The idea of the “The End” one-shot comic series is a clever one. Take what makes What If? good but make them all similarly themed in their purpose: in this case, the final story for a character. Miles Morales has received his end and other characters like Doctor Strange are getting the treatment too, but tomorrow Venom gets his due. Written by Adam Warren with art by Jeffrey Cruz it’s time to witness Venom’s end…1.8 trillion years in the future.
Right off the bat, this book is dense. Captions run-heavy with this book–there is no dialogue but instead a telling of a tale trillions of years-long–with a lot of work done to convey complicated concepts in even the minor panels. As we can see in the preview image above this story is about the “Final extinction of all biological life in this universe,” which is pretty heavy stuff. Warren has clearly taken huge inspiration from Donny Cates’ run on the series utilizing the idea of Codexis and how a Symbiotes can mess around with the genetics of those who wore the suit. In the grand scheme of things, this story immortalizes Venom as the greatest hero to ever live. It’s so epic we may need to redefine the word after reading this.
I’m not going to say I understand everything in this book because I’m not sure you’re supposed to. There are a lot of “science-ey” explanations that may or may not actually be real. Many of them went over my head. You’ll definitely read this slowly to grasp what is going on. The big-beat moments are relatively easy to follow since most are characterized with large text splashed across the page in dramatic fashion. The use of captions gives the book a sense of higher worth that matches the gravity of what we see happen in the far future.
The art by Cruz is impressive. In fact, Marvel should pay him to double for this work since there are a hell of a lot of complex things going on and relatively speaking it’s easy to follow visually. There are many epic battles undertaken and moments where Venom must do amazing things to keep organic life in the battle. You won’t doubt Venom can do everything he impossibly does here. Plus, Venom gets a nifty new costume with the DNA symbol splashed across the chest. I can’t wait to see that at conventions!
This is a dense read but one that is rewarding thanks to the big beats in the story that reveal incredible ideas as biological life fights to stay in the conversation. It’s amazing to me that Venom 20 years ago was a visually interesting character and not much more, but here we see Warren take what Cates has built and shown us the sky is the limit when cleverness and inspiration meet in the middle. If you like encyclopedic reads or bang for your buck storytelling don’t skip on this.
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