Review: Venom #13 – These four are more fearsome than fantastic

Venom #13
Writer: Rick Remender
Art: Tony Moore and Val Staples [Color]

Still in Vegas after being blackmailed and going A.W.O.L. to steal an item (which turned out to be the Toxin symbiote) for Jack O’Lantern and Crime Master, Flash Thompson has fallen back into his alcoholism to cope and pushing Betty Brant as far away as possible.  After all, the closer she, or anyone else, is to him, the more danger they’re in as a result of the aforementioned villains knowing who he is.

Flash’s bender won’t last long, though.  The Red Hulk, on orders from Captain America, has arrived to collect him.  Unfortunately for both of them, there’s evil–for real–afoot in Vegas thanks to a certain black-hearted entity who wants to bring Hell to Earth.

Blackheart, the son of the devil Mephisto, is masquerading as a casino owner and is intent on tricking the new Ghost Rider, Alejandra, into completing the final step of his plan.  Meanwhile, X-23 has her own issues with Blackheart, who she only believes to be a casino owner who purchased a vial of her blood on the black market.

It’s only natural that all four heroes should converge when the shit hits the fan later in the issue.

Overall, this issue moves at a nice pace.  Rick Remender does a great job of establishing why X-23 and Ghost Rider are in Vegas, as well as giving readers a quick background on who they are.  The student-mentor conflict between Alejandra and former Ghost Rider Johnny Blaze is also very well-executed, as are the Venom/Red Hulk fight panels.

The only thing that kind of made me scratch my head here were the “symbiote warriors”–symbiote-outfitted clones of X-23.  While the idea is very much in line with my inner 8-year-old’s dreams of a Wolverine-bonds-with-the-Venom-symbiote scenario, it all just feels very ’90s now.

Regardless, there’s a certain level of camp there to be appreciated.  Tony Moore and Val Staples capture this with realistic-yet-pulpy art that matches the over-the-top nature of a story like this.

With five more parts coming in the next five weeks, this story has potential to be a fun ride.

STORY: 7.5/10
ART: 8.5/10 

[amazon_link id=”B0072WBA62″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]BUY Venom #13 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.