The “Venomverse” is a story I’ve been keeping tabs on, but not necessarily reading. Prelude comics have been coming out for a few months now, but the bonafide series starts today. Cullen Bunn and Iban Coello team up to deliver alternate-dimension symbiote action like we’ve never seen before.
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
During a routine battle with the villainous Jack O’Lantern, Venom finds himself transported to a far-off world and learns a terrible truth – a deadly new species called the Poisons has emerged from the vastness of space, and to make matters worse, they’re hunting Venoms! Trapped on the planet’s surface with a ragtag band of Venomized heroes, Eddie has no choice but to mount a counteroffensive and hope to find a way home!
Why does this matter?
This is an event from Marvel Comics so you know it’ll be big, action packed, and filled with surprises. Given how big Cullen Bunn went with Monsters Unleashed I think we’re in good hands.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Love the look of this character.
Dropping into this event relatively blind may not be the best move, but it’s a #1 issue so dammit it better be accessible. Overall it is, although I’m sure I’m missing the gravity of some scenes involving Venom-ized heroes. That said, Venom (the real Eddie Brock version we all know and love from the 90’s) serves as a surrogate for the reader who has no clue what is going on. The summary above actually keys you in on the first few pages of this issue, which have Venom magically pop off into another universe that’s mostly a broken down cityscape. Over these opening pages the reader gets a good sense of Venom’s anti-hero bravado and the fact that he’s willing to break a man’s spine in the name of justice. That helps the reader understand what type of Venom we’re dealing with when other heroes enter the fray.
As first issues go, Bunn does a good job establishing the threat of the Poison creatures which are reminiscent of the Anti-Venom character introduced back in 2008. They’re white, parasitic, and a symbiote’s worst enemy. This issue lays the ground rules of the bad guy while giving the reader a taste of the eclectic group of heroes now sporting a symbiote costume. There’s also some fun Spider-Man/Venom teaming up going on, which is dialed up to 11 when the cliffhanger drops.
Coello draws this issue with Matt Yackey on colors and they open with a bang with Jack O’Lantern looking particularly awesome. Now, I’m a sucker for this character, so they had me just by drawing him at all, but his flaming head and skinny frame get quite the beating from Venom. Speaking of Venom, Eddie symbiote has a particularly alien-like face with a smaller mouth in many shots. The design of the other heroes is different enough to call out who they are, but their symbiotes still look rather cool. The Ghost Rider Venom and his symbiote chain is quite cool. The fluid nature of the symbiote is depicted well with various coverage on the characters, which helps convey the fluid nature of the alien.
Run, Venom is crazy!
It can’t be perfect can it?
While the issue introduces the various Venomized heroes there isn’t a lot done as far as what is going on with the bigger picture. As far as events go it’s rather singular in how it uses Eddie Brock as the main character and the rest of the characters serving as supporting parts. While the scope is large–an entire world is at threat and maybe all symbiotes in all dimensions–but as far as this issue is concerned it’s really only focused on Eddie and his entering the story. Hopefully, the title opens up a bit and gives the reader more of a taste of the other heroes donning their own symbiotes, because as it stands the book doesn’t feel event-sized yet.
Is It Good?
A good intro with some fun action, a varied cast, and high stakes, but it’s not quite event caliber in scope just yet. That said, Eddie Brock might be the key to winning the battle and we’ll be closely watching to see how.