Holy moly, the art by Marco Checchetto and Fabio D'Auria is amazing. This work is stellar and immediately made me pull a Keanu Reeves-like "whoa" when I checked out the opening panel. I'm blown away by how smooth, crisp and detailed each image is. Even something as mundane as a generic New York street comes to life thanks to their astonishing efforts. But the real gem is how disturbing Venom looks when he lets loose. The drooling, the jagged teeth, the disgusting tongue... Venom has rarely appeared more frightening. I never thought I'd feel an ounce of sympathy for Satan worshiping gang members, but man oh man did this artwork succeed in making me pity them.
The entire purpose of this issue is to give Flash a major epiphany about his life and writer Cullen Bunn does so in a top-notch manner. Bunn dove deep into Flash's emotions and really tugged at my heartstrings with this one. The dude's a mess and it hit him extremely hard in this issue. The moments with A.J. and Pete were brilliant, especially when factoring in to how he was acting as Venom. He'd like to think he's changed, but clearly his actions are proving otherwise.
Eddie Brock still holds a strong spot in my heart as Venom, but it's clear Flash Thompson's life with the symbiote has become the most interesting one out of the alien's history of hosts. There's so much more to the character than "blame Spider-Man for all of my problems!" and it's so rewarding to see Bunn addressing the issues in such an excellent way.
Even if there was something bad, odds are I was blinded by how absurdly good the artwork is. One thing that does slightly upset me though is the slimming likelihood of Pete and Flash having "the talk." Flash is leaving the state and Pete's future is... well, to call it "uncertain" would be a huge understatement. I would love to see that chat, but sadly that's looking unlikely now.
Venom's heading to Philadelphia for a brand new start and if this is the quality Bunn has in store for us, it's going to be one hell of a good series. It was sad to see Rick Remender leave the title, but Bunn's script and the jaw-dropping art made this point one issue a mandatory reading experience for any symbiote fan and has me pumped for what's to come.
Violence, horror, tragedy... what else could you honestly want in a Venom title?
... shame on anyone who says "beating up Juggernaut."