Venom #31

#1 Posted by k4tzm4n (39547 posts) - - Show Bio

The Good 

It's great to see Declan Shalvey on the title. His work was phenomenal back on 'Minimum Carnage' and his pencils once again creates one of the creepiest and roughest looking takes on Venom I've seen. It's seriously fierce -- fiercer than Beyonce at the Super Bowl fierce. When Flash is in control, the "armor" isn't bulky but it has a nice feeling of weight behind it. When he lets loose, he's a really fearsome monster  The teeth, the tongue, the way the tendrils flail... it's frightening stuff.  The most haunting image of him is definitely when he visits his mother, though.
This issue is essentially pure set up. Writer Cullen Bunn loops between the past and present, and the constant jumping back-and-forth is executed well enough. The past scenes focus on Flash parting ways (or at least trying to) with everyone he cares about -- his mom, Betty, Pete -- and the current focus on him trying to establish a new and hopefully better life in Philly. The scene with his mom and attempting to say goodbye to Betty had a nice amount of heart behind them, but the scene with Peter wasn't as powerful or interesting as I hoped it would be. Additionally, the new supporting characters in his apartment complex don't leave an impression, but to be fair, each only had a few lines of dialogue at most.  
Seeing Flash humiliate scum is something that'll probably never get old (especially with Shalvey's art). The pencils did a great job of conveying the dude's fear as the symbiote slithers over his eyes. Watching Venom trying to stay on the down-low while still attacking gangs and such is good fun, especially when he has a blast with it (fear Hail Mary!). He's such a bleak dude with so many issues... it's a pleasure seeing him enjoying a laugh once in awhile. Oh, and did Venom seriously just say nom nom nom? That's awesome! 

The Bad 

Overall, the coloring is fine but there's two things that caught my attention. First, there's a way too drastic change in color between two pages. One moment we're in a dark alley, the next we're in a Wellness Center room flooding with bright sunlight. The abrupt transition honestly hurt my eyes. Secondly, the girl's cell phone looked like it would exploding instead of illuminating. 
After Rick Remender teased us with such a strong Flash/Peter scene, I was really hoping for more suspense when they said goodbye. Pete seems to be the one guy Eugene can open up to, so I was hoping they would continue their previously interrupted conversation. Sadly, now that "Peter" is gone, I guess that suspense is dead. Having "Spider-Man" find out Venom's identity would no longer be a big deal. And if possible, I'd like to never see Hit-Monkey in this book again. Thank you.  
There was a very confusing change of heart from that girl in the building. She went from friendly and informative to brushing him off once he said he works with the school. I'm sure we'll dive more into the character in due time (I get it, she doesn't look like someone focused on academics or a career), but right now that was super abrupt. Also, Flash said he works for the school's P.E. department, but later says he needs to find a job. I can't be the only one confused with this one. If he's just lying to the girl to help protect who he really is, wasn't that a really bad lie since she possibly goes to the school?    
This is the second time we've been teased with Eddie Brock as a cliffhanger! I was hoping he'd get more attention here (especially since it was last issue's highlight), but this basically served as "yes, he's still back and now he knows to go to Philly." I wish Bunn did a bit more with the character in this one, but hopefully we'll see plenty of him in the issues to come.

The Verdict 

This is the start of a new adventure for the latest symbiote host, and as expected, it serves as a great jumping on point as well. While this isn't a particularly explosive or exciting beginning, it does cover all the basics that we'd expect to see with Flash making such a big change in his life and there's definitely some fun to be had. Shalvey's work lacks detail at a distance but this is easily overlooked with some of his unique close-ups and how superb his Venom looks.  
Alright, Flash said his goodbyes and moved in to a not-so-fancy new place... now let's see some more of Eddie Brock/Toxin!

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