As a comic child of the 90s, I felt a moral obligation to sink my teeth into Venom #6 simply because my boy Eddie Brock would be re-inheriting the mantle of Venom. And it’s been a long road back, through Mac Gargan, Flash Thompson, Lee Price…Deadpool…and back to Brock. So, how was it?
The phrase “wet fart” comes to mind.
First, I’ve never been a fan of Gerardo Sandoval: his work on Wolverine and Guardians of the Galaxy was overly-muscled, hyper-exaggerated features, as though he found a book of sketches that Joe Maduriera lost when he first got started at Marvel and decided, “THIS IS HOW IT SHALL BE FOREVERMORE.” It’s distracting at best, and ridiculous at its worst.
And writer Mike Costa leans hard into storylines that worked well in the past, or more specifically, in the 80’s and 90’s: Eddie Brock here is secretly a deranged individual seeking a reunion with the symbiote, and Spider-Man’s humor falls flat. In fact, that ties directly into the two things that drove me bonkers in this issue:
First, all the character development Eddie Brock has gone through, starting with his near-suicide during the Spider-Man: Back in Black storyline. He had been working on improving himself, getting over his symbiote addiction, becoming a hero as Anti-Venom, finding his religious center. And here, he’s just back to being a meat head, rendered in layers of inflated muscles that haven’t been seen since the days of Todd McFarlane.
Secondly, the way Spider-Man tries to get the symbiote off of Lee Price: he offers himself. This is a trope that was novel the first time, and progressively lost its punch EVERY SUCCESSIVE TIME IT WAS TRIED – he tried this several more times in the comics! With all the development the symbiote made in the comics – it went from just a slime suit with mindless urges to an actual character in its own right – you think it’d be less prone to fall for something that it’s experienced multiple times in the past.
This was a pretty mediocre issue despite its touting in the press releases: the story is stale and the art is inane. However, it does possess the seeds of better things in the future, like how Brock will deal with a symbiote that now thinks for itself, that has been broken like a wild horse. What will their driving mission be? Will Brock’s development be truly lost? Will they start this “we” bullshit again?