I love Venom. If you go into my office amidst my Spider-Man collection you will find a symbiote sub-section with over a dozen figures and various collectibles related to Venom. I’m not even going to try and count my Venom t-shirts, but trust me there’s quite a few. When I saw this book in my list I couldn’t help but grin about as wide as Venom himself.
Venom #155 is now in it’s sixth month since returning not only to its original numbering (which started with issue #150) and also to Venom’s original host. Eddie Brock and the symbiote have bonded once more and while the pairing has a familiar feel it seems as if both parties have evolved since they were last together creating a slightly different dynamic.
Eddie is not a revenge driven villain. Instead he is trying to stay off the radar of the heroes of the Marvel Universe and seems to really care for the symbiote and want it to be better, going so far as to take medication derived by Liz Allen’s people at Alchemax to keep the symbiote’s mood under control.
The symbiote has also undergone some changes since it was last bonded to Eddie Brock. It’s time bonded to Flash Thompson have changed it irrevocably. After being cleansed on it’s home world, Klyntar, and getting to be a galactic hero alongside the Guardians of the Galaxy it is no longer a tortured damaged soul. It is questioning morality and attempting to develop it’s own code of ethics. It watches television while Eddie sleeps and uses what it watches as lessons in human morality.
I was a big fan of the Flash Thompson era of Venom and was very disappointed when I first heard that Eddie Brock was going to be returning as Venom’s host. I liked the changes that were made to the character. Seeing Venom as a believable hero and seeing the symbiote itself develop a distinct persona were really refreshing and exciting changes. While Flash may be gone his impact remains as writer Mike Costa managed to keep those elements and also did an amazing job setting up a new status quo for both Eddie Brock, who seems to be getting back into the world of journalism, and the Venom symbiote, who is embarking on a voyage of self discovery.
We not only get the setup of the new status quo, but we get a tease as to the next storyline. It seems that Kraven the Hunter will be returning to New York to hunt a race of dinosaur people living under Manhatten and only Venom can be their Lethal Protector. I swear I did not make that up and I know it sounds crazy, but it’s worth going back a few issues and seeing what that is all about because it looks like it’s going to be one hell of an adventure.
If you look at some of my favorite Spider-Man issues you will notice that a great number of those stories were drawn by a man named Mark Bagley. To me he ranks among the top 5 Spider-Man artists of all time, so to once again see him draw Venom and be part of the new direction for a character who he has an extensive history with is amazing. He was there for such historic and influential stories as Venom: Lethal Protector, Maximum Carnage, and several others. He was even one of the creators of the Carnage symbiote. His take on Venom is even better now. It seems Eddie Brock and the Venom symbiote are not the only ones improving themselves.
We also get a brief recap of Venom’s history from the symbiote’s point of view written by Robbie Thompson. This was a refreshing take on the character’s past told from a perspective we have never really gotten to see before. This was also drawn by Mark Bagley, which was fitting as he was there for a lot of important moments.
This is a great time to jump onboard the Venom train for both new and returning readers and I highly suggest you add Venom to your pull list.
Story: 4.5 stars
Art: 4.5 stars
Overall Rating: 4.5
(W) Mike Costa (A/CA) Mark Bagley