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Venom 18 Main

"Venom #18" Comic Review

Written by James Ferguson

Published by Marvel Comics


Written by Donny Cates
Illustrated by Iban Coello
Colored by Rain Beredo
Lettered by Clayton Cowles
2019, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on September 11th, 2019


As Carnage continues his quest to absorb all the symbiote codeces by eating spines, Eddie Brock's son, Dylan, is holed up with Normie and the Maker in Rex's warehouse. It's under siege by the Life Foundation symbiotes, Riot, Phage, Lasher, and Agony. Fortunately, another family member popped up to lend a hand in the form of Sleeper.

Yes, there are a lot of players in Absolute Carnage, but it doesn't feel overwhelming or confusing. When I heard talk about this event, the creative team said that every symbiote-related character would be pulled in and they were not lying. Sleeper is a relatively recent addition to the mythos, but a very cool one. He shows how the symbiote can really take charge as his host is a corpse. He's just using it to get around.

Artist Iban Coello highlights this unsettling quality in Sleeper in a great sequence where the character peels back the symbiote coating to reveals the dead body within. I don't know which part I like more, the revelation or the reactions from Dylan and Normie. Remember, they're kids and they just saw all kinds of horrors in the past day or so and now they're seeing a walking corpse.

Click images to enlarge

The symbiotes each have a unique speech pattern, showcased by letterer Clayton Cowles. They tend to match up to their color scheme. For example, Sleeper's voice appears in black word balloons with yellow font, where the minions of Carnage mimic his colors in blood red balloons.

Venom is a main tie-in to Absolute Carnage, so the stuff in here matters more than most, especially since we're dealing with Eddie's son. The kid still thinks Eddie is his big brother and there are a few times that he comes close to finding out the truth. Writer Donny Cates is teasing this out beautifully. I can't wait to see this payoff, as it's going to be an emotional powerhouse.

I know the Maker is supposed to be a bad guy, but my only real experience with him has been in the pages of Venom. Here we get to see what he's truly capable of. He's an evil version of Reed Richards, which is a chilling thought. This is made even more so in this issue as he's really unleashed. I love the look of this more monstrous version of the Maker. Colorist Rain Beredo highlights the darker nature of this villain, especially when he lets loose. There's no hope here or in the immediate vicinity. There's no light at the end of the tunnel here. Dylan and Normie are facing their deaths in this beast.

Click images to enlarge

There's definitely something more going on with Dylan and we get a very brief glimpse of it at the end of Venom #18. I'm hoping this plays out within this arc and/or Absolute Carnage. What is his connection to the symbiote? Does he have one of his own lurking deep within him? In any case, Dylan is very much his father's son, but without all the baggage and bad choices that have bogged Eddie down over the years. It will be interesting to see how his life turns out.

Venom is at the center of Absolute Carnage and there are some major players here that will surely have a part to play in the main story. I love how all the elements of the series to date have come together here in a really satisfying way. Everything is paying off and it's awesome. The scares have so much more impact because we're so invested with these characters. This is what top-notch storytelling looks like in a big shared super hero universe...that happens to be full of alien monsters at the moment.


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Overall: 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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