It’s easy to forget that Mike Costa may have introduced one of the coolest Symbiotes ever in the Marvel universe. He and Mark Bagley teamed up for Venom: First Host, and the Symbiote offspring of Venom is back from quite a journey. Donny Cates is taking over Sleeper’s story here with the help of Iban Coello on art, but what will Sleeper do when he finds out Venom’s son needs saving?
So what’s it about?
Read the preview.
Why does this matter?
Sleeper is one of the newest characters to enter the Marvel universe and it’s a Symbiote with the wildest powers to boot. It can secrete chemicals with a process called chemokinesis, giving it quite a variety of powers at its disposal. The fact that Venom’s Symbiote child is interacting with Eddie Brock’s is a fascinating angle to explore too.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
This issue does a good job bringing Sleeper back into the fold with an adequate explanation of what it was up to the last few months. It’s also an interesting reveal since it shows Sleeper may be closer to the whole Knull/Absolute Carnage angle than we thought. Cates and Coello do a great job humanizing Sleeper with key moments of reflection, such as the alien reminding us it’s not a wild killer like most Symbiotes. There’s also an endearing moment you won’t want to miss between Sleeper and Dylan.
This is a tie-in to Absolute Carnage, so of course it has some badass moments. The Maker, aka Reed Richards of the Ultimate universe, is still attempting to remove codices from Norman Osborn’s son. In the last issue he tamped down a bunch of Symbiotes showing how strong he is and there’s a wild reveal in this issue involving said Symbiotes you won’t want to miss. A new Symbiote anyone?
Coello is teamed up with Rain Beredo and they positively kill it on the first page splash. We’re taken to space and see Sleeper using his powers to rocket around. It’s a quick way to show his abilities but also how far he’s gone from being a baby to this more seasoned character. Dylan is very well rendered too and looks his age, which is very hard for some artists. The issue neds on an excellent full-page splash that’ll have you dying for the next issue.
It can’t be perfect, can it?
There are about three pages that don’t quite work because of the pacing. We open with a cool space scene and getting to know what Sleeper is up to, but then fall into a scene with Dylan and Normie sort of connecting on some level. It seems overly long, stretching out the issue. It’s giving Dylan his call to action, but it doesn’t do much beyond make Dylan look clever and subtly heroic. Normie meanwhile plays the damsel of sorts and is weak and underwritten.
Is it good?
A good tie-in that brings us up to speed on Venom’s Symbiote’s child, Sleeper, while progressing the Maker subplot well enough. Leave it to Donny Cates to continually stretch our expectations of the once simplistic Symbiote into something so much more.