Review: Venom #12, Venom in Vegas!

Venom #8
Writer: Rick Remender
Art: Lan Medina [Pencils], Nelson Decastro [Inks] and Marte Gracia with John Rauch [Colors]

The road trip that Rick Remender has had Flash Thompson on with his arch-nemesis Jack O’Lantern for the past few months has come to an end as the two reach Las Vegas.  Thompson (aka Venom) is about to intercept the item that he was blackmailed by Crime Master and Jack O’Lantern into retrieving.

Only, the item isn’t just any weapon — it’s the symbiote Toxin.

Toxin is the “offspring” of the Carnage symbiote, which bonded to a New York police officer, Patrick Mulligan, who became a superhero crime fighter — drawing the ire of both the Venom and Carnage symbiotes.  That’s not to say the Toxin symbiote didn’t still have murderous rages.  It just suppressed them.

As to how the symbiote ended up detached from Mulligan and stored in Vegas, I missed that story somewhere along the line.

The important thing to know here is that its presence sends the Venom symbiote into a rage, causing it to take full control of Flash and go on a rampage through Sin City trying to kill it and Jack O’Lantern — who grabs it from Venom.  Lantern eventually breaks through to Flash by telling him how he’ll find his girlfriend and cut out her brains if he doesn’t get the symbiote under control, and then leaves Flash alone in Vegas to fall into his old habits.

Little does Flash know, the Red Hulk is still on his trail and the two are about to collide with X-23 and Ghost Rider in next month’s ‘Circle of Four.’

Overall, this story has been a nice lead-in to ‘Circle of Four’ without feeling like a lead-in story at all.  Well, until this issue, anyways.  After seeing what Rick Remender has done with Jack O’Lantern as far as making him an interesting villain, I’m excited to see what he can do with a D-List symbiote character like Toxin.

The art remains solid, especially the panels with glimpses of Jack O’Lantern’s charred, disfigured face.  At one point, Venom even has two additional mouths on each side of his neck — which was weird and something I’ve never seen before, but I’ll take it.

STORY: 8/10
ART: 8/10 

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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.

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