anti-Venom esqe design is just too much of coincidence otherwise and let us not forget this is a celebration of Eddie Brock’s legacy. 

As it stands right now though, Peter Parker is the true villain of this series. He is given the strongest conflict with our protagonist and he manages to leave his mark on at least two other Venoms (Mary Jane and Wade). There is an energy to the fight between Peter and Eddie that the rest of the series lacks. When Peter punches Eddie, it is with such force that Iban Coello draws an explosive impact; Peter caving in Venom’s face is a highlight. As the two exchange blows, the comic page around them seems to come undone. There is a fluidity to the fight and Coello is able to render it in several different ways. Sometimes the page is accentuated with speed lines and at other times the character will cut a colorful path as he is propelled through the panel. Matt Yackey is able to add a lot of explosive color in the fight backdrops and he uses light in an interesting way. The contrast between Peter and Eddie is everything in this comic. Eddie is bulky and clothed in black, while Peter is lithe and coated in light. And yet when Peter punches Eddie, the blows are shadowed in darkness. When Eddie bleeds, his blood is visceral while Peter’s is a dull brown color. Despite everything Eddie and Peter say in this comic, the art goes out of its way to show Eddie as the light and Peter as the darkness. 

List of known Venoms: Eddie Brock, Mary Jane Watson, Logan, Doctor Strange, Deadpool, Black Ant, X-23, Black Panther (Ngozi), Mania, Robbie Reyes, Rocket Raccoon, Flash Thompson (deceased[Hulk]), Peter Parker (Poisoned), Captain America (Poisoned)

 

List of known Poisons: Hawkeye, Sabertooth, Scarlet Witch, Captain America, Spider-Man, Doom, Bullseye, Storm, Iron Fist, Green Goblin, Hulk (deceased [Rocket]), Doctor Octopus (deceased [Eddie Brock])

 

Verdict: This issue sets up a lot for the back half of the event, but still manages to make this an exciting addition. Peter and Eddie’s brawl is the artistic highlight of the event so far, even if Peter Parker as the central antagonist is not particularly original. There is definitely a discord between what the reader is told about the Poisons and what we are shown, but the characters seem to be investigating into this. This is probably going to be the best Venom story in Marvel’s near future, so be sure to check this one out. 

Pros: 

  • Eddie vs. Peter
  • Wade’s observations
  • Destructive art
  • Powerful colors

Cons: 

  • Peter as the antagonist
  • Continuity error (Rocket)
  • Nature of the Poisons

B+

Liked it? Take a second to support the Crawlspace on Patreon!