Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Venom #1-2

Writer: Rick Remender
Artist: Tony Moore
Company: Marvel Comics

Well, the 1990's era Nick Budd loved the concept of Venom, as did numerous other people.  I mean, why wouldn't you?  He was everything that you could want:  All the neat powers of Spider-Man coupled with the added bonus of eating brains and tongue lashing.  What's not to love?  Sadly, after such things as Venom: Lethal Protector and the subsequent 15 or so other minis that have emblazoned the name, the character got slightly silly and a bit old.  Even the various other people who have been host to the symbiote besides Eddie Brock couldn't revitalize the character, of which I still find the idea of giving the suit to Mac "The Scorpion" Gargan one of the weirder notions.  But want to know what's a stranger idea?  Giving the suit to Flash Thompson.

But that is exactly what writer Rick (Fear Agent/Uncanny X-Force) Remender has done.  Flash Thompson has never been a favorite character.  Sure, he's crucial for earlier Peter Parker stories as the jerk jock who picks on Parker, but beyond that role, I never happened upon great stories that included him.  Maybe they exist though and I missed them.  I think that any character can be made cool by a good writer though.  Bonding him with the Venom Symbiote is an idea that made me cock my head to the side and say, "Huh?"  It's so bizarre, but it does work on the page.  It also revitalizes the character in a way that I didn't think was possible, and I have to say, the first issue is a page turner.

With the first issue, Remender introduces us to a Military run Venom/Flash Thompson combo and a newly powered up version of the Spider-Man villain Jack O'Lantern.  He then proceeds to put said characters in the setting of a war savaged city in Eastern Europe and then hits the frappĂ© setting on this particular blender.  The action is intense, original and fun.  Seeing Venom scoop up eight different weapons, each held in a different tentacle, and then blasting some bad guys was just a cool idea.  While the action was a major selling point of this issue, Remender also nails the character bits.  The narration from Thompson that spun its way throughout was an idea well utilized and really showed the ins and outs of his mind.  Seeing the constant battle between him and the Symbiote worked, but it also was a way to show just how much of a hero Thompson wants to be even though he is shown to be a very flawed character.  There is also some neat limitations on the Venom suit this go around that have some story potential.

The second issue however is little more hit and miss on the story side of things.  I like the general idea of seeing Venom in the Savage Land being hunted by Kraven, but by literally dropping the reader into the situation without really explaining what is going on and why Venom is actually there is a bit off-putting.  I can imagine that Remender was going for sort of a James Bond style approach with it, but it just didn't work and led to a rocky tone.  Still, there are some neat moments and ideas at play, Venom swinging from dinosaurs and a doped up and ravenous Kraven to name a few.  The Hunt motif was fun and seeing the clash between Thompson and the traditional "I want to eat your brain," Venom strummed a bit of nostalgia that made me smile.

The art from both issues, handled by Tony (Walking Dead/Fear Agent) Moore is great.  There is so much life in each of his panels.  The war torn city oozes shadows and movement and his Savage Land looks prehistoric and menacing.  His redesign of the Venom suit itself is fantastic.  The military styling, with its web gear and almost bomb disposal looking flak jacket that feeds into the usual spider logo adds a new spin and a fresh feel.  I love the sketchiness of his lines and the expressiveness of his character's faces, be it a screaming bystander or the robotic face of a Iron Man clone.  It's detail that makes the impact bigger.  Also, the looseness of his pencils makes Moore's action so visceral.  He uses dynamic perspectives, a Marvel tradition, and nothing feels static or bland about the proceedings.  I am constantly amazed by the level of this artist's talent.  Paired with the beautiful inks of Danny Miki and John Rauch's vivid colors, the art in Venom is a trifecta of awesomeness.

At the end of the day, Venom is a comic worthy of trying out.  It isn't perfect, but there are good ideas to be found, sensational action to be witnessed, and a different look at a character that could have been all but forgotten and left to rot in the recesses of Amazing Spider-Man continuity.

No comments:

Post a Comment