Venom: First Host #5
Writer: Mike Costa
Pencillers: Mark Bagley & Paco Diaz
Inkers: Andrew Hennessy & Paco Diaz
Colorist: Dono Sánchez-Almara
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Cover Artists: Mark Bagley & Richard Isanove
Variant Cover Artists: Javier Garrón & Dean White
Venom: First Host is written by Mike Costa, with art from Mark Bagley and Paco Diaz, and is in continuity with Costa’s Venom run.
Ensnared by Tel-Kar, and with no way out, Eddie Brock, the Venom symbiote, Sleeper, and M’lanz are all facing down an armada of Kree warships. However, things aren’t exactly as they seem. Can the four of them finally stop Tel-Kar’s psychotic revenge quest once and for all? Loyalty and sacrifice are put to the test as Costa finishes up his grand finale for his version of everyone’s favorite lethal protector.
I’ve had a bit of a rocky relationship with this title, as some issues gained my appreciation, while others gained my disinterest. In a way, it all seems to culminate here, since I have things I really like in this issue, and things that I don’t really like this issue.
To start off with what I like, the art continues to be phenomenal to the very end, and everyone involved does a phenomenal job. While the cover isn’t necessarily fitting for a character like Venom, it’s absolutely gorgeous, although definitely a bit misleading. I won’t spark a debate on whether or not misleading covers are a good thing or not in order to avoid spoilers (if that even is an existing topic), but I don’t necessarily care for it.
Some of the moments in this issue are absolutely brilliant, as well, especially towards the ending. The bar scene between Eddie and a character whose appearance I will not spoil is absolutely brilliant, and it’s a duo I absolutely want to see more of in the future. The final fight has some great moments as well, and the resolution is very well done, and seamlessly ends this arc in order to lead into the new Venom run by Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman. It definitely felt like Costa had a lot of love and passion for Eddie and the symbiote, and I’m glad he showcased it here in this last issue.
Unfortunately, this resolution is a not-so-smooth one. Reading through, it felt like this was supposed to be two issues, as the initial incident gets resolved rather quickly, as well as the final fight between Eddie and Tel-Kar. It felt so rushed and unfitting, with it taking place in broad daylight in the middle of the city, which to me, doesn’t work for the tone of the story. Tel-Kar’s fate was fairly bold and a bit dark, but it raises a question as to why his resolution wasn’t done earlier if it could’ve happened so easily.
Dr. Steve and Liz Allan don’t get a resolution at all, which really bothers me. All we hear is that Liz is kicking him out of Alchemax and that he should never come back due to safety reasons, but neither her nor Dr. Steve come down to have any last words for him. I don’t know if it’s because Donny Cates plans to use them in his current run or not, but if he doesn’t, it’s a horrible way to resolve their story arc on Costa’s part.
In the end, as much as I did have problems with it, I’ve enjoyed Venom: First Host overall. While it does seem to just primarily exist to fill the gap between Costa’s run and Cates’s run with Venom, it was still thoroughly enjoyable, albeit very rushed. It wasn’t exactly the big ending that I think Costa wanted it to be, but I’d say it served its purpose very well. If anyone wants to know what Eddie was up to before “God” started coming, I’d definitely recommend checking this mini-series out.