Glenn and Steve review all books King in Black: Venom, Gwenom, Symbiote Spider-Man and the King in Black himself.
Creators: Donny Cates, Iban Coello, Jesus Aburtov, VCs Clayton Cowles
Story: Eddie Brock has lost his symbiote Venom and has seemingly fallen to his death at the hands of Knull. What now?
Steve: Eddie wakes up in the hive. He is met by Rex Strickland, who gives him a tour and explains his predicament. All seems lost, but Eddie refuses to give up even in the face of his own death. Relying on the fact that he has worn a symbiote longer than any other, he believes that he can break free. All he needs to do is find Venom, who is now the lap dog of Knull himself. In the end, Rex and Eddie find another ally- Flash Thompson, Agent Venom.
What is great about this issue is that Cates is using everything he has planted throughout his run. The Codex system is front and center and is used to great effect here to build this limbo style after-life. And, based on that, Rex and Flash being there to assist makes complete sense. It’s clear that Earth’s Mightiest Heroes won’t be the answer; it will be left up to those with a close connection to symbiotes. The Venom issues are a great supplement to the larger event book, and are building the details that make this story so rich.
Glenn: So Eddie FINALLY landed and is now somewhere else, assisted by an old friend from earlier in the run. Clever Cates reminding us about this fellow in the last issue. This issue takes place on a mostly metaphorical plane where everyone who has been taken over by a Symbiote resides which is seemingly pretty much everyone including a few heroes. The whole thing is kind of like the human farm scenes from the Matrix meets Inception as Brock tries to figure out a way to get his ‘other’ back so even in ‘death’ he can help the heroes win the day or at least give them a chance. It’s some great character work from Eddie as we’ve come to expect from Cates and a last page return of a character that made me oh so happy. This side story is going to be essential when all is said and done I think and I really can’t wait to see where our three characters who are journeying through this bizarre and disturbing afterlife are going to be up to next.
Steve: Iban Coello is such a great compliment to Ryan Stegman on the main book. His art is perfect for this event. He draws character work and monsters equally well. And, he really shines here creating an eerie environment for the Hive, especially the panel with the Marvel heroes lined up as part of the Hive. Just a beautiful job. I hope he gets a big book following this event because he has earned it.
Glenn: There’s some disturbing imagery in this issue which artist Iban Coello nails, this odd afterlife filled with hanging bodies is more than a little creepy and I love it. I also like the look of Eddie’s surprising friend who greets him here and fills him (and us) in on how this all works. As usual the book is a visual delight and I think much like I said for Symbiote Spidey above we’re going to see some fantastic action set pieces next month that Coello is going to nail in spades.