Comics : Venom (Vol. 2) #9

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This review was first published on: Dec 2011.

Background...

Spider-Island is done and gone, and now Ny'ers can get back to their routine lives, that is once they find some clothing. The post disaster has left things a bit unorganized, giving crime an opportunity to succeed in a relatively lawless state, but thankfully Agent Venom is still on duty.

In Detail...

"Capital Punishment"
Venom (Vol. 2) #9
Jan 2012 : SM Spin-Off
Writer:  Rick Remender
Artist:  Steffano Caselli
Cover Art:  Stefano Caselli, Steffano Caselli
Lettering:  VC's Joe Caramagna
Colorist:  John Rauch
Executive Producer:  Alan Fine
Publisher:  Dan Buckley
Chief Creative Officer:  Joe Quesada
Editor In Chief:  Axel Alomso
Senior Editor:  Stephen Wacker
Associate Editor:  Tom Brennan
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Issue
Review

We drop in on Venom web swinging his way back to the hospital where he left his beloved Betty. Upon arriving there, she is nowhere to be seen, which leaves Flash to wonder. Meanwhile the streets are being steam rolled through by a massive specially armored tank. The tank plows its way into a bank and the driver fails to avoid running over some helpless man. This agitates Venom who manages to position himself on top of the large vehicle. The tank operator tears open a bank safe using controls and mechanical arms to acquire the money. As hard as he tries Venom is completely unable to penetrate the tank or stop it from running its course.

Venom becomes increasingly angry as the tank and its driver shows total reckless abandonment towards all living things. The final straw comes when he rolls right over a mother and her young son. The symbiote transforms into an all out monster alien freak show, and attempts to tear off the hatch to the tank. The operator realizes he’s being attacked by Venom (even calling him by that name) and pushes a button causing jolts of electricity to surge from the tank into Venom.

Venom attempts to thwart the tank by stopping it head on, but fails to fully apply the break, allowing the tank to blast off (by rocket power I’m guessing) and thrust itself into the air. The tank maneuvers its way into the rooftop opening of a building in New Jersey and finally comes to a halt.

The man on the inside exits the tank and becomes busy singing his own praises, and as he’s about to gather up his stolen loot, he’s surprisingly reminded that he’s not alone. Venom has come to pay him a little visit and he doesn’t look too happy. The big bad alien monster proceeds to torture the culprit and punish him brutally, by way of slashing him, crushing his knuckles, slamming his head against a hard canvas repeatedly, scarring the poor bastard half to death, and scolding him for his wicked crimes. If that wasn’t enough retribution, (in a scene too gruesome for color) Venom apparently takes a bite out of the man and spits it out before walking away as the man dies. (I’m not assuming the man died, it actually says “he dies”.)

The following scene has Betty and Flash getting reacquainted in an apartment, and Flash telling her a false story about his activity during Amazing Spider-man 672. It ends with her reading him the final words of Flash’s now deceased father. (Which are not really important to the plot) The final panel artistically (just for effect) shows a giant backdrop of Agent Venom behind the cityscape.

In General...

This was a short and simple story with a lot of impact. I don’t think anyone who saw this will soon forget the intensity. I feel like this was a very satisfying issue and exactly what Venom fans have been hoping for; Some good old fashioned violence and hardcore vengeance as best served by their favorite symbiotic alien life form. The book has been lacking this kind of material and connection with the original character. Top that off with a pretty wild ride and, you just have 1 heck of an action piece. Despite not having much supporting cast the story does remarkably well to get the point across. Simply put; Venom means business.

Overall Rating...

Talk about a step up in quality. The art in this book just went from like 5 to 9. I was blown away by the awesome visuals not just in pencil but the color as well. Work by new artist Stefano Caselli, is tremendous; everything from expressions to physical wounds look wonderfully realistic and powerful. I could almost take away a half point for the story being too shallow but I’ll let it slide due to the nature of the series. Overall I was quite impressed and undoubtedly entertained by the level of conviction.