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Venom Vol. 1 collects the first six issues of the latest series to follow Eddie Brock and his gooey, extraterrestrial partner in lethal protecting. The issues are written by Donny Cates with pencils from Ryan Stegman, inks from JP Mayer, colors from Frank Martin, and letters from Clayton Cowles. In this collection simply titled, “Rex,” Eddie and Venom learn the eldritch origin of the symbiotes and face a monster on a city-leveling scale. Does the first arc from the new creative team deliver an origin story “better than Watchmen?”

In crafting a new origin for the symbiotes, Donny Cates does a ton of narrative heavy lifting and exposition work while telling an action-packed story of cosmic horror and sacrifice.



Not only does he tell a compelling story on a cosmic level, but he also ties the symbiote to other pockets of the Marvel universe like Jason Aaron’s Thor: God of Thunder and Captain America. His dialogue feels pitch perfect for an action movie while still conveying just enough pathos maintain the emotional stakes of Eddie and Venom’s codependent relationship. Essentially, this serious handles big, dramatic conflicts, but manages to feel fun all the way through the volume. I’m the type of Venom fan that will always ask for more dialogue or introspection focusing on Eddie and Venom’s love for one another, but readers who are more interested in action over character drama will enjoy this series a lot. I was still invested in the characters by the end of the volume, so I can’t say that Cates completely under-serves the Veddie stans out there.



Even relative to his impressive work on Venom Inc., Stegman is working at the top of his game here. He has a real knack for blending '90s nostalgia with modern storytelling sensibilities. Stegman's rendition of Venom is straight out of early '90s Spider-Man comics - all bulging muscles and veins and jagged teeth. But never does Venom himself overpower the rest of the story. Stegman focuses a lot of energy on framing his action just right and getting the most energy out of every scene, whether that involves two characters conversing or Venom taking on an armored convoy.

The decision to pair Stegman's art with colorist Frank Martin also works heavily in this book's favor. I wasn't entirely sure what to expect from that collaboration. Martin is a great colorist, but one whose heavy-handed style complements some artists more than others. Fortunately, it's a match that suits the tone of this series. There's a shadowy, horror movie vibe to the series, and Martin's eerie colors only enhance that. The high contrast lighting creates many striking panels where Eddie is illuminated by a single light source or bathed in the glow of exploding machinery. It's not terribly surprising that the new Venom series is off to such a strong start. Marvel picked a great creative team to ring in this new era for Eddie Brock. Whether you're a long-time fan of the character or just want something to familiarize yourself with Venom ahead of the new movie, this series has what you're looking for.


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Venom 1 Midtown Comics Signed by Donny Cates with COA

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