Writer: Al Ewing
Artists: Cafu & Pere Pérez
Color Artist: Frank D’Armata
Cover Artists: Bryan Hitch & Alex Sinclair
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Eddie Brock has been through a lot. But now he’s getting himself back together and is getting back into the groove of things as he returns to Earth, in his present time, in his body with a few changes. But he’s not sightseeing. Before Eddie can save his son and the Venom Symbiote, he needs to settle his business with Bedlam. See how this showdown unfolds in Venom #21.
Now, the title may be a bit cheeky and on the nose, but it ain’t lying. The fighting really does start on the second page onward. This comic doesn’t waste anytime getting right to what we’re all here for: Eddie Brock vs. Bedlam. And thanks to Cafu’s art with Pere Pérez, it all looks great. There will be brief SPOILERS throughout the review. Let’s get right to it.
The comic picks up with Eddie confronting Bedlam in the small town as he tells him that the only way he’s getting out of town is in chains and Bedlam ain’t having it. And just like that, the fight starts and the art even has a little countdown to right when it starts with each descending panel. And right there we see the beginnings of the brutal brawl between Eddie and Bedlam.
The fight between them is everything that it should be: bloody, brutal, and a lot of blood, guts, gore, and weaponized body horror that only Symbiotes can do. The writing is on point as Al Ewing nails the characterization of Eddie and Bedlam, particularly their fight banter as Bedlam delivers some good lines that contrast with his blunt and brutal attacks that leave Brock all the more messier while Eddie is more of a go for the kill kind of guy in this fight and he employs a little more creativity. Cafu’s art does a lot of the heavy lifting in making this comic so enjoyable from start to finish.
But back to the writing, it’s a major point to bring up because normally Al Ewing’s issues in this Venom run tend to be too verbose and hung up on explaining the cosmic babble of the abstract elements he tries to cram into Eddie’s stories. But like his tie-in issue to the weird Dark Web event, it seems like Ewing just shifts gears when he writes something that’s more tangible in not only the pacing but the dialogue and fight banter. Granted, it’s not groundbreaking writing and the dialogue may sound a bit campy with some of the lines, but they’re delivered well and they fit the Venom title, let alone the character in general. Al Ewing does get to mix it up a little when Eddie takes the fight cerebral and fights Bedlam in their shared mindspace. It’s here where the writing where the abstract and tangible styles of Al Ewing’s writing merge together as it’s a battle of the wills and the writing and art get to go hand in hand in that portion of the comic.
It also helps that he worked with Cafu in that issue and is working with him again for these latest issues. Hopefully this style of writing keeps up in future issues with Eddie Brock by Al Ewing. And yes, we do get to see that new Venom suit in the issue but not for long. Thankfully it does look good and I hope we get to see it in action with Cafu’s art.
Venom #21 kicks off the bloody brawl between Eddie Brock and Bedlam as he seeks to settle the score with the crimson monster. One good thing about this comic is that it doesn’t waste any time getting straight to the fight as we see Eddie face Bedlam in the physical and mental realms. The fight is well illustrated thanks to Cafu’s art, it’s violent, bloody, and creative, and the writing and dialogue is on point with the fight banter between Eddie and Bedlam and the background characters too. Overall, a good issue and hopefully the next issue keeps it up.