Writers: Donny Cates and Phillip Kennedy Johnson
Art: Ryan Stegman, Kev Walker, Danilo Beyruth, Ron Lim, Guiu Vilanova, Gerardo Sandoval, Victor Nava, John Dell, Frank Martin, Chris O’Halloran, Jim Campbell, Matt Mills, Alex Sinclair, Chris Sotomayor, Scott Hanna, Richard Isanove, VC’s Clayton Cowles, and JP Mayer
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Release Date: June 16th, 2021
The astonishing 200th issue has finally arrived! After the events of the KING IN BLACK, where does that leave Eddie Brock? And frankly, where does that leave Earth? Furthermore, what happened to Flash Thompson? Let’s dive into this extra-sized VENOM #35 by Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman to see what remains of our Lethal Protector as one run comes to an end and another one begins.
THE FINAL CHAPTER
Cates’ run comes to an end with a summary of what’s happened so far, what’s been cultivated in these last 40 plus issues, events, and tie-ins, AND has laid the groundwork for what’s to come. Before VENOM #35 wraps, the intriguing aspect of the comic is that Cates has formed a foundation for Eddie, Dylan, Flash, and the Symbiotes moving forward. He answers questions that were dangling plot threads as KING IN BLACK came to a close, and leaves the series in a place where someone can easily take the reigns. However, the question is; do you like where Cates has left VENOM?
It was stated numerous times and explained that Eddie is basically Omnipresent. Really? Street level, Spider-Man swinging’, Symbiote ooze-wearing Eddie Brock is practically a god that lives in a small apartment in New York. And, the AVENGERS don’t see this as a threat at all knowing his checkered past? Spider-Man is even fine with this? Really? Am I the only one who finds this character transformation a bit of a reach? My goodness!
Lastly, the setup for the future (minor spoilers ahead) is that the Maker (THE ULTIMATE Universe’s Reed Richards) is the villain moving forward. Now, he did kind of fade away into the nothingness of the KING IN BLACK event. Plus, many were probably wondering what happened to him. However, he’s the next big bad that even the Omnipresent Eddie Brock can’t stop alone. Really? So, he’s the villain in which he needs the AVENGERS, the GOTG, essentially the X-MEN, and the SILVER SURFER to help stop? Is the Council of Reeds set up as the new villains moving forward? I’m certainly fascinated and thrilled with this idea. Yet, this seems more like an outstanding FANTASTIC FOUR story and not a VENOM story. Side note: this is the second Jonathan Hickman idea to resurface this week. Check out my PLANET-SIZE X-MEN #1 Review to find out what I mean.
Overall, my excitement for VENOM #35 comes more in the passing of the torch onto a new direction and writer. My enthusiasm is more towards the conclusion and wrap-up of loose ends than it is in a culmination of a run. Sometimes, Cates’ ideas become too big and too complex for him to handle. Therefore, with too many moving pieces, the stories become a bit too convoluted and filled with far-reaching ideas that just don’t make sense. Ultimately, VENOM just got away from him before it was all said and done. Now, my hope is we can bring this story back down to Earth for a bit and see where it goes from here. I truly do appreciate Cates’s ambition and creativity. However, I’m extremely hopeful and pumped to move past Omnipresent Eddie, Kid VENOM, or any other funky directions Cates has passed onward.
Since there are easily a dozen artists on VENOM #35, my focus won’t be on specific individuals but the overall issue. Here is what I noticed. Eddie looks old as dirt. Look no further than the past Presidents of the United States to see how they aged after office to notice what stress can do to a person. Yet, Eddie looks like a grizzled Grandpa. That seems a bit extreme. Nevertheless, as a whole, the illustrations continued to jive with how the series has unfolded throughout its entire run.
Yet, there is a moment in the issue where it jumps to Flash Thompson on a two-page splash in his costume standing against a Guardsmen only to jump back into the story where Flash doesn’t seem to recognize or understand who they are outside of his costume. It’s as if the splash page was placed in the wrong location. Still, even with some small minor kinks in the armor this week, the best aspect of this issue was the art surrounding the fight scene with Dylan Brock at school. The illustrations were laid out with thorough, gruesome detail. Readers will get a graphic play-by-play that’s dark, twisted, and simply brilliant. Truthfully, from that moment to the end of the issue, that’s where this VENOM #35 shines!
If you loved Cates’ VENOM, this issue is totally for you. It’s the epilogue of epilogues! Cates does a fantastic job tying up loose ends and leaving the series in a stable position for the next creative team. He takes the time to punch out the last-minute hanging chads and display possible new heroes and villains for the next creative team to focus on if they choose to do so.
Nevertheless, if you’ve grown stale to Cates’ VENOM, you may be thinking about skipping this issue. However, I suggest reading it. Why? It’s the perfect issue to summarize what you’ve missed and to see where Eddie and VENOM are at whether you agree with it or not. As much as I haven’t been a huge fan of his run since VENOM ISLAND, I still think this issue is a must-read for the status quo of VENOM moving forward. Let me know what you think, have a great week, and God bless!