Comics : Venom (Vol. 2) #16

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This review was first published on: Jul 2013.

Background...

Human Fly. He's ugly. He barfs acid. Venom took him down in Venom Vol. 2. That's all you need to know.

Oh...and Venom joined the Secret Avengers. Sadly.

In Detail...

Venom (Vol. 2) #16
Jun 2012 : SM Spin-Off
Summary: Prisoner Transfer Of The Fly Thrusts Venom Into One Of The Most Dire Conflicts Of His Young Super Career!
Writer:  Rick Remender
Artist:  Kev Walker
Cover Art:  Michael Del Mundo
Lettering:  VC's Joe Caramagna
Colorist:  Chris Sotomayor
Executive Producer:  Alan Fine
Publisher:  Dan Buckley
Chief Creative Officer:  Joe Quesada
Editor In Chief:  Axel Alomso
Senior Editor:  Stephen Wacker
Editor:  Tom Brennan
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Review
Articles: Green Goblin IV (Phil Urich)

Our story begins inside a slick, high tech monorail with an unsanitary criminal as a passenger. Our star anti-hero, Venom, is monitoring the Human Fly's transportation to the Raft, trying to avoid any inconveniences. "Some people think there ain't no difference between personal an' business," Fly says to Venom. "It's all the same. Dirt bag in one equals dirt bag in the other. But me, I see the nuance in life. Complicated, yes?" He exclaims that he has killed for personal reasons; he's eaten his girlfriend. (Or a girl, anyways.) Fly confirms that he is a bad guy and deserves to be in the Raft.

"But there's another side to me. This Fly's nuanced," Fly exclaims. A week ago, he claims, he "swiped a couple-few million dollars from a human-trafficking, drug-donkey, ugliness-parade" from the Kingpin. (Those are not my words. I have not the slightest clue of what a "drug-donkey" is.) Then, he mentions that he has a son named Sammy, who is nine years old. (What woman would...Never mind.) Fly explains that he stole the money to buy Sammy a future he owes him and Sammy's mother abandoned him. (If his mother is anything like Fly, Sammy is extremely lucky. Sorry, I seriously cannot stop myself.)

"Ain't cut and dry like you want it to be. I'm a bad guy, true, but I love my boy. And Kingpin gonna kill my Sammy if I don't return his money," Fly says. Venom finally says something, "Give me his information. We'll get your son into protective relocation services." The Human fly is appalled that he would even consider that, and explains that Kingpin can find and kill him "no matter what." Fly asks, "Ain't you ever sunk down low? Needed a second chance?" Venom remembers when he was drunk in an alley in Las Vegas.

Taking Venom's silence as a no, Fly asks him to give Sammy a note from him which is in his belongings. "Just want him to know his old man loves him before the gangsters kill him," Fly finishes. Next to the cell, a door opens with an agent who needs Venom to sign a transfer. They walk into a room that has no other guards. The agent mentions that Venom was assigned to the mission by the Avengers and the Kingpin has a ten million dollar marker on the Human Fly.

Venom confirms that they're randomizing the route to the Raft so no one can find him but the agent is concerned that one of their guards may have picked up the marker. He wants Venom to get them locked up in the second cell so they can't do any damage and they'll find out whose guilty later.

Soon, Venom walks into the cell room with the guards with symbiote tendons around the agent's neck. "I just got word from HQ--Agent Dalrymple here accepted a bribe to assassinate our prisoner. The source says he's rigged the Fly's holding cell to blow. We gotta move him," Venom explains to the guards. He hands Agent Dalrymple to the guards and instructs them to wait in the cell while he brings them the Fly.

While Venom's back is turned and he is opening Fly's cell, the Hobgoblin gets on board somehow. Its unclear how he got aboard but he is seen stabbing the two guards with his fiery sword and he says, "Hi. I'm not Agent Dalrymple. I'm the Hobgoblin." He tells Venom that he has scrambled all outgoing signals. As Venom attempts to take him down, Hobgoblin offers him a contract to help him kill the Human Fly, then Crime-Master and Jack O' Lantern, since he knows he's been hunting leads on them.

"Wiping out three psychos must sound pretty appealing to some part of you. My employer will pay you ten million cash for this help," Hobby offers. Venom, on the other hand, isn't doing well with the battle since the symbiote is vulnerable to fire. "Think for a second. Ten million buys you anything you want--servants, a beach house, a chalet in the mountains, a naked lady party yacht--happiness," Hobby exclaims while having Venom's head on his fiery sword. Venom, clearly not in any position to bargain, agrees to kill Human Fly for the money.

Venom's symbiote forms a sword and Fly tells him, "Fine--sure! Go right ahead! Maybe you can help them kill my son, too." Venom replies, "Does it make you mad, Deacon? Does it make you mad enough to spit?" Fly gets the cue and barfs acid all over Hobgoblin. Hobby, in response, throws down some pumpkin bombs, blowing a wall off the monorail. Following the explosion, Venom jumps out of the smoke and tries to attack Hobgoblin, but is caught off guard by his high-pitched laugh. (The symbiote is also vulnerable to sonics, conveniently.)

Venom is toppled to the ground and Hobgoblin stabs the symbiote with his fiery sword. In another room, a group of agents watch though a window as Venom is taken down, saying that the conductor isn't responding and the doors are all jammed. Back in the cell room, Venom webs Hobby's face to stop his laughing. Sadly, his plan backfires when Hobgoblin flies through the monorail and Venom is launched into the air. Hobby, in midair, cuts Venom's symbiote, which he was hanging on by, and he fall into a building. Below, Venom makes a web net to catch him from landing on a group of chefs beneath him.

Meanwhile, on the monorail, an agent is trying to communicate with the conductor, telling him that he's overshot the route, but the conductor has a bullet in his head. The Human Fly, after burning off his handcuffs with acid, flies away, thinking Hobgoblin and Venom took each other down. But Hobgoblin flies down and smashes him into the monorail roof. Human Fly gains the upper hand by cutting Hobby with his wing and barfing acid on his hand. Then, knowing the Kingpin is probably listening, Fly tells him as he bites into Hobby's neck, "I'm eatin' your assassin! You hear me chewin'?!"

Hobgoblin stabs Fly in the back and they both retreat to other ends of the roof. Hobby asks him where the money is and Fly refuses to tell him. A group of agents climb up to the top of the monorail and attempt to stop them, but Hobgoblin blows them up with pumpkin bombs.

Directly after that, Venom jumps a motorcycle onto the roof of the monorail and it drives into Hobby, knocking him off board. "You'll have to kill me to stop me. I'll die before I see that pig hurt my boy," Fly says. Venom is about to take him down when he hears a cry for help from an agent, who is barely hanging on to the monorail. "Kill me or grab the guard. Let me have my boy. I'll turn myself in once I do," Fly tells him. Venom grabs the agent and Fly flies away, explaining, "Please still deliver the letter to my son, in case I don't make it."

Later, Venom opens up the letter that was supposedly to Sammy and it reads, "I don't have a son!"

In General...

As I reviewer, it's usually easy for me identify a story that takes up a single issue as a done-in-one or a filler. This issue, though, was hard for me. The main point of it was to release the Human Fly from prison so he can join the Savage Six, which is the big arc which starts next issue. That's pretty much the basis of a filler, to set up things or fill space. But I found the story itself very entertaining. The twist with the Fly at the end was well done and the part where Venom had to choose between saving the agent or stopping Fly was great. It's a hard call.

Other than that, I have a few other problems with the story. First of all, Hobgoblin's appearance on the monorail was done poorly. It was said that Hobgoblin was posing as Agent Dalrymple, but I don't quite see how. He looked like a normal human being, but when Venom turned his back for seconds, Hobgoblin changed from human attire to his Hobgoblin costume, wings and all. And the human attire wasn't even the Hobgoblin's identity, Phil Urich's build or face. Plus, the guards must have been watching him change because he was seen killing them when Venom turned around.

Then, we saw Venom drive into Hobgoblin with a random motorcycle. Flash certainly doesn't own a motorcycle, so where did he get it? Did he steal it? Flash wouldn't steal somebody's motorcycle and just drive it into a guy with a flaming torch, would he? It's bizarre.

Lastly, I was angered at how little Venom's symbiote was affected by Hobgoblin's fire and sonics. He was almost undamaged by any of it. Usually, when fire or sonics are around the symbiote, it retreats from its host and tries to flee from it. I mean, sure it's a lame weakness, but it certainly cannot simply be ignored.

On the other hand, Kev Walker's art is solid enough. It tells the story, but a few of the heads are shaped strangely and I found some scenes were represented strangely, like the one with Hobgoblin arriving on the monorail. I also found it questionable how the Fly kept on spitting acid at Hobgoblin and bit into his neck, but he looked overall unaffected. Regularly, I would expect him to be dead from all of he was put through. Hobgoblin is just a human beneath the costume.

Overall Rating...

Overall, this issue was a bit of a combination of a filler and done-in-one. I would give it 3 webs, but there are a few glaring mistakes that I was angered by, which decreases the score by a whole half-a-web.