A blast from the past has invaded North America, ready to re-invigorate the lost hearts and souls of countless disillusioned comic book fans everywhere. For those of you looking for a serious analysis on the latest releases in the industry, you need look no further, I will be your guru; so strap in your seat-belts boys and girls, we’re about to go on a transcendent trip into Marvels greatest antihero of all time. He’s gooey, he’s mean, and oh boy does he ever hate a scream, the one, the only, Venom.
I’ll start this piece with some harsh truths, as it is my sincere hope to be a recurring, loud, opinionated voice that guides you on the rich journey of navigating through the plethora of comics available to us all. We can begin a simple statement to summarize my feelings on just what it meant to hear Venom was getting a new makeover: I was a HUGE fan of Eddie Brock and what he did for the franchise; the blonde bodybuilding disgraced journalist was literally the first villain I wanted to know more about, at the young age of twelve or so, I had no idea why I felt that way.
That’s actually saying a great deal now that I come to really think about it, especially when you consider the awesome backstory of how a boy named Randy Schueller got paid $220, so seasoned shyster Jim Shooter, then chief-editor of Marvel , could get his hands on the rights to the idea. It would later be modified by a man named Mike Zeck, to become the alien symbiote costume of Spiderman; and by issue #300 of Amazing Spiderman we have the first glimpses of the Venom we now know today.
Thanks to the genius of writer Mike Costa, we are introduced to an incarnation of our favorite symbiote that is no longer a lethal protector, nor is he a gooey guardian; instead we are graced with a profound true-to-roots change. Issue number one shows us this incredible metamorphosis through the arrival of our newest host and antihero, a man by the name of Lee Price.
Utterly amazing is how Marvel is deciding to link and carry a strong story-line through the new stories being told about our favorite comic legends. We can see the torch carried over from Venom Space Knight where by midway of the first issue of the newest Venom series we see an mind-numbing array of sketches that show the symbiote learning how to take the shape of a human and even survive for a prolonged period of time without a host; abilities our little friend never had before. Shortly after this feat is revealed we see a meeting where our protagonist is sitting with a man by the name of Gargan, a man most of you who are still probably reading this far into the article are familiar with: I’ll give you a hint, his name starts with an S, and rhymes with Orpion. A deal is hatched, things go sour (when do they not in a comic?) and just as our protagonist is about to be no more, deadly Venom intervenes.
The art here is absolutely gorgeous and it’s the reason I just have to spoil this part of the book; we see a wave of glistening ebon protoplasm as it is shaped into a makeshift shield, causing a spray of bullets to deflect or embed itself unto its slimy self. I find this to be one of the more appealing aspects of this series so far; if the art continues to be this good, you can be sure I’ll be grabbing each and every issue, along with the variants.
For those of you who might be true financial gurus in the industry, you need little educating on just how valuable and lucrative it is to collect things involved with what is often called the greatest antihero of all time. Merchandise outlets have only just begun to really catch on to how popular he is in the last few years, with t-shirts, mugs, key-chains, and other commemorative items now flooding almost every tier of merchandise available; you will find a Venom mug, a Venom piggy bank, a Venom anything they can really make and get away with. If one were to question the validity of collecting trinkets or comic books, an easy counter to the argument is to look at Hollywood and the film industry, the two have always been major reasons for spikes and booms among things like comic books.
When you look at how the next seven years are all docketed with tributes and first releases of numerous caped heroes that have never really graced the screen, it’s easy to draw a conclusion that investment now might be a very lucrative future proposition. Business teaches us that almost every industry can only look ahead seven years and reliably predict the course of its industry; if the next few years are flooded with movies paying tribute to comic books, what are the odds that those comic books actually lose value?
I think if Lee Price proves to have at least a bit of depth, he may make for the best take of Venom to be put on screen yet; a dark, sinister creature conflicted from its past lives and struggling to find the true meaning of being human.
It isn’t just about the comic books either. Graphic novels, and action figures depicting Venom are all likely to see significant increases if this series can maintain the quality it is presenting thus far. That the story is directly connected to the Venom we have known for the last decade or so is quite appealing to me as a reader too; we see this inclusion through the symbiote showing Lee Price what it has done in the last few years as a Guardian of the Galaxy with Flash Thompson.
What is interesting and important to note is that the symbiote has seemed to manage to imprint some of the values and morals he developed while influenced by Flash, as that seems to best explain why it chooses to depict moments of heroism and bravery, instead of the debauchery it committed as Eddie Brock; this all seems to disgust Lee. With Lee’s reaction it is easy to see him as a Villain, but that isn’t to say that he’s pure evil; it does however hint that a darker, more conniving version of Venom is about to be a regular fixture in our lives, and hooray for that!
Reminiscent of the layered, twisted art one can find on the pages of Superior Spiderman, particularly around issue #34, where Toxin makes an appearance and becomes involved in the fighting. I have been waiting for the better part of a decade for Flash Thompson to finally take a break so my favorite comic book legend could find a host that isn’t so depressing and filled with self-loathing. At last our saviors have arrived and I say encore! Encore!