Last issue's ending left me wondering how in the world Venom was going to survive. He was down and out against the U-Foes and the overpowered villains were towering over him. Surely it would take a miracle to save him from this seemingly immediate beat down, right? It's no surprise Flash makes it out of the situation alive, but I feared some majorly stupid plot device was on the way. Would a hero jump out of the blue to rescue him? Would the villains go all "your punishment must be more severe!" and that gives him a chance to escape? No and no. Thankfully writer Cullen Bunn gave a more than adequate reason as to why Flash continues to live. After all, seeing the symbiote put to a good tactical use is always a nice treat.
This story isn't really delivering any twists or turns so far, but it's proceeding in an entertaining (yet predictable) fashion. It was painfully obvious Katy wouldn't immediately die from the test, however, the result of the test could prove interesting down the road. The device has uncovered some very intriguing memories (shaking hands with Wilson Fisk?!) and I really hope we see these eventually fleshed out.
Valkyrie makes an appearance and the dialogue between her and Flash is easily my favorite part of the issue. After last issue's shockingly dark turn with the slaughter of innocents, it was especially nice to have a moment of levity thrown into the mix. The "friends with benefits" line gave me a good laugh.
When it comes to the art, there aren't any standout panels like the last issue (until the final splash page, that is), but it does remain vibrant and the detail on a seemingly defeated Venom is disgusting... in a good way, of course. Venom always has a slick look to him while he's in control of the symbiote and it helps make the moments when he loses control look fantastic as that seemingly smooth layer turns far more rough and wild.
Sadly, the U-Foes' plot just doesn't have my blood rushing. It results in some fun action, but aside from that, everything surrounding it just kind of has a "been there, seen that" kind of vibe to it. The seemingly crazy and paranoid informant, trying to use new technology for evil, etc. The real treat here lies in how Flash will develop, and of course, the violence. This isn't to say the story is bad, but it just hasn't piqued my interest. The art is fine but I have issue with how the eyes are handled. Sometimes they're all white (making said character look diabolical) and sometimes they're completely covered in shadows.
(Spoilerly, so back out if you have't read this yet) We know when Flash loses control of the symbiote, he gets a significant physical upgrade (one that would make Brock-Venom blush). He ragdolled Carnage, he's busted down massive security doors -- the dude is simply a beast now when he lets loose. But is it really enough to overcome the U-Foes? I'm excited to see how he'll perform against them with a more brutal mindset, but I have a feeling he's still going to need Valkrie's aid to get out of this one. I just hope we'll get some solid plot developments thrown in with all of the chaos, too. It's an enjoyable story so far, but after last issue's emotional whirlwind, I couldn't help but feel a bit underwhelmed with this chapter.