Venom #11 Changes The Character Forever, Again!

by Tony Thornley

Every issue of Venom has been an interesting exercise in “What are they going to do next?!” since the series relaunched last May. The best part about that though is that instead of fatiguing readers, it’s actually added an air of tension and excitement.

Donny Cates, Ryan Stegman, JP Mayer, Joshua Cassara, Frank Martin and Clayton Cowles give us this latest chapter in this roller coaster ride. This issue does for Eddie Brock what the first arc of the series did for his symbiotic other, and it’s just as exciting.

The symbiote has cocooned Eddie and is diving deep into his mind. Eddie is horrified to realize that his memories have been altered by the symbiote to keep him from pulling away from it. Why? Because his younger brother Dylan is not what he thinks he is.

At the end of this issue, I realized what Cates has been doing this run, and it’s a fantastic plan. In the past, Venom in his solo stories has been little more than Spider-Man who murders sometimes, but here Cates is consciously turning both Eddie Brock and Venom into something much deeper. In the first arc, he crafted an mythology around the symbiote, while in this arc its been about Eddie Brock the person.

I’ve said in past reviews that I wasn’t a fan of Venom before this series, and this is why I’ve enjoyed the series so much. It’s not perfect, but it’s done more to flesh out Venom and Eddie Brock than any comic that really came before. The characters here are real, fleshed out, and whole. It’s what the character has needed for their entire history.

Cassara, Stegman, and Mayer do a great job on the line art. Cassara handles the scenes in Eddie’s head, which are full of emotional character work alongside disorienting layouts that convey how Eddie is feeling perfect. Stegman’s pages are a horror story, using camera angles and payouts to full advantage, both with Eddie getting dissected by the Maker and Dylan being pursued through the hospital. With Mayer’s dark inks and Martin’s moody colors, it comes together as probably the best looking issue of the series so far.

This should be a must read for anyone who likes the dark side of the Marvel Universe. It’s a great deconstruction of this character, and a much needed one at that.

Venom #11 is available now from Marvel Comics.

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