Eddie Brock is back along with Venom’s original numbering…sort of. If you add up all the miniseries and what not, it comes out to somewhere around 150, which makes for a nice, marketable milestone issue.
Writer: Mike Costa, Robbie Thompson, David Michelinie
Artist: Tradd Moore, Gerardo Sandoval, Ron Lim
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Anyway, let’s throw the numbering weirdness aside for now and dig into the content of the book, shall we? There are three stories, so we’ll go through ‘em all before giving the book a single overall rating.
First Read Reactions: Heart of Darkness
- Kicking things off with a quote from Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. This is either going to be really good or painfully pretentious.
- Easy way to my heart: Character recaps that are executed in lavish two-page spreads.
- The Venom symbiote sounds a lot like my bladder.
- When someone committing an armed robbery tells you they are not a terrorist, it should probably take more than a genetically altered tomato to give them the benefit of the doubt.
- Eddie Brock has gotten a lot more squeamish about murder than I remember him being…
- …and a lot more clingy.
- I’m not sure if this priest is going to be a new recurring character or not, but he’d make one heck of a good relationship counselor.
- Looks like Eddie and the sybmiote definitely could’ve used his services, too.
First Read Reactions: Dependence Day
- VENOM ANGRY!
- VENOM…IRRATIONALLY ANGRY!
First Read Reactions: Malled
- Note to editors: When two personalities are speaking within the same character, differentiating the lettering is greatly appreciated.
- Never heard a mall cop referred to as a “noble guardian” before, but let’s go with it.
- Bad life motto: Betrayal is good.
At just over forty story pages, Venom #150 is a whole lot of symbiote shenanigans for your $6.00. Volume-wise, it’s a great value. Content-wise…it’s actually pretty darn good, as well.
Perhaps my expectations have been lowered by Eddie Brock replacing the Venom’s former host, who was somehow able to simultaneously be a raging sociopath and a bland douchebag.
In "Heart of Darkness," we see the potential of just how great this remix of Venom’s original hit song could be. In the suit’s absence, Brock is both more excited and obsessed than ever about his bond with the symbiote. Artist Tradd Moore manages to make Mike Costa’s script sing, especially the beautiful two-page spread recounting Brock’s story and a badass fight sequence with one of the symbiote’s former flames.
Add in some great dialogue/debate about Brock’s pathos—along with a truly shocking/jarring ending—and this is by far the most I’ve enjoyed the current Venom series thus far.
"Dependence Day" by Robbie Thompson (w) and Gerardo Sandaoval (a) is fun, but leaves quite a bit of narrative to be desired—namely how the symbiote could decide that this one encounter made him so mad at Flash Thompson. Maybe I missed out on the explanation by not reading the Space Knight series, but it certainly feels (to a newbie like me, at least) like we’re missing something.
"Malled" is about as retro as you can get, right down to the stilted, out-loud exposition and cardboard characters. Definitely nowhere near David Micheline’s best work. Ron Lim’s art is still very good, though.
In the end, I’m not sure how much the back half of Venom #150 would appeal to non-symbiote fans looking for a complete and/or compelling story. The first story, however, is great for anybody—and for 90’s-era fanboys like me, the whole thing is worth the price of admission.