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"Venom #16" Comic Review

Written by James Ferguson

Published by Marvel Comics


Written by Donny Cates
Illustrated by Juan Gedeon
Colored by Jesus Aburtov
Lettered by Clayton Cowles
2019, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on July 10th, 2019


Eddie Brock is still putting his life together, which has gotten a lot more difficult lately, as the pieces have all changed shape. He just survived the War of the Realms, but now his son Dylan is sick. Eddie's used to killing things as Venom. He doesn't have a ton of experience with taking care of a sick kid. Since he doesn't have the symbiote, he has to find other ways to get some medicine for the boy, all the while a monster lurks within.

Venom #16 is an interesting look at the character of Eddie Brock. It questions whether he is a monster on his own and the symbiote just brought it out of him. That opens up all kinds of crazy ideas. Did the symbiote just give form to his baser, more carnal instincts? This is shown repeatedly through the issue as Eddie's “conscience” pulls him towards violence and bloodshed.

Artist Juan Gedeon draws Venom as a massive beast. He's made of muscle, teeth, and terror. Even though he's only in Eddie's head, he's just as scary as ever. Venom pops up when you least expect it, turning a normal conversation into a shocking near-death experience. There's a pulsing energy to this Venom, like he's a caged animal waiting to be set free.

Click images to enlarge

When Eddie does let the beast out, it's an explosion of violence and intensity. Gedeon breaks up the pages up into smaller images, all focused on the brutal attacks of this monster. While we see Venom committing these acts, in reality it's just Eddie. This is how he sees himself, especially when the gloves come off. What does this say about him as a person?

Colorist Jesus Aburtov adds to this with shocking reds as blood splatters all over the place. The green spittle coming out of Venom's mouth is a nice touch, adding an inhuman quality to him and his monstrous actions.

Although he doesn't have the symbiote, there's still this other presence lurking within Eddie. Do you remember old cartoons where a character had a little angel on one side and a devil on the other? Well, Eddie just has a devil...and it's Venom. It's this voice in his head that wants to give in to these carnal instincts and become the alpha predator he knows he can be. Letterer Clayton Cowles brings this out in a frightening fashion with scratchy, black word balloons, mirroring the terrifying nature of the beast within.

Click image to enlarge

This contrasts well with Eddie's current status quo. He's one step above a bum. If he wasn't squatting in an old warehouse, he'd be living on the street. Eddie is used to being in control and holding a tremendous amount of power that causes others to quake with fear in his presence. Now he's out there begging old friends for work just to get enough cash to scrap by. Writer Donny Cates creates a fascinating character study here, uncovering new aspects to the anti-hero we've known for decades.

Dylan puts things in perspective for Eddie as he tries to stay on the side of the angels. With Carnage pulling strings in the background, preparing for an all-out assault, Eddie Brock may be the only thing standing in the way of genocide in the Marvel Universe and that's a disturbing thought. With all the violence it had, Venom #16 is the calm before the storm. This might be the closest thing Eddie has to a normal day before his life is turned upside down by Carnage.


Story: fourandahalfstars Cover
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Art: fourandahalfstars
Overall: 4.5 Star Rating

About The Author
James Ferguson
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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