Writer: Donny Cates
Pencilers: Ryan Stegman & Joshua Cassara
Inkers: JP Mayer & Joshua Cassara
Colorist: Frank Martin
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Cover Artists: Ryan Stegman, JP Mayer, & Frank Martin
Variant Cover Artists: Dave Gibbons and John Tyler Christopher
Captured by the Maker and trapped in a symbiote cocoon, Eddie finds himself going through a twisted journey down memory lane. Forced to relive some of his lowest points, he slowly starts to unravel the truth about his life, and more importantly, his relationship with the symbiote. What’s been causing the gaps in Eddie’s psyche? And what’s been ailing him as of late?
If I had to describe this issue in one word, it would simply be: genius. Legitimately, without question, absolutely genius. Not only has this run so far made a clear-cut image of who Eddie is as a character unlike any other, but this issue found a way to make sense of all the retcons, continuity errors, and so on throughout the past few decades of the character’s existence.
To start off, as always, the art is just downright gorgeous. I have to give huge props to the new addition to the art department this issue in the form of Joshua Cassara, as his art style blends incredibly well with that of Stegman’s, and not for one moment does a panel or page look like a mess. If Stegman ever has to take a break again after he and Cates return from their three-issue absence, I think Cassara is more than qualified to fill in for him if possible.
This issue, in a way, feels like the defining moment for Eddie as a character. While I won’t spoil as to how, it ultimately gives him the clarity he’s needed for so many years, in a way that’s both creative and makes sense in the story. I’m incredibly excited to see where he goes from here, especially as he’ll be in Savage Avengers in a few months.
Cates’ writing is just an absolute masterwork to read, and he’s the type of writer who always seems to think outside the box. Undoubtedly, a good amount of people are probably not going to like this issue, or this direction as a whole, but that’s all down to personal preferences in stories. As for me, I’ve been incredibly happy with what Cates has given us, and I can’t wait to see what else he’s cooking up this year.
If you aren’t reading this title yet, you absolutely should. This issue accentuates everything I’ve loved about this run so far: the character development, the art, the gothic horror aesthetic, and so much more. While some may take issue with the direction of the story, I for one absolutely adore it, and I don’t see myself ever getting bored of this run so far. After nearly a year, Venom is still one of the strongest ongoing solo titles of the big two, and this issue is every reason why.