This post on Venom #153 is brought to you by Downtown Comics, Indianapolis’ largest comic book shop! They love to nerd out just like us at Pure Fandom. Head to their website for deals and updates on your favorite comics, swag, and more!
The original Venom, Eddie Brock, is back in his own monthly series. After several years of the alien symbiote getting worn by different Marvel characters, the royal “we” reunites. Venom now settles into his former role as ‘lethal protector’ – a man striving to do good but often brutal in the undertaking.
The new series, written by Mike Costa, art by Gerardo Sandoval and colors from Dono Sanchez-Almara is just getting started, but having a lot of fun along the way. Since Eddie is new in the hero business, again, he’s struggling for resources and allies. Fortunately, he manages to leverage both from Alchemax CEO Liz Allan and new best friends; Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur.
The latter, unfortunately, isn’t much help since he’s being mind controlled by old Spider-Man villain Stegron the Dinosaur Man. In this concluding issue, Venom and Moon Girl must use their combined wits to prevent Stegron from turning everyone in New York into dino-slaves. A kinetic, fun, and almost heartfelt tale follows, with exciting results.
It’s great to have the bi-cameral mind version of Venom back in action. During the symbiote’s time with Mac Gargan and then Flash Gordon, neither used the plural “we” to refer to themselves. Eddie, however, always treats the symbiote as a partnership rather than a tool or weapon.
As a result we get the classic “we” self referential moments. In addition, there are some great internal monologues from Eddie and his suit that help flesh out their characters. It’s not unlike the relationship between our guest stars – Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur!
The diminutive hero and her giant pet are at odds here thanks to Stegron’s mind control. Undeterred, Moon Girl attempts to get through to Devil, but he still only sees her as lunch. After a tearful roof-top argument with Venom as to how to stop Stegron and save her friend, they spring into action that carries the rest of the book.
The rest is pretty rote superhero dialogue and antics. Which are supremely fun, especially when dealing with an alien symbiote and a villainous dinosaur man. While not the most compelling character work villain-wise, we get Eddie stepping up to save mutated people, protect a little girl, and make good on his deal with Alchemax.
Not necessarily the best story for Venom, but a damn fine one to reestablish him as a force for good in the larger Marvel world.
Gerardo Sandoval has the sort of choppy, angular style that can sometimes wreak havoc on character design. Thankfully, that’s not the case here. Instead, he uses that style to his advantage. Venom’s gnarly teeth and fluid being have the jagged appeal once held in his early incarnations.
And then there’s the dinosaurs, none of which get look as awesome as Devil:
Sure, Stegron gets a bulky, villainous, scaly look that works for his character. But he’s still got to be beaten by the heroes in the end, so Devil Dinosaur takes the cake for coolest portrayal.
In the final fight the best of both worlds are combined. Venom realizes the symbiote can free Devil from Stegron’s mind control. To do so, the three of them bond at once creating a visceral splash page with Eddie/Venom/Devil Dinosaur as one big toothy monster.
It’s a great team-up, and the vivid line/inkwork combine with the bright coloring for a supremely fun read. Now that Venom is outfitted with a serum to balance out the suit’s more murder-y impulses, the time for full fledged heroics has come.
It’ll be interesting to see how the creative team utilizes this fresh setup. Will Eddie lean back into anti-hero, lethal protector? Will it be a hybrid of his own street level antics and a dose of space-faring adventure? One can only hope. To read this and other great tales swing by Downtown Comics, we know we will.