Marvel Comics’ near-decade of symbiote revival might be running on fumes as the latest Venom series tries to find its place within a sphere where seemingly everything has been said & done numerous times. All of the creative team are solid individuals that feel somewhat mismatched with this book and the premise that seems to be on display at the moment.
Compared to most other characters and concepts that make up the Marvel Universe, the realm of symbiotes has relatively (with sporadic time periods of popularity) been explored less. That was until the last decade or so where Venom and Carnage and the like have become constant go-to concepts for the house of ideas (every year comes with a symbiote event of sorts).
Then why does it feel like there isn’t much left to say at this point?
I’m not saying the new Venom series has nothing to say or is a bad book. When a book has the likes of Ram V and Al Ewing writing there is no way it can be a bad series. At the same time, despite the book bearing their names (Ewing only for the first issue so far), this is a series that if shown to a big fan of theirs with no credits attached (and no prior knowledge they were doing this run) they’d likely be hard-pressed to guess it was them behind this book. These two writers are easily some of the best writers in comics right now, no doubts about that, yet this is seriously lacking the flavors that they generally bring to their books.
So far, we’ve gotten the Life Foundation returning, Eddie Brock ‘dying’, Dylan on the run, symbiote hatred is on the rise across the land, some government/corporation conspiracy, and now Alchemax is back in the picture as Dylan has been betrayed by the reporter he thought was an ally. Oh, and the Venom symbiote is grieving Eddie’s loss while being very angry at Dylan who is mostly keeping the symbiote at arm’s length for his own emotional responses to losing his father.
Character moments just aren’t landing here as there is a ton happening that is just being thrown out there almost all at once. The Life Foundation scenes are even unceremoniously interrupted and divided between the beginning and end of the issue. This is a series I want to like and be excited about but right now it’s hard.
Bryan Hitch is a Marvel comics heavyweight name, but truly it feels like he’s mismatched with this series. This distinctive style is fitting of some types of superhero books but the science fiction/horror/talking heads type of feel this book has doesn’t fit with that style. It feels a bit clunky at times and honestly a bit plain overall. Andrew Currie adds some inks to the work alongside Hitch, and this does help in some of the areas.
Alex Sinclair does solid coloring work too, but much like the last issue it almost feels like the gloomy dark tones that are being chosen aren’t exactly right for the book. Even with the horror bent, everything is just so so dark. Even areas that are flooded with light, it’s like every place they go to whether a lab or the city or an abandoned warehouse feels dingy or drab.
Lettering comes in very solidy, as Clayton Cowles always does. There are some really great little things that help it all have even more feeling to it. Like how Venom’s black bubbles get bigger and the font shoots up in size when the symbiote dramatically yells at Dylan. Venom having white on black for bubbles to match the costume but also be the opposite of black text on white bubbles of the humans is always a great choice made for the character in my book.
Venom #3 is now on sale in print and digitally from Marvel Comics.