Writer: Cullen Bunn
Art: Iban Coello, Andres Mossa, and VC’s Clayton Cowles
Release Date: May 22nd, 2019
Frost Giants, a blazing new Jack O’Lantern, Asgardian armor, and anger management issues all in this week’s VENOM #14 by Cullen Bunn. Let’s take a look!
WARNING SPOILERS AHEAD!!!
Cullen Bunn opens the issue catching readers up on dream stones, Dylan being Eddie’s son, Venom’s new symbiote, and the anger he must continue to let loose in order for the suit to work. While Venom narrates and monologues the first 6 pages, as well as practically the entire issue, Jack 0’ Lantern shoots a blast of fire and hits Venom square in his back. After a few quips and a few hellhounds, Jack leads Venom on a chase around the city.
Next, Venom explores his new suit’s abilities and grows as tall as a pair of Frost Giants only to do battle with them. Eddie spears them with his symbiote while Jack comes back to finish the fight. Jack O’Lantern burns up Brock’s symbiote and somehow it remakes itself into this new form resembling Asgardian armor. As the issue ends, Jack takes off flying and raining down fire on the entire city while Eddie begins to rage again.
PACING AND DIRECTION
Bunn spends the first 9 or so pages on recap from the last issue and mildly explores the capabilities of the suit. Readers find out that the dream stone suit is fueled off of his emotions. Therefore, in order for the suit to work, Eddie needs to continue to remember the pain, anger, humiliation, jealousy, and hate that drove him to the suit in the first place.
This reviewer simply questions the direction of the issue. Couldn’t this issue have been shrunk down to about 3 pages of explanation? The story felt like it extended what we learned for last issue and moved at a snail pace forward. Fans got very little new additions and very little direction moving forward. Truthfully, the only new items readers received were that Eddie’s old suit works the same (other than giant-sized growth), Brock received ANOTHER new Asgardian armor look, and that Jack O’Lantern is now lighting up the city with fire. That’s it! No cliffhangers and no bearings moving ahead.
Sure, Bunn is sending readers down this path of wondering who was really in control of the original symbiote. But, did he need to spend 75% of the issue on something that fans may have already wondered prior? Bunn shows Eddie questioning who was corrupting who in this symbiotic relationship but these ideas definitely could have been worked into the story more through interaction than regurgitation directly to readers using narration and heavy monologues.
Bunn’s writing was easy to understand, focused mainly on the internal struggles of Eddie, and definitely had its moments of creativity involving the symbiote. However, the panels were heavy with narration, the story moved slowly with very little progression, and overall Bunn’s story didn’t grab this reviewer’s attention the way the last issue did. Andres Mossa’s art, especially the Asgardian armor, was very impressive but it still wasn’t enough to attract this reader to the issue and catch my eye.
This reviewer left wondering why the suit can grow as tall as a Frost Giant and why Bunn would focus so much on Brock’s new suit still being vulnerable to fire? Is that really important to the story? And, why would Bunn hammer that idea into the issue if only to change Eddie’s suit by the end AGAIN anyway? Bunn should have given readers some of the rules of the new symbiote, shown more of its potential, and amplified its capabilities more than simply “fire bad!”
Overall, this reviewer feels like you could skip this story and get caught up on the recap page of issue 15 and not be any worse for wear. Ultimately, this fan hopes that readers get more action next issue, as well as a focus on moving the story in a direction that ties more into the WAR OF THE REALMS and the old symbiotes involvement within the event itself. This angle from Brock’s perspective is interesting but it feels more like Bunn is just here to play with the toys in the toy box for a bit without messing anything up. If that’s the case, and Bunn’s hands are tied as to what he can write, you can’t blame him for the pacing as well as what he’s allowed to do. However, that stinks for fans that really wanted to see what Bunn was capable of doing with Venom if he was allowed to really let loose. Maybe he’ll get his chance next issue? Readers can only hope.