Writer: Al Ewing
Artist: Bryan Hitch
Color Artist: Alex Sinclair
Inker: Andrew Currie
Cover Artists: Bryan Hitch & Alex Sinclair
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Eddie Brock is dead! The King In Black is dead! Or so it seems. From the beginning, a shadowy presence has been shadowing Venom and its hosts, Eddie and Dylan Brock. Once Eddie “died”, he re-emerged in an alien world greeted by the mysterious figure called Meridius. Who is Meridius, what is he, and what does he want? Venom #5 brings readers some answers to their questions.
So, in my previous review I’ve said that this series is riding on how well Meridius is as a character. Well, the synopsis doesn’t lie – Al Ewing answers some questions but raises far more in the process with little explanation. Discussing most of it will be involve spoilers, so we’ll get into that in the Spoilers section. Essentially, Venom #5 has Al Ewing take over writing in place of Ram V to continue Eddie Brock’s story. Sort of.
Eddie Brock is basically a tag-along in the comic. The comic does pick up where it left off with Eddie meeting Meridius in his “Garden”. However, Eddie doesn’t really do much here except ask obvious questions, some of which get answers and others that don’t. He does get to see some action, but that doesn’t last very long. Eddie Brock serves as the audience’s stand-in here as we’re being guided by Meridius through parts of the book, but it’s less Eddie Brock’s story and more Meridius’ story.
See, this issue is really about showcasing Meridius as the main point-of-view character, not Eddie Brock. We get more of an exploration of Meridius; his personality, the scope of his plans, and how he’s been involved in the story since the first issue. But you don’t get the ‘why’ of it all. Meridius comes off as a supercilious and sinister individual who sees all other lifeforms as primitives and bottom feeders beneath him, but he’s smart enough not to say that out loud. This issue really gives him a solid voice and establishes him as the mastermind behind everything in the series so far. But like I said, this comic doesn’t really answer all of the readers’ big questions when it comes to Meridius, which is both good and bad. Again, will get into this in the Spoilers section.
The comic art looks great here thanks to Bryan Hitch’s illustrations and Alex Sinclair’s colors. Since he’s the star of this comic, Meridius tends to look good all throughout the book as does Eddie Brock and the rest of the characters. I’ll get to them in Spoilers. The alien environment of Meridius’ Garden looks good but it’s nothing too memorable other than it serves as a good colorful contrast to the darker colored symbiote characters. Speaking of which.
So, this comic is really just Meridius showing Eddie around the Garden of Time, and that’s pretty much it. There’s no real plot here, but the biggest surprise is that the other 4 symbiote characters in the book are “Kings In Black” like Eddie Brock and Knull. Even Meridius is one too. But like plenty of things in this issue, Al Ewing doesn’t reveal how that’s possible or what that really means for Eddie and the main series.
Al Ewing has been Marvel Comics’ cosmic man, if you will. He takes almost every chance to explore Marvel’s cosmic landscape in any capacity possible. Like his S.W.O.R.D. series, both of his Ultimates series, The Immortal Hulk, and others. But sometimes he takes it too far and his ideas take over the comic in place of the plot, losing readers in the process. If Ewing’s not careful, that could be what happens here as he explores this idea of multiple “Kings in Black” with Eddie, the other kings, and Meridius.
Venom #5 picks up where it left off with Eddie Brock meeting the enigmatic Meridius. This issue is more about Meridius than Eddie, who’s more of a tag-along in this comic. The artwork in the comic is great, it’s written well, but the comic raises more questions than it answers. By the end, you get a feel for Meridius in terms of his personality, powers, and the danger he poses to the Brocks and the Venom symbiote.