VENOM #3 written by Donny Cates, pencils by Ryan Stegman, inks by JP Mayer, colors by Frank Martin, and letters by Clayton Cowles creeps onto our shelves with a horrifyingly, bloodcurdling tale that introduces us to a new symbiotic history billions of years in the making.
WARNING: BIG SPOILERS AHEAD
VENOM #3 Spoilers too!
Is there anyone more creative than Donny Cates right now in comics?
This is a legit question. With such recent Marvel titles as Doctor Strange and Thanos, Cates explored some of the craziest possibilities with those characters. Now, he’s doing the very same thing with Venom! He’s taken the idea of the symbiote that’s been a villain, an anti-hero, as well as a hero, and finally given it a backstory billions of years in the making.
Donny Cates opens the issue with Venom standing over Spider-Man (Miles Morales). It appears that the symbiote has once again lost control. Now, take a look above at how Ryan Stegman, JP Mayer, and Frank Martin depict the horror of this issue from the beginning. More specifically, take a look at Spider-Man’s eye. The art is so well done on this page that the reader can see the genuine fear in his one eye shown. That is a fantastic display of terror by this art team.
Don’t Forget the Little Things
After realizing Spider-Man (Miles Morales) has an ability that can free Venom from his crazed symbiote state, the two team up to stop the large symbiote dragon from attacking NYC. This is where Cates, Stegman, Mayer, and Martin excel. The creative team doesn’t forget about the detail. The reader gets thrown in on the ground level with the immense, ancient, symbiote beast. Martin’s dark reds and blacks paint a picture of death, destruction, and hopelessness to the characters, as well as the readers.
Notice the dialogue between Venom and Spider-Man on this page above. Cates also connects his comic to the events happening throughout Marvel currently. Spider-Man talks to Venom about Celestials falling from the sky, which is what’s happening in The Avengers book right now.
Donny Cates shows a real, accurate, and deliberate connection to other Marvel stories in continuity and that can’t be overlooked. This is just another example of the little details Cates brings to his comics that make them so awesome.
Venom drops Spider-Man into the belly of the beast so he can use his Venom blast at full power to blow it up. However, it doesn’t entirely work. The beast explodes open and this scary-looking Vlad the Impaler dude walks out of its mouth carrying the body of Spider-Man. Again, the horrifyingly artistic detail of this new character is truly bloodcurdling. Stegman, Mayer, and Martin depict this new nightmarish villain, who surprisingly appears out of nowhere, masterfully.
Notice the excessive detail to the symbiote surrounding the villain. The symbiote tentacles surrounding the villain are made to look like they’re moving. This is a fantastic job by this art team that has taken a Venom comic and morphed it into a frightening horror comic overnight.
Venom’s Last Stand
With Spider-Man unconscious, Venom takes one last shot out Knull, the alpha symbiote. He even lets the Venom symbiote take full control in a fit of rage. It turns out; the alpha controls all symbiotes. I feel like my “Vlad the Impaler” quip above wasn’t far off. Knull appears to have sort of a vampiric control over the symbiotes. The reader is also lead to believe that Knull was the first symbiote from billions of years ago. Needless to say, Venom never stood a chance. The issue ends with this amazing bone-chilling splash page below.
Should you pick up this issue?
There is no doubt. Be warned. This issue may cause nightmares. The artistic detail and imagination lead by Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman is truly unmatched right now. Pick up this issue and ask your Local Comic Shop to order you issue 1 & 2 while you’re at it.
Should you add this series to your pull?
Absolutely! Just don’t read it before bed. Trust me. If you enjoy out of this world surprises, adventures, fantastically horrifying art, and of course Venom, this series is for you. I haven’t read Venom since the 90’s. I jumped back in because of the amazing things Donny Cates has been doing. Sometimes the writer trumps the character. Trust me, if you like Venom or Cates, you’ll enjoy this book. If you like them both, then watch out!
Well, what did you guys think of VENOM #3? Comment below or hit me up on Twitter @dispatchdcu