There was not much about Spider-Island that I liked aside from the Venom tie-ins (probably because Remender didn’t mix Venom into the insane fray with the rest of the Marvel heroes). The Cloak & Dagger mini was fantastic, but other than that I’m happy it’s over, happy Remender’s more-than-impressive Venom run can continue on it’s marry way. Remender has not been given nearly enough praise for his work at Marvel with Uncanny X-Force and Venom consistently being two of the best books on the stands. Die-hard Eddie Brock fans were skeptical when the series began (many still are) but Remender really gets into the nitty-gritty psychology of the symbiote, and dives headfirst into Flash’s mind. This is a Venom like we’ve never seen before, and it’s a distinct pleasure every single month. Issue 9 is a great place for new readers to hop on board before the next big arc hits in December. Read on for the skinny
“SPIDER-ISLAND AFTERMATH Flash Thompson suffered a great loss during the Infestation, but in the wake of the outbreak, the body count may rise. The dust has settled, the outbreak is over, but the heartbreak has just begun.”
Remender has been absolutely tearing it up over at Marvel bringing his dark and intelligent writing to Uncanny X-Force (undeniably the best X-book out there right now) and his re-envisioning of the fan-favorite villain Venom has been nothing short of remarkable. Even in the midst of Spider-Island he didn’t abandon his plot, but rather offered a book that could be read independently from the rest of the hoopla. Maybe it’s my abhorrence for Slott’s writing throughout the event, maybe it’s my aversion to Ramos’ artwork, Maybe it’s my man-crush on Rememnder, who knows, but Venom has taken it’s place at the top of my Spidey list. Now that Venom is near ten issues deep, it’s no longer an up and coming book, but it finds itself in it’s most important formative stage that will set the bar for years to come.
Venom’s character suffered in the past from writers focusing too much on action, focusing too much on how awesome the character looks when he’s in the heat of passion. Remender on the other hand avoids simply focusing on Venom’s visual appeal, and offers a deep character driven book. The series dives right into Flash’s psyche, examining his past, his present, and his choice to bond with the black space goo. This is specifically where Remender succeeds. The narrative really displays the mental tussle that Flash goes through on his secret government missions. Every single issue shows him struggling to maintain control of the suit, well knowing that he’s not fully behind the wheel. He often loses his hold on reality, but he’s also able to come back to himself, he has a special bond with the suit that no other host has had.
Thus far, the arcs have been quite dark, examining his rough past as a child and his alcoholic father, and seeing the effects this has on him today. His relationship with his girlfriend is far from peachy, but this only adds to his passion once he suits up.
Remender’s pacing and panel layouts are superb, he has a great command of the art form. The pages vary from simple 6-panel layouts to crazy jagged lined full-page spreads. The dialogue and character interactions are realistic, and the odd moments of comic relief balance the book out well. But it’s not the writing alone that makes Venom so great.
Art duties for the series began with Tony Moore but, as per usual, he quickly slipped off the grid and made way for Stefano Caselli. This was a move for the better in my opinion, much like Moore’s departure from The Walking Dead. Caselli’s style isn’t that much different from Moore’s, but he has a great talent to capture the small details. The simple shifts in Venom’s facial features make the reader aware of how in control Flash is at any given time. All is golden when he’s sporting the black army boots and the well-defined eye lines, but once that tongue is unleashed and he subtly flashes those sharp pearly whites, all bets are off.
After the exciting conclusion to the Spider-Island tie-in, this issue will likely be much slower in pace, setting the ground for what’s to come in Flash’s future. So far things have only been hard and grim for our anti-hero, and they only seem to be getting dimmer. Flash should get back on track with his undercover operations this issue, and set the tone for the upcoming arc starting in December with issue 10 (check the preview).
As I said in my COMICS TO FEAST ON this week, Marvel needs to hands over the reins to Remender sometime soon, give him complete control of an event. I guarantee this would lead to anything disappointment. Remender has the ability to take us places nobody else could. A Remender driven event would be utterly different from events like Fear Itself.
Venom one Marvel book you can’t afford to be passing up on, if you are, you need to find a way to make an extra 3 bucks a month to buy this bad boy, sell some lemonade on the street, sell your body, do whatever it takes because you oughta be reading this. Venom is and always has been one of the best villains/anti-heroes, and this new and improved version (blasphemous as it may seem) stands high above other books on the stands. If you’re still not sold, just look at that cover, it’s enough to make even Spidey shoot his gooey wad.