- Venom: First Host #1
Written by Mike Costa
Pencilled by Mark Bagley
Inked by Andrew Hennessy
Colored by Dono Sánchez-Almara
Lettered by VC’s Clayton Cowles
Cover by Mark Bagley & Richard Isanove
Variant Covers by Rod Reis and Paolo Rivera
Venom: First Host (2018) is written by Mike Costa (Transformers, G.I. Joe: Cobra), with art pencilled by Mark Bagley (Ultimate Spider-Man, Fantastic Four), and is in continuity with Costa’s Venom (2017-2018) run. Here, we find Eddie Brock and the Venom symbiote looking after their new spawn, with the help of Alchemax’s very own Liz Allan and Dr. Steve.
After a successful patrol in the department of lethal protection, Brock and the symbiote return to Alchemax to check on their spawn and continue to nurture it. However, the parenting session ends up being cut short, as Brock finds himself getting into a dispute with Liz and Dr. Steve over what they’re allowed to do with the new alien child. When neither side can come to an agreement, Eddie storms out of the building in order to get some fresh air for himself and his other. If things weren’t bad enough, Eddie and the symbiote wind up being ambushed by a powerful enemy, only for an intervention to be made by a mysterious man. Who is he? And why does he seem to be familiar with Brock’s symbiote?
I personally found this issue to be very entertaining, with lots of good humor, action, and character dynamics. Eddie, Liz, and Dr. Steve make a fascinating trio, and I look forward to seeing how this story arc affects all of them. The panel of Eddie and the symbiote looking in awe at their child is such an amusing yet surreal image to me, and I’m definitely gonna be thinking about it for a while. Venom has some really great lines as well during his fight scenes, and I believe we now have a formidable contender against the infamous “french fries” meme. The cold open, which I won’t spoil, was very well-done, but was admittedly a bit rushed, and might have benefitted from being saved for later, rather than in this first issue. While it may go without saying, Bagley’s art is just absolutely stunning, and looks like a perfect mix of the styles he’s used over the years, and is only enhanced by the great ink work by Hennessy and coloring by Sánchez-Almara. However, Costa’s writing is where I find the book lacking a bit, though. The writing itself is good, and manages to get in some pretty well-done lines, but overall, it’s more or less just serviceable. It isn’t a bad thing by any means, but it reads a lot like writing I’ve seen in other comics nowadays. Maybe a nitpick, but it’s nothing spectacular that stands out to me. It gets the job done, and sets up an interesting story, but overall isn’t very memorable, save for a couple humorous lines. In conclusion, I think this is a great first issue for this arc, and I look forward to seeing how this story unfolds for our favorite web-slingin’ anti-hero.