Everything you thought you knew about Venom but were too afraid to ask.
So far I’m loving what Marvel Comics is doing with their new rebooted series — they’re staying true to the characters while adding a twist to make them feel fresh. It’s a good combination of satisfying longtime readers and new giving these characters a whole new reason to fight the good fight. Venom was one of those characters who also gets a #2 issue today continuing to flesh out the Symbiote backstory.
So what’s it about?
Read the preview.
Why does this matter?
Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman not only created a new and exciting backstory for humans’ relationship to Symbiotes, but they also gave Eddie a whole new motivation to fight on. Stegman has been drawing some knock out splashes too, and the book’s tone has gained a horror vibe that suits the character.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
This issue opens with the Symbiote attempting to mend Eddie’s wounds after being maimed in a quarrel with some Symbiote soldiers. In these early scenes, the Symbiote probes Eddie’s past, revealing his childhood and the big story beats he’s endured over the years. It’s an excellent way to catch the reader up to speed on Eddie’s journey, effectively giving the entire story arc a new-direction sort of vibe. Now that we’ve recapped the past, it’s time to deliver on a big story moment. That big story moment is revealed more clearly in this issue, and it’s not just figuratively big: think a giant Symbiote god dragon. Since Cates outlined Eddie’s past early on the enormity of the Symbiote god becomes a bit more grounded and believable.
Much of this issue is boiled down to three scenes with two flashbacks in each of them. The meat of the story focuses on the Vietnam vet we were introduced to in the last issue which gives us a bit more detail about how he got his Symbiote. This backstory progresses the main story a bit, which is then recapped by Eddie putting into perspective how insane it all is.
If you ever thought Symbiotes were silly or too simplistic buckle in, because Cates and Stegman essentially begin their thesis on Symbiote history here. We’re talking substantial cosmic implications if what’s laid out is correct. That gives Venom more weight and makes him a much more robust character than the usual vigilante-in-the-street hero.
The art by Stegman continues to be gorgeous. The operating scenes early on are done in a realistic way that’s a bit gross and a bit creepy. As the Symbiote pulls Eddie’s bones back together, we get an extreme close up view from within his body, for instance. There’s also a massive double page layout to give us a closer look at the Symbiote god and some sweet full-page spreads too.
It can’t be perfect can it?
Two pages are devoted to the Vietnam vet, presumably to give the reader a bit of color on the man, but it seems like a big tangent from the main story. Venom asks the man about what he did, and yet these two pages could have been summed up in a single panel. They aren’t necessarily poorly written or drawn, but they seem to get off track from the point. I assume this character will be used much more going forward, but in this issue, it reads more like filler.
Is it good?
Another excellent issue in a series I never thought I’d like so much. Cates and Stegman are adding new backstory to a character that I wasn’t aware needed it! As you’d expect with excellent writing, this story is making Venom more interesting by the page.