Someday Productions LLC and Pillow Talking are pleased to present the following review of VENOM #1 comic book by Guest Blogger Brendan Hughes
by Brendan Hughes
Title: Venom #1
Story By: Mike Costa
Art By: Gerardo Sandoval
After a five-year run with Eugene “Flash” Thompson as Venom, story writer Mike Costa has found a new host in former army ranger, Lee Price. I’ll being by saying I’m disappointed to see the end of Flash’s run as the character; Marvel has since fleshed out the story of Venom partnering with Flash as well as a Guardian of the Galaxy and a Space Knight. With the abrupt end to the Venom Space Knight series, with Venom following in the direct aftermath of Civil War II, we are given little information about how Venom departs from Flash, only seeing how the symbiote desperately sought a host, then eventually bonds with Price.
Now we have newcomer, Lee Price. Who is he, you may ask? Price is a down-on-his-luck disabled veteran (stop me if you heard this before) who through an old friend, gets hooked up in Black Cat’s crime syndicate. During a simple transaction of superpower serum with Tombstone’s gang, things quickly go south. However, during the deal, Venom bonds with Price leaving him as the only survivor. Once bonded, Venom urges Price to become a hero and follow in Flash’s path, though Price quickly overpowers Venom. Yes, you read that right – a mortal man is SOMEHOW able to mentally overpower Venom!! As for Price’s personality, he is a ruthless villain who only cares about himself and all others are plain shit out of luck. He is void of any other emotions, he is excruciatingly boring, and I daresay he’ll leave damn near every comic reader hating him.
So it is safe to say that I’m not a fan of Costa’s take on Venom; his fast-paced storytelling uses the same stale tropes. There also are many things in the first issue that could have been saved for later down the road, such as Lee’s backstory which felt forced and shoehorned in unnecessarily. Costa appears to be trying to make Price a complete character after the just first issue; he did not allow for Price to develop and unfold over time, enabling readers to naturally connect with him. Conversely, I did enjoy some aspects of Costa’s writing – namely how Price is quickly added into the Spider-Verse, incorporating Black Cat, Tombstone, and Gargan.
In my opinion, the only redeeming take away from this series is the styling of artist Gerardo Sandoval, who has prior experience with Venom in transitioning over from Venom Space Knight. Venom’s new look is terrifyingly awesome and the perfect way to personify Price’s Venom. The paneling is in a sketch-like pattern with excellent fluidity, often with panels overlapping in an integrated fashion. And the best part of Sandoval’s work on this issue is the centerfold which displays Venom’s past with Flash as well as Price’s own past, all revolving around the Venom logo.
So there we have it: the new addition to the ever-growing cast of characters who have once held the mantle of Venom. Some have been good (Eddie Brock and Flash Thompson), while others not so good (Mac Gargan). It is still too early to sort Lee Price into either column; however, there hasn’t been this poor of a follow-up since Batman and Robin. There are perhaps a few qualities which potentially may make Venom become a decent read but for now, such as what was said to Adam Sandler’s Billy Madison by his principal (in the 1995 film Billy Madison], I’ll rip: “What you’ve just written is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever read. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response to Venom Space Knight were you even close to anything that could be considered a decent follow-up. Everyone…is now dumber for having read it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.”
Brendan Hughes is what you might call a professional nerd of sorts, a connoisseur of comic books ranging from the “Big 3” (Marvel, DC, and Dark Horse) to the more indie side of things. By night he is the co-host of East Meets West, Flame Hawk, a radio/podcast which breaks down the latest news of the Nerd and Otaku universe.
The comic spider first bit Brendan at the young age of five, establishing his love of comic lore and the comic realm. This love led him to become a part of the comic community and to doing comic reviews and news through East Meets West. Catch more of Brendan aka Flame Hawk when he’s not reviewing for Pillow Talking blog by visiting @MeetsWest on Twitter and on YouTube http://bit.ly/1pLxumG.