This week in the Marvel Rundown, we look at the continuing exploits of everybody’s favorite brain eating alien in Venom #7. Does he eat brains anymore? I don’t think so, but we’ll find out in this issue!
Plus, we’ve got the Rapid Rundown, where we’ll dive into Captain Carter #2 and Elektra #100 below the break!
Writer: Ram V
Penciler: Bryan Hitch
Inker: Andrew Currie
Color Artist: Alex Sinclair
Letterer and Production: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Cover Artists: Bryan Hitch & Alex Sinclair
It’s safe to say we’re living in a Venom-aissance age with how great Venom and symbiote content in general has been of late. Although Venom: Let There Be Carnage was (unjustly) snubbed at the Oscars this year, symbiote shenanigans have reached new heights within the past few years. With the explosive game changer that was Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman’s run on Venom ending last year, Ram V, Al Ewing, and Bryan Hitch have picked up the reins for both Venom and Carnage, bringing a more horrifying focus to both titles.
This week’s issue of Venom, by V and Hitch, is the second part of a storyline where Dylan Brock (son of Eddie and the new host for the Venom symbiote) and Sleeper (one of the many spawn of Venom) are on the run in a small town, following the disappearance of Eddie. Meridius, a mysterious alien from the future, has sent monstrous symbiote Bedlam after the trio in order to push along the evolution of the Venom symbiote.
V (who has some news at the Distinguished Competition today) has done a great job establishing Dylan, Venom, and Sleeper’s dynamic here, with Venom as a sort of stand-in for Dylan’s father and Sleeper as the cool, older sibling type. The group bounces well off of each other. When they’re ambushed by Bedlam in this issue, Venom and Bedlam’s conversation feels dramatic, while still being menacing and grotesque. This might just be me, but it doesn’t help that I hear Tom Hardy’s Venom voice in my head every time I hear the symbiote talk.
The work of Hitch, Andrew Currie, and Alex Sinclair is absolutely cinematic here. The shots are framed in a way that makes everything feel like it has weight to it, almost like stills from an actual movie. Sinclair’s colors, while modern, give the issue (and the series as a whole) a palette that screams a combination of 70s thriller and 80s action movie. There’s a real sense of grit, grime, and age in the town Dylan and co. are stationed out in, and while that’s absolutely meant to be implied by the setting, the art does a superb job of actually showing us that. Clayton Cowles, of course, brings it all home with some of the best lettering and effects in the business.
There’s a fight in this issue between Jake, a bar owner who is giving refuge to Dylan, and Len, a gang leader who wants to assert his dominance over the town Dylan is hiding in, that feels somewhat off to me. It’s rendered gorgeously, though the payoff reads a bit too fast. We get these moments of their confrontation sprinkled throughout the issue, and we’re meant to want Jake to win here, but for a character we only met in the previous issue, the scenes don’t successfully build him up enough to make the reader super sympathetic to his situation.
I recently read an interview with V and Ewing on SKTCHD about how they look back on everything and see each issue as a small unit of a larger whole, and that’s definitely the case here. It’s somewhat decompressed — which isn’t a bad thing, since we get more time with the characters — but the plot feels like it’s moving along a bit slowly. Don’t get me wrong: this is a great series. However, I think that it’s going to read much better all at once, rather than in the little snippets of story we’re seeing here. It works on its own as a single issue, but when it’s all together, I think it will feel much more cohesive.
Regardless of all of my little critiques, I still think that this is an excellent series worth picking up. V, Ewing, and Hitch are laying down the foundations for a long epic, both in this book and in Carnage. Every single one of these issues has ended with some sort of earth shattering revelation for the future of Venom, and I don’t think anyone is going to want to miss out. There’s a great, big, symbiote world to explore out there and I am ecstatic to see where we wind up next.
Final Verdict: BUY
- Captain Carter #2
- After a recap page filled with newspaper headlines that quickly catch the reader up to speed, Captain Carter #2 by Jamie McKelvie, Marika Cresta, Erick Arciniega, and Clayton Cowles, Carter’s unique position as a woman out of time allows her the perspective to see how history is rewritten by the victors… even when the historical figures are unwilling participants. While the 2018 Exiles run in which she made her Marvel Comics debut hews closer to her appearance on-screen in the animated Disney+ series What If…?, her first self-titled run sees her better understanding what it means to be used as a tool for imperialist propaganda. Not bad for a protagonist who started her life as a character in the Marvel Puzzle Quest app! And as an aside, does “Top Coffee” imply the existence of “Bottom Coffee”? —AJK
- Elektra #100
- Elektra #100 is an anthology celebration of the centennial celebration of the character’s 100th cover? Well, it’s the centennial celebration of something of Elektra, but the best part of this issue is Typhoid Mary in Elektra #100’s main story “Twister” by Ann Nocenti, Sid Kotian, Edgar Delgado, and Clayton Cowles. Nocenti once said, “I think I wanted to shatter the female stereotypes – virgin, whore, bitch, ditz, feminist, girl scout, all-suffering mother, et al. – into tiny fragments and yet keep all the pieces in the same little female bundle,” and that woman-festo is certainly explored in “Twister” as Elektra digs into Typhoid’s traumatic past in “Twister.” In contrast to the seriousness of the first story, Elektra #100 ends with Ty Templeton’s incredibly meta-story from the pages of The Daily Bugle presents “Ninja Super Stories: Featuring ‘Fantastic Reader’ Richards” and strips like “Matty and Stick.” Rounding out the issue is “Waltz” by Declan Shalvey, Stefano Raffaele, and Rachelle Rosenberg and “Mini Marvels” by Chris Giarrusso. —ROK
Next week: Deadpool returns in Wolverine #20 and Sam and Steve split the shield in Captain America #0.