Review: Venom #42
With the recent news that Scarlet Spider and Venom would be ending, another great era of Spider-books seems to be ending. Venom #42 goes out on a great note though, showing how far Flash has come since the book first started.
Cullen Bunn spends most of the issue wrapping up all of the plot threads that he or Rick Remender started in this series. Most of them work nicely, but a couple seem forced. Bunn admits in the letter column that he “tried to tie together to many existing plot threads.” Flash gets his time to be a surrogate father, eliminates the biggest threat facing Philadelphia, and realizes that he’s been somewhat hard on himself his entire life. It’s written very well, and Bunn keeps the more tender moments from being cliched or forced. There is arguable too much fighting in this issue, as Bunn could have spent more time focusing on Flash after the fight. What is his new life as Mania’s mentor? I would have liked to see a few panels of that. Bunn nails Flash’s character moments, showing how much he really has changed while still seeming like the Flash we met when Venom #1 was released.
Venom has been a series that kept surprising me. It was always a lot of fun, and dealt with a lot of characters and villains you didn’t see often in the main Spider-Man books. People complain that great books keep getting cancelled with low numbered runs, but Venom is a great example of a book that bucked that trend. Four Spider-books in a month (five if you count both issues of Superior Spider-Man). As a Spider-Man fan, I was incredibly happy with this. I’m surprised it lasted as long as it did. We’ll now be back down to two books, but it seems like these characters will be sticking around in their current form. Flash has become a big character in the Marvel universe. It’s good to see the House of Ideas taking old characters and finding new spots for them in their line.
Jorge Coelho does a good job on artwork. The monsters and goblins seem right in his wheelhouse. In a few panels, I was somewhat confused as to what was going on. The panel flow wasn’t exactly right. Having the character’s expression go through the mask is something that works for some artists and doesn’t for others. Coelho uses it rather well, not showing the full extent of their facial expressions, but giving the reader the generic idea. Lee Loughridge had a tough job coloring this, as it’s a dark warehouse and two of our heroes are dressed in black. Loughridge adds a small tint of blue to distinguish the heroes and back, something I was happy about when going through a second time.
In the end, Venom was a great title. I pegged it at lasting around 25 issues, maybe 30. But instead, we almost got to 50. In this market, where you need to be related to Batman or the Avengers to last, that’s a big accomplishment. Kudos to Cullen Bunn and the artists.
Venom #42 gets 4/5.
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