And so concludes a series which accomplished the difficult task of creating a new Venom who is debatably more interesting and appealing than the previous symbiote champ, Eddie Brock. There have been some great stories as Rick Remender and Cullen Bunn have directed Flash Thompson over these 42 issues, but for me, the demon story was my least favorite (keep in mind, least favorite out of something I love isn't exactly all that bad) and this also happens to be the story which is leading VENOM to its conclusion. As you can tell by the rating, it doesn't depart on a high note, but it's certainly not bad, either.
Surprisingly, a fair chunk of this issue is dedicated to a massive battle and, thanks to Jorge Coelho and Lee Loughridge, much of it comes off with a good amount of intensity. Venom is basically reduced to "smash and slash!" but Mania shows off how well she can utilize the symbiote. Truth be told, she outshines Flash here, and while it's cool to see one character progress as a hero in combat, it's disappointing to see Flash not receive as much love in this regard. We've seen Flash use the symbiote a whole plethora of ways, so it's a letdown to see him just use the basics when literally faced with an army to fight.
Without spoiling anything, I will say the ending comes as a double-edged sword (will elaborate on the negative points in "the bad"). On the plus side, it's positive growth for Flash and makes him realize he finally needs to step up to the plate with Andi. Truthfully, this feels a bit overdue and it would have been great to see this serve as the focus of the current arc, but ending on a promising note was both unexpected and appreciated.
The initial interactions with Mephisto felt unnatural. Flash is seriously threatening this absurdly powerful character with his pistols after he was the one to summon him? And Andi doesn't seemed fazed at all that she's talking to... you know, the freaking devil. I get she's been through a lot of change and seen a lot of crazy things as of late, but it's tough to imagine someone new to this world being so casual in such a scenario. Furthermore, Flash admits he has friends with resources who can help... so why didn't he try them before reaching out to the devil -- a move which I imagine should be last on virtually everyone's list?
While the battle is pretty fun, the execution of it isn't as clear as I would have hoped in a few cases. As a huge battles fan, it also somewhat bugs me that Crossbones, even temporarily, is able to hold back Venom. Yes, Crossbones is a big dude, but at the end of the day he's peak human at best and Flash has a massive strength advantage over him. Remember when Venom knocked out Cap with just one punch? That's basically how this fight should have gone down right as he landed that first hit -- and I say that as someone who's a fan of the terrible man named Brock Rumlow.
Jorge Coelho's art has grown on me and the art in this finale is better than the previous ones, but in key moments, a bulked up Venom comes off as looking goofy instead of frightening, formidable and intimidating.
The narrative doesn't really answer anything with the demon story. We still have no idea who Crossbones was working for and there's no strong conclusion to the mark. Instead, there's a big reveal with it, and that just presents another question. Seeing as there's currently no announcement regarding another solo series for Venom or Mania, it's tough to believe we'll get a satisfying follow-up to this. After all, the next time we see Venom is teasing that he'll lose the symbiote and, as of right now, there's no word that Andi is in that story.
Ultimately, the final issue of VENOM comes off as feeling like the start of something promising instead of the end of something epic. Sure, the series technically ends on a bang instead of a whimper, but that's due to a ginormous action sequence and not progress with the plot. If Marvel actually has something underway for Andi and Venom in another series, then it'll be great to see how they run with this ending. But, seeing as there's nothing like that currently revealed to the public, I can't help but be slightly disappointed with this final issue. It's certainly entertaining and there's a nice focus on who Flash was and who he wants to be, but overall, it doesn't quite feel like a satisfying finale.