“Venom Inc.” has been an interesting story arc as of late mostly because it’s so damn 90’s. Multiple Symbiotes running around, Spider-Man quipping away, and a lot of action. Part 4 kicks off today with Amazing Spider-Man #793 and Spidey isn’t looking so hot.
So what’s it about?
Check out the preview.
Why does this matter?
Ryan Stegman is drawing a hell of a book. He puts together some awesome full and double page spreads and his ability to draw the tendrils of a Symbiote is like no other. Mike Costa and Dan Slott have also done some great stuff with Flash Thompson and Spidey bonding through this trying time now that Flash is a superhero again.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Spider-Man with guns. Wait what?!
I was pretty down on the last part of this story arc mostly because it ended as it began. This issue throws all that out, jumping ahead a bit revealing that Spider-Man isn’t doing so hot. A mask covers his face like Maniac’s goons and that’s because he’s now under his control. Cut to Flash bound and being prepared to be executed and you can gather the heroes aren’t winning. This issue progresses that plot while developing Maniac’s bigger goal and furthering the b-plot of Black Cat and Venom getting their ducks in a row. This crossover is doing well to juggle the multiple elements, closing out plots and starting new ones.
The relationship between Flash and Peter continues to develop in this issue though not as friends. Stegman draws some excellent Spider-Man and his masked self is pretty damn creepy. The plot eventually culminates to a smash and grab for Spider-Man at the Daily Bugle, which ends up moving outside the building. Stegman choreographs an excellent fight sequence here and it’s fun to see Anti-Venom Flash attempt to save his best bud. This scene takes place during a snowstorm, which looks fantastic too. There are little flakes all about and also some white streaks which makes the scene feel more chaotic and frantic.
Okay, I kinda love this look on Spider-Man.
It can’t be perfect can it?
I have a lot of questions when it comes to Maniac and his power. Does he know who Spider-Man is now? Who is this bastard anyway and why should we care? That continues to be an issue with this series as the villain is quite weak. His power allows for the plot to keep moving forward, but it’s hard to care about the character’s ambitious when we know he’ll disappear after the heroes beat him.
There is also the question of Venom, who is a villain in a sense too. A plot element of weaponizing something that would be very bad for all Symbiotes comes up and yet he gladly joins in on the plan. I’m sure there’s a convenient plot twist that’ll make this not matter, which ends up being a recurring issue for this series. It’s a fun bubblegum action story, but there’s nothing substantial that can’t be fixed and altered by convenient plot devices.
Is It Good?
It’s pretty clear the more Spider-Man you have in this story arc the better. Stegman’s art continues to be a big draw too. If you like your crossovers with fun twists and turns you’ll enjoy this.