As one of Spiderman’s most iconic and popular villains, interest in Venom is at an all-time high. With the upcoming release of a solo Venom movie starring Tom Hardy, Marvel has relaunched Venom’s solo series and returned the character to its violent, horror themed roots.
While the character has gone through several incarnations such as a heroic version featuring fellow Spiderman character Flash Thompson, this rebooted version finds the alien symbiote back in the welcoming arms of its original host, Eddie Brock. Now back in New York and intent on using his powers to stop crime, Eddie Brock learns that his alien host is not the first to arrive on Earth. Previously, S.H.I.E.L.D. discovered a symbiote during the Vietnam War and experimented on it in hopes of weaponizing it. As with all military experiments involving aliens, this one went awry, killing their military hosts. Unknowingly, when investigating this, Eddie accidentally releases the symbiotes who unleash Knull, the God of the Symbiotes. Knull proceeds to wreak havoc in NYC, forcing Eddie to battle him while trying to maintain control of his own alien symbiote, who fears and reveres Knull.
Story wise, this was a straight forward affair. Once again, Marvel has shown incredible foresight in providing a recap page for readers to catch up on and jump right in to the issue. Though I had not read the previous two issues, I did not feel lost or confused by any of the events, making it much easier to enjoy the story and artwork. I was pleasantly surprised to that this issue was packed with intense combat scenes between Venom and Knull, as well as scenes featuring the Ultimate Spiderman, Miles Morales. Miles Morales’ inclusion in this issue helped bring balance to the fight scenes and helped establish Eddie Brock as an atoning anti-hero by contrasting him against the steadfast Morales. Regarding Knull, I found him to be an interesting villain since he is a new creation and is established as a formidable opponent for Venom. It will be interesting to see what Venom does to combat Knull in the following issues as he struggles to control his symbiote, whose allegiance is torn between its host and its divine deity.
Though the story intrigued me, I felt that the stars of this issue were the artists. Penciler Ryan Stegman, Inker JP Mayer, and Color Artist Frank Martin showcased some of the most beautiful and striking artwork in comics today. From the character designs to the combat scenes, each panel featured stellar visuals that not only told the story, but also served as a benchmark for any artist looking to combine storytelling with incredible artwork. Personally, I felt the best images were those that featured Knull in both his symbiote form, as well as his human-like form. He looked like a cross between Dracula and Mister Sinister, only much more devious.
Though this is only the third issue of this series, I am hooked and I can’t wait to see what lies ahead for Venom, and whether Eddie Brock can maintain control of his alien, and what writer Donny Cates has in store for the phenomenal new villain, Knull.
Verdict: 8/10 – Jaw Dropping artwork coupled with an accessible story featuring a new, menacing villain make this issue a must buy.