Venom #4 Review
- Published on Tuesday, 05 July 2011 01:00
- Written by Andrenn
- Hits: 1357
Rick Remender's Venom has been on a roll and has quickly stolen the spotlight as one of the best new titles on the shelves. Flash Thompson has proven to be a great Venom and Remender's big exciting Espionage Adventure is tons of fun. Here Remender wraps up his first arc with the brawl everyone has been wanting: A good old fashioned Spidey vs. Venom beat down. Is this a fight to remember or is it without any punch? Let's find out!
Writer: Rick Remender
Artist: Tony Moore
Inks: Danny Miki
Colorist: Jon Rauch
Story Rating: 9 Spider-Pals out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Spider-Pals out of 10
Overall Rating: 8.5 Spider-Pals out of 10
Synopsis: Crime Master is having his men get the Antarctic Vibranium when one of his men, thinking about how great he is, brings him a device Venom left. Crime Master realizes its a bomb and tosses his man off the roof before it destroys him and the Vibranium. Back at HQ, the others realize the symbiote read Mackenzie's mind to find out how to get the bomb out of it.
Back in New York, Spider-Man and Venom start their fight. Spidey thinks Venom kidnapped Betty and starts going psycho to find out where she is, beating Venom around. Flash tries fighting the Symbiote who wants to kill Spider-Man, wants to go save Betty instead. When he is able to get out that Betty is with a Bomb Peter nearly snaps and smashes in Venom's teeth for a second.
Venom tries running to go save Betty but Spidey cuts him off and finally the Symbiote takes full control and smacks Spider-man through a wall. Spider-Man falls into a pharmacy and Venom spots sedative pills. He quickly grabs them and downs hundreds of them to try and take control again. After he tries to leave he tells Spider-Man that Betty is in a warehouse on Valentine Lane but then throws a truck at him. Spidey does not have time to catch it with his webs so he takes the truck head on instead. (and the award for most badass thing of the week goes to: Spider-Man!)
Flash threatens the symbiote that if they don't go save Betty now he will have to find a new host. The symbiote it likes Flash (either that or it realizes that Flash is the first competent person to wear it in years and doesn't want to risk getting stuck with a moron like Gargan again) and they swing off to go save Betty. Flash thinks about how much he realizes he loves Betty and that he needs to save her. But he's too late and the warehouse blows up just as he gets to it. Thinking she's dead he soon sees Spidey swinging away with Betty and its hits Flash that he's the villain here.
After Spider-Man swings away, Flash realizes he left a spider-tracer on him. He keeps it instead of tossing it away just in case so Spidey can keep him in check. Flash then takes full control of the Symbiote again and goes after the Vibranium. Some evil baby talking devil dolls start shooting fire and exploding around him. Venom is able to maneuver around them but soon runs into Jack 'O Lantern.
Venom thinks he's beat, after days of wearing the suit, Kraven, Spider-Man, this is too much for him. Jack goes on about how he's Venom's nemesis now and how happy that makes him that he gets to kill him. Jack gets word from Crime Master that Government soldiers intercepted the Vibranium Jack was supposed to guard. Venom throws the spider-tracer onto Jack's back as he flies off.
Back at the HQ, Flash has the symbiote off and lies to his superior about losing control before and doesn't mention that Crime Master knows his identity now. His superior revealed that even though the Military got the Vibranium that his mission was to destroy it so that nobody would get their hands on it and that the military will not be destroying it. His superior seems to want to end Flash as Venom but Flash is able to convince him to let him continue to be Venom for now.
Back at Betty's apartment, Flash, Betty and Peter talk a little bit about the event. Its clear that Flash has a new found dislike of Spider-Man. After a moment where Betty leaves the room Flash and Peter agree that Betty ended up the middle of something bad as we then see the shadows of their secret identities behind them.
The Good: Venom #4 was an excellent end to Remender's debut arc for the series. Making good on the promise of an awesome super hero brawl and adding more to Flash' character and his new status as Venom than I had ever thought he would. Remender has given us one of the funnest new titles but hasn't skipped out on great character depth while at it.
This issue is packed with awesome action through out. I have praised Remender previously for his ability to write action and with good reason. Remender writes fast paced and incredibly fun action that never ceases to entertain and excite the readers as each issue is an adrenaline ride of fun and over the top that most comics would kill to have. All that plus the action never gets in the way of good storytelling. Remender is one of the best writers today when it comes to great characters and great action.
Spider-Man and Venom is a classic battle for long time Spider-Man fans. Venom knows all of Spidey's moves but knows how to execute them more violently and goes in for the kill when doing so. Add in that Venom has a grudge to settle and Spider-Man is usually on the defensive and whenever these two brawl it makes for an awesome read.
Here, Remender takes a different route with the classic battle. Rather than Spidey on the defensive and Venom on the offensive Venom is just trying to get out of there and Spidey is the aggressor for once. With Spidey acting like a total psychotic, though with good reason. This is not mischaracterization or anything like that. Spidey has always been one you do not want to push over the edge as he can go nuts when he needs to.
The change of pace for the two though was great. Seeing Spidey kick Venom around and seeing Flash struggle to not fight his hero and not let the Symbiote take control perfectly symbolizes what its like having the Symbiote. Incredible power but the constant threat of losing yourself in it which is double-edged sword of being the Symbiote host. Remender shows that struggle perfectly and as Flash finally starts accepting the incredible hate the Symbiote has for Spider-Man so the reader cannot really blame him when Spidey is wailing on him like that.
It is also a great twist to see how the Symbiote is affecting Flash outside of his missions. Lying to superiors just so he can stay with the symbiote and even growing a dislike for Spider-Man despite being, as Betty put it, the head of the Spider-Man fanclub. Seeing the Symbiote change him like that shows that Flash may be a good guy wearing the symbiote but that does not change the symbiotes basic ability to bring out the worst in people.
The brawl with Spider-Man is the bulk of the issue and its an awesome fight. Remender showing Flash and his struggle to regain control along with a Spider-Man, who was going a little nuts as well, was a big highlight for the series so far. However, thankfully Remender does not get lost in the awesome fight and moves on to wrap up the storyline. He makes sure to give us plenty of time for a quick fight with Jack and then wrapping up the current battle with Crime Master. This issue is packed and makes sure it earns that $2.99 per issue.
Remender certainly does not forget to add the insanity with this issue. The baby talk devils was just creepy as all hell. Hearing them say “I Wuv Mwurder” was just eerie. Remender has a talent for adding insanity to a lot of stuff and its clear that Venom will be no exception to that rule as talking evil robot devil babies will probably be the least insane thing he does as the series goes on.
Flash' revelation that he is the villain in this story was a brilliant scene for the finale of the arc. This whole time he's been thinking he's like Spider-Man, his greatest hero. But now he's coming to dislike Spider-Man and realizes that he became the villain when he let the Symbiote take control like that before. Its a downer of a moment but seeing it hit Flash that Spidey is the real hero and he cannot be that was great.
While I doubt Flash will carry this mentality through the series, he is doing good after all and trying to make the world a safer place, that idea will be in the back of his head. Realizing that no matter what he's got a monster inside of him and the Symbiote knows just how to bring it out. This revelation is huge for his character and means he will not easily forget what he is capable of when he loses control should it happen again.
It was a nice touch that Venom was supposed to destroy the Vibranium for a reason. The Colonel being mad because even if the US Military has their hands on it that is not a good thing either. He knows this is a weapon that neither side should have access to in a war. Its a nice twist for the fact that even though they got the Vibranium out of the hands of the bad guys that's not really a good thing.
The highlight of the issue, the absolute best part has to be the ending. With Flash and Peter having a brief clash of words and then the ominous final panel of the two having the shadows of their other identities behind them. That's just chilling and brilliant in so many ways.
First off, it works so well with the two characters because of their past. Peter and Flash started out as enemies and Flash was the biggest villain in Peter's life before he became Spider-Man. Always kicking him when he was down and making him miserable. But as time went on and Flash bettered himself after being inspired by Spider-Man, the man he had once picked on so much in his youth, they became friends and grew close. Now the roles are similar with Flash becoming Peter's villain again but this time neither even realize it.
It also is brilliant when you look at it from Peter's final words about Betty being stuck in the middle of a bad situation. As she sits between the two most important men in her life she has no idea she's sitting between two enemies. She is literally in the middle of something bad as Spider-man is always a danger to those he cares about and Crime Master knows who Venom is and can attack him and Betty at any time.
Both ways you look at it, this is a brilliant final panel and a brilliant way to end the arc. Remender has wrapped things up perfectly for now and though there's still a lot to be done for this series seeing things end on this spot for the debut arc is great.
Tony Moore continues to impress on art. It was sad seeing him off last issue but at least he got to wrap up the first arc before he takes a break again. Moore really kills it during the big fight but even more so the depth he adds to the emotion Venom has through the issue is great. Seeing Venom go from weak and worn down, to angry and pissed off, to looking sad and mournful all look great and Moore really steps up his game with this issue. Rauch on colors is also a perfect fit for Moore.
The Bad: I have no complaints with this issue.
Overall: As Venom wraps up the debut arc I can happily say that Venom is not just one of the best new ongoings out there: It IS the best new ongoing out there. Remender and crew have given us the best new comic from Marvel in a while. The over the top espionage and fun adventures of Venom have made for a fantastic read this issue and have smoothed out most of the bumps this series was having in the previous three issues.
So get this comic and have no hesitation, dear readers. I assure you that Venom has some of the best characters, action and is one of the most fun comics out there right now and is a comic that everyone should be reading. With this issue, Remender has sealed the deal that Venom is a comic that I recommend to everyone.