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Venom 25 Main

"Venom #25" Comic Review

Written by James Ferguson

Published by Marvel Comics

article-cover

Written by Donny Cates
Illustrated by Mark Bagley
Inked by Andy Owens
Colored by Frank Martin
Lettered by Clayton Cowles
Additional artwork from Ryan Stegman, JP Mayer, and Frank Martin
2020, 43 Pages, $5.99
Comic released on May 27th, 2020

Review:

When we last left Eddie Brock, he was saved by the Avengers from the Carnage symbiote...or was he? The depths of this battle are explored further in Venom #25, showing how Eddie's son, Dylan, plays into it, and separating what's real from fantasy as this series takes its steps towards it next big event. If you though Absolute Carnage was epic, just wait until you see what's in store for us.

This issue has a good amount of catch up as Eddie recounts his adventures during the series so far. Under other circumstances, this would have been overboard, but considering this is the first Venom comic in a couple of months due to the pandemic, it's a welcome sight. It also helps to set the stage for what's coming next in a big way. Writer Donny Cates frames this as a conversation, with Eddie telling his story. Throughout the whole comic we're wondering who he's talking to and what that will mean (although you can put the pieces together as we get deeper into the book and it's ultimately revealed by the end).

As a result, we get the conclusion of Venom Island, which comes with its own set of amazing moments and revelations about Dylan's powers while also setting up what comes next in a big way. Cates has said in interviews that he has quite a lot planned for this book and it definitely shows. It will be awesome to go back and re-read this series from the beginning. I'd honestly love to do that with the beginning of each arc, as there are tidbits in each issue that contribute to this vast growing narrative.

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Artist Mark Bagley delivers some incredible work in Venom #25 through multiple locations. There are the solemn, up-close shots as Eddie tells his story, where we're only focused on the man's face and all the emotion that entails. Then there are the action sequences on the island as Carnage battles a Venom T-Rex. (That's an awesome sentence I never thought I'd type.) As if that wasn't enough, there's also Dylan's struggle, both in New York City and in his father's mind. It's riveting from beginning to end.

Perhaps the most chilling sequence comes with that battle of the mind where Dylan tries to help his father free himself from the Carnage symbiote. There's one panel in particular, where Cletus Kasady shows up and then births Carnage from his torn flesh, that is so friggin' creepy. We already knew that this is one of Venom's fiercest foes, if not the deadliest, and this just seals the deal. Andy Owens' inks accentuate all the great details in Bagley's pencils.

Carnage is shown in his typical blood-red shade, conveying his monstrous energy. His very appearance is threatening. I love how he pops on the page both on the island and in the mind. It shows how Carnage is terrifying even in the noon day sun. He's always a cold-blooded killer. Colorist Frank Martin works wonders.

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There are a few symbiotes at play in Venom #25 and letterer Clayton Cowles differentiates them with their own unique sound. For example, Carnage's words are more erratic, coinciding with his insanity, while Sleeper looks more alien with its yellow-green font and odd shaped word balloons. These are terrific details.

There's a backup story included in Venom #25 that flashes back to Eddie's previous experience on this island. While it reunites the creative team from an earlier Venom story, it feels out of place in this book. This is because it's far more lighthearted (even with some murders) than the main story. Eddie seems carefree as he digs into some canned peaches before dispatching some smugglers. It's a stark contrast to what came earlier in the same issue.

Venom continues to build. I was already loving this series, but the glimpses we see of what's to coming, shown in a few brilliant double-page spreads from Ryan Stegman, JP Mayer, and Frank Martin make me even more excited. We get an idea of what we can expect and it's going to be huge. I cannot wait. Venom seamlessly blends the big bold energy of the Marvel Universe with the best aspects of the horror genre.

Grades:

Story: fourandahalfstars Cover
Buy from Amazon US
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Buy from Amazon US
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Buy from Amazon UK
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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