Review Double-Shot: Amazing Spider-Man #672 & Venom #8

Amazing Spider-Man #672
Writer:  Dan Slott
Art:  Humberto Ramos, Edgar Delgado, Victor Olazaba & Karl Kesel

Venom #8
Writer:  Rick Remender
Art:  Tom Fowler & John Rauch

When we last saw Flash Thompson in Venom #8, he was at the bedside of his just-deceased father with his blogger-journalist-girlfriend Betty Brant.  The drama of his father’s ailment played out over the past several issues, with Flash wondering why he should care.  After all, his dad was an abusive drunk who, if you think about it, is the cause of Flash being such a douche earlier in life when he was the constant high school tormentor of now-friend Peter Parker.

Anyhow, as Betty hands Flash a letter his father wrote to him in his last lucid moments, he receives a call from good ol’ Uncle Sam letting him know that Venom is needed to kill the Queen (who was revealed several issues of Amazing Spider-Man ago to be the true villain behind Spider-Island).  Flash gives Betty — who of course doesn’t know that her boyfriend is secretly moonlighting for the government as Venom because, hey, he got his legs blown off in the war — the excuse that he needs to run off to find a safe evac point for her.

As Flash goes off to fight the Queen, the contents of the letter are displayed in captions throughout most of the rest of the issue, revealing that the elder Thompson actually regretted his actions as a father and was, indeed, proud of his son.  Unfortunately, the letter will never be read because it falls out of the Venom suit mid-battle and lands in a fire.  Sorry, Flash…Looks like you’ll have to go through life still believing your dad was an alcoholic asshole who never cared about you.  Although it feels like this gets played out often in storytelling, it’s a nice plot device that Remender is wise to use in this situation.

The fight between Venom and Queen shuffles through a lot of dominance double-entendres until eventually, the now-cured Captain America (remember, he was the Spider-King for a bit) shows up to aid Venom and remind the Queen that there are laws against public fornication in the city of New York.

This leads us right into the beginning of Amazing Spider-Man #672.  Part of the brilliance of how this event has been set up is that you don’t have to read every tie-in to get it.  If you aren’t following Venom, the opening pages of ASM essentially recap the last moments of Venom and Cap’s fight with the Queen before she mutates into a giant spider beast (complete with weird, random boobs!).

Fade to Peter Parker and his clone, Kaine — who he cured in the last issue — still in Horizon Labs as they hear people approaching, namely Mr. Fantastic and Pete’s Horizon Labs coworkers.  Pete takes off the Spidey suit and gives it to Kaine because the scruffier clone of Peter Parker is just going to be confusing to everyone.  There’s some great back-and-forth between Pete, Kaine and the rest of the supporting cast as they round the corner to find Pete standing next to Spider-Man, as Mr. Fantastic, the Avengers and Mary Jane are the only ones who know he’s Spider-Man.

After this issue, and pending any random surprises, I think it’s safe to say everyone has a good idea of who the new Scarlet Spider is going to be.  Of course, putting Kaine in a Spidey outfit and having him run off to save the day with Pete would also be a good way to confuse readers.

As Peter, Kaine and several Marvel heroes try to stop the now-giant-spider-creature-with-weird-boobs Queen, Mary Jane says something to Peter that leads to him realizing how to save everyone.  Essentially, being in mental control of all the spider monsters she’s created from the entire population of Manhattan Island has made the Queen a god, so if Spider-Man somehow cures them all, she becomes much less powerful.

I won’t spoil anything any further, but it’s really quite ingenious of Dan Slott to keep pulling up random plot points from past issues.  It really gives the book a feeling of consistency.  He deserves even more praise for continuing to throw fuel the “Restore the Peter/MJ Romance” fires.  (Seriously…Pete forgot entirely about current girlfriend Carlie Cooper after she turned into a spider monster, and instead of going off to find her after he cures everyone, he has a moment with Mary Jane on top of the Empire State Building.)  He’s building up some good potential conflicts and drama here.

If anything, the only thing that really jumbled this story up was the overall amount of characters.  With so much going on at one time, it sometimes makes things a bit jumbled and harder to follow.  Venom flowed a bit better this issue because its felt more focused, but this is not unexpected in an event storyline, where you have a macro-focused main book and micro-focused tie-ins.

Ramos’ work continues to pop, as well, and that’s equally due to the fantastic coloring of Edgar Delgado.  The same can be said for the Fowler/Rauch team over in Venom.

All that considered, I’ll be surprised if there isn’t some sort of heated debate on message boards about the sex references by Slott and Remender in both books, as well as the boobs on the giant spider-creature version of the Queen.  While the spider-creature boobs did weird me out a bit, the sex references advanced the story and added character depth.  Both of these books carry at least a “T” rating, and there is the entire Marvel Adventures line if you can’t handle that.

Amazing Spider-Man #672
Story:  8.5/10
Art:  9/10

Venom #8
Story:  9/10
Art:  9/10 

[amazon_link id=”B005Y1ZJXI” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]BUY Amazing Spider-Man #672 on Amazon[/amazon_link]

[amazon_link id=”B005YF72NO” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]BUY Venom #8 on Amazon[/amazon_link]

Roger Riddell
Roger Riddell
Essentially Peter Parker with all the charm of Wolverine, he's a DC-based B2B journalist who occasionally writes about music and pop culture in his free time. His love for comics, metal, and videogames has also landed him gigs writing for the A.V. Club, Comic Book Resources, and Louisville Magazine. Keep him away from the whiskey, and don't ask him how much he hates the Spider-Man movies unless you're ready to hear about his overarching plot for a six-film series that would put the Dark Knight trilogy to shame.