Hey look–Marvel got me to read an issue of Venom… by, uh, slapping the Venom logo on an issue of X-Men Blue? An interesting tactic that isn’t at all annoying to someone who already buys X-Men Blue twice a month. Sarcasm. Sorry, blame Eddie Brock and his alien friend. This is what happens when you make me buy an issue of Venom, Marvel.

I hope you’re happy!

So yeah, Poison-X rages on in Venom #162, written by Blue’s Cullen Bunn and illustrated by Edgar Salazar and Ario Anindito. A gang of Symbiote-bonded space criminals led by Killer Thrill kidnapped Corsair and his Starjammers, which prompted Corsair’s son Cyclops to get the X-Men to kidnap Venom and blast off on a space rescue mission. If that wasn’t exciting enough for you… the X-Men have bonded with a bunch of symbiotes! What!? It’s like your childhood drawings realized–with a $3.99 price tag!

So, it’s certainly interesting to see Scott, Jean, Hank and the rest of the gang with a little added symbiote flavor, but I was also very confused as to why the X-Men weren’t more concerned that strange aliens had transformed them into X-Venoms. They all just keep going. Maybe I don’t know enough about symbiotes and maybe they calm any fears you may have the second they bond with you, but I feel like we’re just putting rational thinking aside so we can have a cool crossover.

Wouldn’t Jean Grey of all people go, “Whoa, an alien being just bonded with me–this reminds me of that time my adult counterpart bonded with the alien Phoenix Force and it made her eat a sun and wipe out an entire planet–maybe I should focus on getting this thing off me!”Also, visually, how exactly do symbiotes work in that Angel’s flame wings become bat wings? And Beast grows horns and fur. What? Maybe the answers I seek are in some ’90s symbiote-focused event, but… I don’t care enough.

To be fair, Jean does point out that the symbiotes are affecting their behavior, but she thinks they’ve got it under control. Cyclops now thinks it’s cool if Venom kills someone. And Beast and Iceman are at each other’s throats. But no worries, they’re the young X-Men, they’ve got this! And look how flippin’ cool they look!


This comic ends with a shocking cliffhanger… maybe? If I knew who exactly the character at the end of this issue was. I don’t read Venom and I haven’t read any of the previous Venom-focused Marvel events, so I honestly have no idea who I’m staring at on the last page. And that, my friends, is the problem with crossovers with series I don’t care about.

Look, this isn’t a terrible comic–it’s an average X-Men Blue adventure, but this whole Poison-X event just gets on my nerves anytime I think about it and how long it is. I will say, I’m a fan of one writer handling an entire crossover, but then I wonder why this story couldn’t have just been told in X-Men Blue, rather than Bunn taking over two issues of Venom. I’ve been reading comics long enough to know when I’m looking at a cash grab. And this right here, sure does seem like a cash grab.

Let’s end things on a positive note, though. I do like Salazar’s Venom. I had nice things to say about the artist’s take on the lethal protector in Poison-X part one and that continues this issue. That tiny mouth and those pointy teeth just remind me of the Spider-Man 3 Venom, and I loved that guy’s look! The symbiote-infected X-Men’s designs, on the other hand, I’m not a fan of. They just look like action figures Toy Biz would have put out in the ’90s.


No thanks, I’m good. Sorry, I said I’d end on a positive note. Blame Venom.

Venom #162
Is it good?
Venom #162 is the kind of '90s throwback that makes a long-time comics fan question whether he's outgrown comics.
Edgar Salazar draws a slick Venom.
This is basically an issue of X-Men Blue with a Venom logo, so why isn't this event confined to X-Men Blue?
Oh right, because Marvel wants my money.
Why aren't the X-Men more concerned about bonding with symbiotes--especially Jean?
If toy stores still existed, you'd find the Venomized X-Men action figures in the clearance bin.

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