Writer: Ram V
Artist: Bryan Hitch
Color Artist: Alex Sinclair
Inker: Andrew Currie
Cover Artists: Bryan Hitch & Alex Sinclair
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Eddie Brock is gone. But Venom still lives through the symbiote and his son Dylan Brock. On the run, Dylan discovers a secret conspiracy with Venom and the symbiotes in the center. But Dylan is in a bit of bind as he ends up trusting the wrong person, leading to his capture by Alchemax. The Venom symbiote is out to rescue him but has to deal with the revived Life Foundation in Venom #4.
So, Dylan and Sleeper have been captured by Alchemax while the Venom symbiote is on its way to rescue but has to deal with the Life Foundation’s enforcer – Spearhead. Three things this comic has going for it: the mystery, the artwork, and the steady plot progression. The battle between the Venom symbiote and Spearhead isn’t that engaging or long, and it only establishes him as a new threat but nothing too exciting really happens. But the art from start to finish is great to look at thanks to Bryan Hitch and Alex Sinclair’s colors. Thankfully, the story does progress as everything converges together from Venom’s initial fight to the end of the comic.
One thing about this series that’s rubbed me the wrong way is how regressive it is with the main trio (Eddie, Dylan, and the Venom symbiote). See, coming out of Venom #200 from Donny Cates, they all had some emotional tension but not as big as how this series depicts them. For example, the rule of Dylan not bonding with the Venom symbiote makes no sense since Venom #200 ends with Eddie approving of Dylan becoming Venom. Or, the Venom symbiote questioning why it’s even worried about Dylan when Venom #200 establishes they have a familial bond and it would do anything to protect him.
If anything, its internal dialogue boxes should read more like the lethal protector it is who’s worried about Dylan and wants to make whoever took him pay. Thankfully, the comic does provide an emotional and touching moment for the characters in its own weird way. Dylan does get some slow emotional development with Eddie and the Venom symbiote, which is hinted to be a sign of new things to come for these characters and the title.
Now, let’s deal with the elephant in the room: Liz Allan. The big reveal last issue was that she and Alchemax are trying to forcibly get samples from Dylan, which is beyond stupid. This is by far the weakest element of the book. Why? Because Liz Allan is one of those characters who should know better by now. She should know better than to kidnap the son of Eddie Brock, aka Venom, who is also friends with Spider-Man, who is also friends with other high-profile superheroes.
Not to mention, there was an easier way she could’ve done this. Liz could’ve just asked Dylan to come in for testing at Alchemax, after Eddie was “killed,” offering to let him stay with her and Normie for the time being. Then Dylan and Sleeper could’ve stumbled upon Alchemax testing on symbiotes, and the chaos can unfold from there. But this isn’t on the character, rather on the writer Ram V and possibly Al Ewing. Going by the end of this issue, Liz Allan is in for a rude awakening from Venom. However, her part of the story also relies on another element in play, which is a big Spoiler.
Now, let’s dig into the new element in play here: Meridius. Like I said before, the overarching plot hinges on how well Ram V and Al Ewing pull off Meridius. This issue establishes that he’s the evil mastermind who set this all into motion. He brought back Carlton Drake, head of the Life Foundation. He’s the one who convinced Liz Allan to kidnap and extract samples from Dylan. And, Meridius is the one who unleashes that huge, crimson-red symbiote creature called Bedlam we got a preview of in Venom #1.
Overall, this series so far is banking on the mystery of Meridius to carry this plot forward. Everything about him screams new big villain, from his symbiote form to his polite yet menacing dialogue, and his mysterious powers, motives, and goals. Hopefully Ram V and Al Ewing can pull through with this character, and Meridius ends up being a welcome addition to Marvel Comics instead of another disposable alien villain.
Venom #4 continues the story with Dylan captured and the Venom symbiote racing to the rescue while dealing with the Life Foundation. Some character decisions make more sense than others here, and the action between the Venom symbiote and Spearhead is fine but not fun. However, it all comes together and the ending shows that pieces of a bigger plot are moving into place, which may lead to something interesting in the next issue.