Review: Praying To The Right Gods With ‘Venom #23’

by Josh Davison

Mild Spoilers Ahead
Eddie Brock just cut off his own hand to stop the remnants of Carnage from taking over. He’s barely conscious but needs to focus if he’s going to stop the bleeding and survive. He has a plan, but it requires a mountain climb. Meanwhile in New York, the Seeker has discovered that Dylan Brock has been keeping a piece of the Grendel, Knull’s dragon symbiote recently wielded by Carnage. Seeker knows that this is a bad idea, but Dylan insists that he knows what he’s doing. Dylan wants to use the Grendel piece to locate Knull.

Venom #23 cover by Mark Bagley, Andy Owens, and Jason Keith
Venom #23 cover by Mark Bagley, Andy Owens, and Jason Keith

Venom #23 is another intense and pulse-pounding chapter of “Venom Island.” Eddie has gone to desperate lengths to prevent Carnage from getting a hold of him and Dylan has taken a massive gamble to get an edge on Knull.
Donny Cates continues to show his keen ability to provide twist after twist and shock after shock in Venom. Eddie has mutilated himself to keep Carnage and Knull from winning, but it may have just killed himself and the Venom symbiote in the process. Dylan’s keeping of the Grendel is an on-the-surface terrible idea that could still give him and Eddie an edge over the coming god. Both actions show new depths of the respective character and how seriously they’re treating the threats they face.
The ending provides another twist, though its proposed consequences do seem a bit hard to buy.
Venom #23 art by Mark Bagley, Andy Owens, Frank Martin, and letterer VC's Clayton Cowles
Venom #23 art by Mark Bagley, Andy Owens, Frank Martin, and letterer VC’s Clayton Cowles

Mark Bagley makes the book absorbing and gorgeous from beginning to end. The blood and gore adds to the intensity of the story and the moments we get from Eddie’s point-of-view show the extreme struggle he’s undertaking to survive. Andy Owens’ inking adds to the detailing beauty of the book and Frank Martin’s color work is deep, dynamic, and damn brilliant.
Venom #23 is another brutal and captivating issue for the antihero series. Eddie struggles to keep himself and his other out of Carnage’s reach while Dylan Brock goes to dangerous extremes to discover the secrets of his abilities and the truth of Knull. It’s a great issue and easily earns a recommendation. Feel free to give it a read.
Venom #23 comes to us from writer Donny Cates, artist Mark Bagley, inker Andy Owens, color artist Frank Martin, letterer VC’s Clayton Cowles, cover artist Mark Bagley with Andy Owens and Jason Keith, and variant cover artists Skottie Young; and Humberto Ramos with Edgar Delgado.
Final Score: 8.5/10

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