Updated: Dec 17, 2019
When Marvel first announced its “Fresh Start” initiative, I was skeptical. It felt like we had been down this same road many times. The decision to bring Eddie Brock back to the forefront in light of his upcoming solo feature film felt a tad on the nose, but rest assured, Venom fans: we are in good hands.
After reading issue #1 of Venom, my fears were immediately put at ease. Donny Cates’ take on the classic character is everything Marvel’s “Fresh Start” should be. It honors what has come before while paving a bold new path forward. Cates has built a reputation for reinvigorating Marvel books like Doctor Strange and Thanos. I’m happy to see him bring that same level of quality to one of Marvel’s most beloved anti-heroes.
Cates and artist Ryan Stegman bullseye the vibe a Venom book should have. We share Eddie’s fear as the Symbiote asserts more and more control over his life, perfectly complimented by Stegman’s eerie moods. We feel his terror at being a passenger in his own life, haunted by the lack of control the Symbiote brings. Cates provides a perfect example of how flawless execution can bring new life to even the most worn of characters.
The back half of the issue features a gorgeous double page spread of a truck being crushed against a stalwart Venom. I won’t spoil the twist, but there are some exciting new revelations that may very well change the way we view the symbiote’s origin. One caption simply reads, “We are feeling much stronger now”. This sums up the book perfectly. Over the past few decades, Venom has had countless ups and downs, but fans can be assured that Cates and Stegman have a clear vision that offers a nuanced, back-to-basics approach.
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