Review: Venom #9

Venom #9
Writer:  Rick Remender
Art:  Stefano Caselli and Frank Martin, Jr.

Venom #9 picks up during the aftermath of “Spider-Island.”  New Yorkers are running through the streets, frightened.  After all, the city just found itself waking up naked after being turned into giant spider creatures.

Flash Thompson, meanwhile, is still trying to absorb his father’s death two issues ago, let alone the citywide catastrophe he just helped solve.  Oh, and that he’s playing host to the Venom symbiote, which has its own ideas of justice and has a habit of turning people into monsters.

It really doesn’t make matters any better that a guy calling himself “the Hijacker” is driving an “impenetrable” tank through the city to rob banks, running over anyone and anything in his way, while the cops literally have their pants down.  Especially not when Flash witnesses him run over an innocent security guard.

But it gets worse.  A lot worse.

This issue has a really dark moment that pushes Flash over the edge, and for a while, he’s totally consumed by the Venom symbiote.  Interestingly enough, he’s drawn closer to the Eddie Brock incarnation of Venom than the Mac Gargan one that has been around for most of the last decade.  The eyes-in-the-middle-of-eyes on the Gargan Venom always kind of bothered me, so this is a welcome change.

Come to think of it, I can’t remember which Venom design they used the last time the symbiote took complete control…

Remender delivers another excellent issue of Venom, making symbiotes more interesting than they’ve been since the early ’90s.  He isn’t afraid to go too dark with the tone of the story, and it really helps that he doesn’t do it just for the sake of seeing how far he can go.  All of this serves a purpose of playing on Flash’s inner turmoil — his sans-symbiote problems as well as the problems he has as a result of the struggle with the alien creature.

Stefano Casseli and Frank Martin, Jr. deliver some of the most beautiful art on this book yet, which is really saying a lot if you’ve seen the previous eight issues.  It pops when it needs to, and the facial expressions and body language deliver exactly what they need to.

It will be interesting to see where this book goes, especially now that Venom has been announced as a member of the Secret Avengers once Remender takes that book over in a few months.

Story:  9/10
Art:  9.5/10 

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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.