Writer: Donny Cates
Art: Iban Coello, Jesus Aburtov, and VC’s Clayton Cowles
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Release Date: April 7th, 2021
Dylan Brock is using his newfound abilities alongside THOR to free all the Marvel Heroes from Knull’s clutches. And for a time, it appeared as though it was working. Meanwhile, Rex, Eddie Brock, and Flash Thompson find their souls trapped in some type of Symbiote Purgatory. However, as Dylan and THOR were inflicting damage to Knull, cracks in this Symbiote Purgatory began to break down allowing Eddie and his crew to step through into the actual Hive Mind of Knull.
Inside the Hive, they found a plethora of caged symbiotes that seemed to have their connection with Knull severed. So, Flash and Eddie developed a plan that involved Agent Venom freeing the caged symbiotes to battle Knull while Eddie located his Symbiote to escape and help THOR and Dylan destroy this God of Darkness. Nevertheless, while Flash blew the cages to Kingdom Come, Agent Venom managed to bond with every last caged Symbiote. Still, as things appeared to be going their way, Eddie turned around to find Rex gone and Knull choking him out! Let’s dive into VENOM #34 by Donny Cates to see if Eddie and the newly formed Agent Venom Dragon can find a way to escape this Hive and take down the God of the Symbiotes.
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READ THIS ISSUE BEFORE KING IN BLACK #5
First, you must read this issue before KING IN BLACK #5. The end of this event will simply make a bit more sense read in this order. Second, very little happens in this issue. It’s as if the entire issue takes about one “real” minute of time. That said, VENOM #34 will only take readers about ten actual minutes to explore. Readers, it’s extremely fast-paced, however, it’s not action-packed. Ultimately, what makes this issue of VENOM a bit disappointing is that it can be summarized with two key moments involving Flash and Eddie.
Someone could merely state to you what those are, summarize what happens in one small sentence, and you wouldn’t need to read the issue. Plus, very little happens with the apex conclusion of VENOM #33. Readers get an epic Agent Venom dragon that does… nothing this issue. As a Comic fan, one of the most disappointing aspects of a story is when a creative team leaves a cliffhanger that never/ barely is used or referenced in the next issue. Well, get ready for that in this week’s installment Flash Thompson fans.
Iban Coello does a fantastic job ushering in the darkness before the light. And, when the light finally enters the story, Jesus Aburtov pushes forth some of the brightest contrasting ambient images I’ve seen in comics for quite some time. That said, some of the panel progressions were a bit confusing. At one point, I thought Eddie crossed back over from the Hive Mind into the real world but alas that assumption was premature. Plus, once the symbiote and Eddie reconnected to form VENOM, you’ll notice his chest glowing with light. Therefore, my assumption as according to the illustrations was that the moment VENOM rejoined was the moment the Enigma Force struck Eddie’s body in the real world. However, that’s not the case because four pages later a beam of light smacks into Eddie re-separating him from his symbiote. Needless to say, clarity was a problem with this issue.
Why did we need to see Eddie fall again? Not once again but twice IN THIS ISSUE. There was already an issue with him falling to his death. Was it meant to be symbolic? Has the character fallen three times in his tragic career that Cates is trying to parallel? It just seemed too much like that same repeated embarrassing story your dad always tells when you bring your longtime girlfriend over to meet your parents.
And, why did Eddie need to rejoin with his symbiote only to have it ripped away again by the Enigma Force… only to have him (obviously) retake that same VENOM form later in the final issue of KING IN BLACK? Again, this issue seemed repetitive to what had already transpired since this event began causing this reviewer to wonder about its purpose. And finally, what happened to Rex? Why put him back in the story for him to not be referenced again?
The monologuing is a bit too much and frankly sounded like whining at times. The story was merely watching Eddie fall again (twice in this issue alone) and an over dramatization of the would-be “hero” finding his footing before the main event. However, Eddie did NOTHING! His symbiote found him. The Enigma Force found him. Heck, Eddie couldn’t even tell Flash how to get his physical form back. He references Cletus Kassidy and tells him to “Go find out.” Really?!?! Readers, Cates is trying to make Eddie Brock a savior. However, a “savior” needs to do something for himself at some point. Whether it’s his symbiote, The Enigma Force, his own son Dylan, or even Flash Thompson, everyone else is always there as a crutch for Eddie. For him to be the “hero”, he needs to do something… right?
It feels like Cates is trying to paint this picture of a down-and-out hero that overcomes all obstacles, yet, it’s never him that overcomes. It’s always someone or something else. Readers, I’m at a loss. I know what Cates is “trying” to do and how he’s “trying” to make me feel. However, it’s so forced down my throat I find myself struggling to accept the narrative. And ultimately, this entire issue of VENOM can be summarized in one sentence and skipped right over. Was this issue merely filler to get us to 200 on the button? It seems that way. Let me know what you think, have a great week, and God bless.