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"Venom #11" Comic Review

Written by James Ferguson

Published by Marvel Comics

Venom 11 00

Written by Donny Cates
Illustrated by Joshua Cassara & Ryan Stegman
Inked by Joshua Cassara & JP Mayer
Colored by Frank Martin
Lettered by Clayton Cowles
2019, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on February 20th, 2019

Review:

Since their battle with Knull, the relationship between Eddie Brock and the Venom symbiote has been a little weird. The alien creature has gone silent, seemingly wiped of any personality, but conscious enough to carry its host across the country to safety. It has now encased Eddie in a cocoon of sorts, again, apparently to protect him while the Maker tinkers around outside, determined to separate the symbiote from its host. Meanwhile, Eddie goes through a kind of mind meld with his long-time partner and the results are both eye-opening and horrifying.

Let’s get the bit with the Maker out of the way first. He is every bit the mad scientist here. As a reminder, the Maker is a deranged and evil version of Reed Richards (aka Mr. Fantastic) from the Ultimate Universe. You can understand the danger this presents when a mind as powerful as Reed’s is turned to the dark side.

Artist Ryan Stegman handles these scenes, adding a sinister quality to the character. You can’t see the man’s eyes, as they’re covered by a bulbous helmet, but you can see his mischievous grin. Everything about his depiction is unsettling. Eddie presents a problem to the Maker, as it’s a question he does not know the answer to. It’s a mystery and he’s determined to get to the bottom of it, even if that leaves Eddie in a bloody pile on the floor.

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Colorist Frank Martin adds to the mad scientist vibe of this scene. The setting is mostly dark with shadows looming all over, but there are these eerie lights on the Maker’s costume, specifically on his chest and in the visor of his helmet. These cast an ominous glow on his surroundings that’s reminiscent of Dr. Frankenstein.

I mentioned this in a review for an earlier issue of Venom, but it still holds true here. Letterer Clayton Cowles uses proper sentence case for the Maker’s words instead of the traditional all caps seen in comics in general and for everyone else in this book. It makes the character stand out, like he’s smart enough to know he’s in a comic and wills his speech to be shown in the proper way.

OK, now on to the meat of the story and the part that’s getting some news. I’m going to spoil a bit of this here, but only because it’s caused some ruckus among some of the more idiotic fans who have gone so far as to send death threats to writer Donny Cates. If you don’t want this spoiled, skip the next three paragraphs. Alright…you still with us?

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Click images to enlarge

Much of Venom #11 is spent going down memory lane with Eddie, reliving some of his most depressing moments. Artist Joshua Cassara does some great work here, breaking up the panel layout in an awesome way, like we’re falling through Eddie’s mind, catching glimpses of some of his deepest thoughts.

The kicker is we learn the symbiote has been manipulating Eddie for some time, specifically by altering his memories and how he sees the world. This is scary on multiple levels, especially when you learn just how far it’s gone, seemingly to protect the bond between the two of them. Now, this does open up some questions about some of Venom’s past actions over his thirty-year history, but that’s not a huge concern in the scheme of things.

What really hits home is the horror of Eddie realizing his whole life could be a lie. Let that sink in for a minute. Imagine finding out that huge aspects of your life were a complete fabrication, even family members and diseases. Cassara captures this abject terror on Eddie’s face and soon replaces it with total rage. All the while, the tendrils of the symbiote close in around him, creating a claustrophobic feeling.

This presents a pretty crazy idea that becomes all the more harrowing with the understanding that the threat of Carnage looms in the distance. Eddie is going to have to find a way to work with his symbiote if he hopes to survive that, but how could he forgive it for what it’s done? Cates continues to revitalize Venom, redefining the character from the ground up. It is a bold new take and I could not be more excited for it.

Grades:

Story: Fivestars Venom 11 Small
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Venom 11 Small
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Venom 11 Small
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Art: Fivestars
Overall: Fivestars

About The Author
Spez Bio 2
Lord of the Funny Books
James has a 2nd grade reading level and, as a result, only reads books with pictures. Horror is his 5th favorite genre right after romantic comedy and just before silent films. No one knows why he's here, but he won't leave.
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