So begins writer Cullen Bunn's chore of filling in the supporting cast for Flash's new life in Philly. If you're wondering why Flash doesn't contact his "girlfriend" (Valkyrie) or his other friends, a logical and very amusing reason is provided right off the bat ("the call of valor!"). His time as a coach could be really cool if fleshed out properly and has the potential to provide a great insight into Flash's psyche. We've already seen him encounter a mirror reflection of his past self, so I'm curious to see how this will develop.
Flash doesn't really have a standout personality, but that rings true to his character and Bunn definitely has the character's voice down. Despite not being an especially witty character, his monologues still manage to amuse and even pop a smirk or two. I love how having him talk about his life makes us realize just how absurd it truly is. Furthermore, Bunn has an interesting future prepared for Venom. After the incident with the U-Foes (crazy technology has now leaked) and Toxin searching for him, I have faith in what Bunn has in store for us in the coming issues.
Declan Shalvey was born to pencil a symbiote book. That said, his style is definitely an acquired taste, though. It's lacking detail when it comes to people in the distance and is very rough, but it's a perfect fit for Venom. The slithering of the tendrils, the jagged teeth and seemingly random flow of the symbiote... it's a real treat to see him illustrate symbiotes and the unique tone is fitting for this book's world. He did a wonderful job with the "villain" in this issue. It felt like a character stripped right out of a monster movie and legitimately looked creepier and creepier as the fun battle progressed.
I know we've barely met her, but so far Andi reads like a cliche punk/goth girl who hates the status quo. This is something we've seen a gazillion times before, so I'm really hoping Bunn has plans to add depth to the character or provide a clever twist.
Like I said above, Shalvey's art is very rough around the edges. This is pretty much a double-edged sword. It works wonders most of the time, but it is distracting when characters faces are limited to three lines or so.
It appears that teasing us with Toxin has finally come to an end. Brock has reached The City of Brothery Love and I imagine there's no real obstacle preventing him from encountering Venom in the next issue. That alone should make any longtime Venom fan count down the days until the next issue comes out. Bring on the symbiote on symbiote violence, Bunn and Shalvey!