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Venom #39 Review

4

Venom and Mania take on Jack O'Lantern and what's left of Lord Ogre's hired goons.

The Good

Writer Cullen Bunn seems to love crafting some crazy symbiote action in Flash's book (I most certainly love him for this) and luckily for him, he's collaborated with a slew of super talented artists who've brought these battles to life. The latest artist, Kim Jacinto, can draw the hell out of symbiotes and chaotic action scenes. Kim's impressed me a huge deal over the past several issues whenever Flash is rocking the organic costume and this issue is no exception. Except now there's two symbiotes, and boy oh boy was it a real treat for my eyes. They look every bit as fierce and intimidating as they should, with jagged tendrils rapidly flailing about, frighteningly sharp teeth, and a great sense of energy and motion in almost every panel. The art takes a bit of a hit whenever there aren't costumed characters around (facial features and details are a bit too rough and abstract for me), but everything else is beyond solid.

"Did you say two symbiotes?" Yes, I did and if you don't know why there's two, you should go read #38, like, right now. Seriously, go away because I'm about to dive into a month-old spoiler. First and foremost, I dig the idea of Andi becoming Venom's "sidekick." Pretty much the entire series has been dedicated to developing Flash, so to throw this into the mix is a huge game changer. It now forces him to be more directly responsible for an individual who is no longer totally helpless against the powerful obstacles that'll head their way. It's a fitting challenge seeing as Flash has tasked himself with being a teacher outside of the symbiote, too. Andi was a pretty cliche character in earlier issues, but with this newfound drive against evil and her odd ability to adapt quickly to the alien, Andi Mania has a lot of promise when it comes to spicing things up in this title. Her ability to use the sybiote so well has me scratching my head, but due to the questions surrounding it, it surely seems like Bunn will elaborate down the road. Don't get me wrong, this has without question been one of my favorite Marvel books and I love seeing a core focus on who Flash is and how he changes in the wake of these events, but I'm totally welcoming this new dynamic with open arms.

When it comes to Eugen's morals, I find myself in the middle. It's certainly a conflict we've seen a gazillion characters face before, but it's nice having a reminder that it's by no means an easy stance to hold. The likes of Spider-Man, Batman and Superman are prime examples when it comes to their position against killing (I know they all have, but the point still stands that they'll exhaust any and all other options first, people). They put villains away fully aware of the fact that they may indeed break out and, in turn, take more lives. But they know they're tasked with being heroes and therefore need to be an example of the ultimate good. Flash, however, hasn't spent much time in his tights (so to speak) and, while I'm sure many of you won't like his flip-flopping, I think it's a more than understandable mentality. I imagine I'd be every bit as conflicted over the scenario as he is and I'm sure many of you out there would agree, too.

The Bad

When it comes to Flash's morals, I understand he's still relatively new to this, but I'm somewhat surprised to see him already questioning the "no kill" code. Surely he knew there was a good chance Jack O'Lantern and others would potentially break out of prison, right? As a Spider-Man fanboy, this should be common knowledge to him based on Pete's history with repeat villains. God bless the humans in the 616 universe who are brave enough to keep these villains incarcerated, but, let's be honest, their track record has been sub-par at best.

While the handling of the action scenes continue to be topnotch, it stood out massively when there was a significant lack of motion and impact as Mania struck Lord Deathstrike across the face. The panel just seemed way too stiff. Additionally, Jack was "too strong" and "too fast" in the last issue, yet in this one it's revealed he's just a brainwashed ordinary dude?

Minor gripes: I noticed a small art inconsistency -- sometimes Mania has earrings, sometimes she doesn't. Not a big deal by any means, but it definitely caught my eye at least twice. Also, some of Jacinto's work on humans stands out to me. For example, Constrictor's jaw almost makes him seem like a nutcracker figure and Eugene is unintentionally frightening when he lacks pupils and an iris.

The Verdict

If there's one thing I can expect Venom to bring on a monthly basis, it's oh-so-fine looking art and some crazy, crazy action. Issue #39 absolutely has a more than ample amount of both, but the follow-up with Andi leaves me mixed. It walks an all-too familiar path yet despite that still does a somewhat refreshing job. Plus, Bunn's creative direction for Andi holds a helluva lot of promise. Let's just hope he has time to flesh it out and isn't forced to compact all of his goals due to a possible cancellation. Now we wait and see if VENOM's absence in the latest round of solicitations just means our Flash dose is being reserved for his appearance over in SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN... or if it means his solo series is coming to an end.

12 Comments
Edited by TheAcidSkull

I really lIke mania.

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Posted by HollowPrince65

I love Venom. I love Mania. I was a bit shocked about the Jack thing but hey, still thought it was awesome. It will be interesting to see how this all will continue. Plus...isn't Flash going to NYC to have a talking to with Superior?

Edited by danhimself

I really hope that they aren't writing off Mania that quickly...I want her to stick around for a while

Posted by Mangakid1995

NOOOOO!!!! They cant cancel Venom it's my favorite Flash journey has been amazing if I could afford it I'd be reading every month but I can't so I use Marvel Unlimited. Venom just can't end it's the first book I got in too when I started reading comics and it especially can't end imidiatly after they make a new symbiote its would be such a waste like with the cyber symbiote they introduced in the Carnage mini series or the military symbiotes a from Carnage USA. They can't just cancel Venom they have to at least give Cullen the time to finish it right other wise what was the point... :'(

Posted by MadeinBangladesh

Venom, my favorite Spidey book.

Posted by InFamous_Wolf

I have a question. Does Andi/Mania know that Venom is her coach Thompson yet. I wasn't to clear on that reading this issue.

Posted by Ando123

AWESOMe¡¡

Posted by wolverine1610

i hope this series doesnt end, its so good :o but andi was so scary with her symbiote. if i were flash i'd definitely clone saga in my pants

Posted by Fenderxx

Really enjoyed the art, and its hands defiantly one of my favorite books, I would hate if it was cancelled, I feel like they are really flushing out a great supporting cast and direction for the character.

Posted by SoA

when was she referred to as mania?

Posted by k4tzm4n

@soa said:

when was she referred to as mania?

The solicits and Bunn has called her that in interviews. She's never actually called 'Mania' in this issue, though.

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Posted by Shallbecomeabattoo

Man, just when I ordered the first trade, they cancel this. Bummer... I heard good things and will finally check it out myself now. A bit too late though.