“Venom Inc.” ends today which will have some cheering, but probably a lot more breathing a sigh of relief. Overall, this crossover story has been predictable and lackluster. Venom and the Symbiote are the main selling point, which might make many very happy, but the story has left me wanting more. Question is, can it seal the deal?
So what’s it about?
Read our exclusive preview.
Why does this matter?
It appears Marvel is working Venom out of their system; they wrapped Venomverse a short while ago, wrap up this series today, and jump into Venomized next. If you’re a Venom fan you’re probably loving all of this. It’s admirable that Marvel and its creators are attempting to flesh out this character and his corner of the universe.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Venom. With a gun. How awesome.
Much props to Gerardo Sandoval and Ryan Stegman who draw some big-time splash pages and action scenes in this issue. The heroes are fighting a giant Maniac who looks like Venom (more or less) and his 15 story tall body looks solid throughout. It actually shifts from fat baby to King Kong style monster, which makes his Symbiote nature even weirder. It also works throughout because he must battle Spidey, Flash, Venom, Manic, and Black Cat in various ways. Highlights include a cool double page spread of Flash bursting through a wall and some heroic beats for Spidey.
Outside of the art, one can be relieved there’s an ending here. This story arc has served as a way to reset Venom, Black Cat, and Flash Thompson well enough that it has done all three justice. You can’t argue their stories moving forward are going to be new and, hopefully, more interesting because of this story.
The villain is formidable because he’s big. This is superhero comics 101 people.
It can’t be perfect can it?
There really isn’t a lot here to dig into and enjoy. The story is predictable with Spider-Man for what seems like the 50th time fighting a bad guy who magically gets huge. I say magically because I guess it makes sense? The writers haven’t really tried to explain it.
Much like that, characters seem to learn important things on the fly to serve the plot. Maybe it’s the lack of pages, but it is not organic or even all that interesting. Take for instance a moment where Flash thinks he’s dying, but then remembers his Anti-Venom suit will heal him. There’s a beat where we’re supposed to think he’s dying (shyeah right). In another moment, Black Cat learns something about the mind control Symbiote powers that’ll resolve this whole thing in possibly the least satisfying way possible. All the while Spider-Man is basically getting punched into different heroes so as to force dialogue. The solution in defeating Maniac is rather ridiculous too and serves as a reminder that Anti-Venom really needs to stop punching bad guys and get into an AIDS and cancer lab. Dude can save more lives with this suit than by punching Venom!
The last two pages are heavy handed too, one with Spider-Man interacting with Mockingbird (remember they are a thing?!) and then Venom chatting with a fellow hero. The story as a whole is so polarizing Venom’s strange pep talk almost seems normal.
Is It Good?
What a lackluster story arc. Sure, it delivers on the art and should have folks cheering if they like their villains to look cool but fall completely flat. The saving grace has always been the relationship between Spider-Man and Flash, but that angle limps more than sprints to the finish. When you have villains getting bigger and heroes grabbing machine guns to take them out one can only remember the radically awesome (sarcasm) 90s.