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"Web of Venom: Funeral Pyre #1" Comic Review

Written by James Ferguson

Published by Marvel Comics


Written by Cullen Bunn
Illustrated by Joshua Cassara & Alberto Alburquerque
Colored by Jay David Ramos
Lettered by Clayton Cowles
2019, 32 Pages, $4.99
Comic released on July 24th, 2019


Andi Benton has been living her life as a moody teenager since losing the symbiote that turned her into Mania. There are still trace elements of the symbiote within her and that's what Carnage is looking for. Andi isn't entirely defenseless though. She bears the Hellmark that gives her control over a horde of demonic monsters. Will that be enough to stop a rampaging serial killer like Carnage?

Web of Venom: Funeral Pyre is terrifying from the very first page. When you open on a shot of Andi literally being eaten by a ravenous symbiote, you know you're in for something crazy. Artist Joshua Cassara instantly sent a shiver down my spine with the image of flesh tearing coupled with the look of abject fear on Andi's face. I'm going to take a moment to remind you that this is how this comic starts.

Andi is haunted by these nightmares of the symbiote reaching out to her and these start to bleed into the day as well. She has these flashes, similar to what we saw Eddie go through in Venom #16, where she'll see or hear something that isn't there. Things start to get a little strange and she's forced to question reality.

Click images to enlarge

The images of the symbiote are some of the creepiest I've ever seen. I'm used to seeing Venom with his bulky frame and sharp teeth. This is more like an emaciated version, hungry for flesh. Artist Alberto Alburquerque picks up the latter half of this issue and turns in equally frightening work of this creature. What really stands out is the tongue, which whips around like a fifth appendage. It has weird growths on it that make me cringe.

Writer Cullen Bunn keeps this unsettling feeling going throughout the entirety of Web of Venom: Funeral Pyre. The knowledge that Carnage is coming only makes this feeling worse because you know that there's no happy ending waiting for Andi. Her terrifying visions will pale in comparison to the real horrors that await her. Some of these hallucinations are the closest thing we'll get to jump scares in comics. They come out of nowhere.

If Andi wasn't plagued by these visions, things would look like a typical day in Philadelphia. The sun is shining, casting a nice glow on the streets as she visits the coffee shop before work. Colorist Jay David Ramos highlights the bright morning full of light. This contrasts so well with the dark cloud that hangs over Andi as she returns home and chaos ensues.

Click images to enlarge

There's a sequence in Web of Venom: Funeral Pyre that I legitimately cannot believe is in a Marvel comic. I've noticed that the big two publishers are really stepping up their horror game and this issue in particular is a perfect example of that. Carnage's appearance is perhaps the most disturbing I've ever seen. I cannot imagine how the guy set it up in the first place or the patience it took to wait until Andi got there to make the big reveal, but boy, did it pay off.

Andi tries and fails to rationalize what she's seeing. She struggles to explain this away. Letterer Clayton Cowles puts some key words in bold to show how Andi is trying to will this reality away. Meanwhile, Carnage stalks her like the monster that he is, taunting her with words shown in blood-red balloons.

Absolute Carnage is coming and I cannot wait. If Web of Venom: Funeral Pyre is even a sampling of what's in store for us, this event is going to be incredible. I will be honest in saying I haven't thought too much about Andi (or her life as Mania) in some time, yet I am enthralled by her story and her fight for her life. That's a testament to the creative team and the story they put together. This book scared the crap out of me.


Story: fivestars Cover
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Art: fivestars
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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