A major criticism of comics over the last 10 years comics have been decompressed, stretching out stories so they can best be enjoyed in a trade paperback. In a welcome change, one thing that is true of all of these new #1 issues from Marvel Comics is that each issue seems to pack a lot of story into a small space. Venom is a similar series which has so much new development you get a huge amount of bang for your buck. Issue #3 is no different.
So what’s it about?
Read the flipping preview.
Why does this matter?
Ryan Stegman has been drawing lights-out horror goodness with this series. If he’s this good now, what is he going to be like in five years? Donny Cates has revitalized the character of Venom with an interesting past for the Symbiote (on Earth and in the cosmos). Plus there’s a giant dragon symbiote flying around New York, how cool is that?
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
This issue can be broken down into segments. The first is a fight/team up with Miles Morales Spider-Man. The second is their assault on the dragon Symbiote and what is learned from that experience. The first half of this issue is quite quick, focusing on characters fighting and preparing to fight. The last 10 pages add a hell of a lot of character development with some huge reveals. Cates and Stegman deliver on the opening action, giving the fight purpose since it also requires Miles to meet Venom for the first time. It’s a big moment if you’re a Miles fan since his relationship to other iterations of Venom has been quite disturbed. Per the usual hero etiquette, they rush into battle from there and their plan goes about as well as most Venom plans (read: punch it in the teeth!).
It’s not until the last 10 pages that the comic gets back to building a new lore for the Symbiotes. A major villain is introduced who has a creepy vibe, not unlike Dracula and he’s way out of Venom’s league. Cates has done a spectacular job establishing how unprepared Venom is up until this point which further casts him as the underdog. This is his fight though since this super villain is directly tied to Symbiote history.
The art continues to be excellent and this issue has a lot to enjoy. The use of rain gives each page a sense of chaos and romanticism that suits the reveal at the end. It also just dawned on me the symbol on Venom’s chest could actually represent wings, suiting this dragon he’s up against this issue. Speaking of which, this dragon is scary as hell with a great silhouette shot in the fog early on and more direct shots of it attacking here and there. The supervillain introduced later in the issue has an interesting design too which makes him look dignified and instantly compelling. There’s also a freaky moment after Venom slashes at him that may haunt your dreams.
It can’t be perfect can it?
The pace of this issue is a bit janky due to the opening fight with Spider-Man devolving into a team up. These scenes are mostly action with some character building, but it goes quick. The second half slows things down with captions from Eddie reacting to the insanity before him.
Is it good?
Action, character development, and huge implications for all Symbiotes going forward. This is about as fresh as a fresh start can get.