Comics : Venom (Vol. 2) #18
This review was first published on: Aug 2013.
Last issue, Crime Master assembled his new super-villain team, the Savage Six! The members include himself, Jack-O-Lantern, Megatak, Death Adder, and Human Fly. The last team member is Eddie Brock, who has been unwillingly taken over by the Toxin symbiote.
In the middle of the team's first meeting, Venom tried to assassinate Crime Master but was met with the full fury of the Savage Six. The villains quickly took him down and he barely escaped with his life. Sadly, though, Flash's loved ones are now all in danger and Crime Master, with his five new lackeys, can reach them before Venom. Will Flash manage to rescue them before Crime Master reaches them?
Venom (Vol. 2) #18
Jul 2012 : SM Spin-Off
Arc: Part 1 of "Savage Six"
|Articles: Jack O'Lantern VI|
Once he left the Sinister Six's base, Venom goes to Betty Brant's apartment first. After jumping in through Betty's open window, he finds no sign of her inside. Venom calls Betty's cell, but gets her messaging machine. He starts scolding himself over the whole situation, but notices a reminder on her fridge about meeting Peter for coffee.
At Empire Java, Betty is telling Peter about her break-up with Flash. Her phone goes off and she ignores it, saying Flash has called her a dozen times today. Peter tells her that he is "the last person who should be giving romantic advice", and Betty starts rambling about how losers are attracted to her. After being called again, she is about to answer, but Peter stops her, suggesting she does so when she's less angry. Peter tells her to give Flash a chance to explain because he's been through enough.
Once Peter leaves to go to work at Horizon, Betty goes to get more coffee. When she is about to pay for a small Americana, Jack walks up behind her and pays for it himself. Betty remembers him as Flash's friend from his father's funeral from Venom (Vol. 2) #10. After making some small talk about a "bender in Vegas", Jack offers to go somewhere more private to talk to Betty. When she refuses, he grips her arm and begins to pull her.
But before he can do anything to her, Venom smashes through the coffee shop window and Jack says, "Oh, no! It's the terrible super villain Venom!" Flash pushes him to the ground and repeatedly punches him in the face. Before he can really subdue Jack, Betty sprays him with sonic pepper spray, which Peter created for her after her situation with Venom in Venom (Vol. 2) #4. Venom takes it from her and instructs her to leave.
Flash asks Jack how he found Betty, and he reveals that Megatak has been tracking her phone. Then, Megatak actually punches Venom though a cell phone screen. Flash grabs Jack with a web and throws him into Megatak. He leaves to call the Avengers but Megatak's fist meets him through his cell's screen. After dropping his phone, Venom picks up Betty and takes her on top of a building. He throws her phone away and she starts fighting him, when he starts yelling at her.
After apologizing, Venom is trapped in Toxin's red tendrils and Betty starts to fall to the streets. He catches her but Toxin encounters him, smashing Venom's head into the street. Toxin reveals that the only reason why he's part of the Savage Six is to kill Venom for trying to kill the symbiote (which occurred in Venom (Vol. 2) #12). Flash tries to reach Eddie, but it is revealed that Toxin is in control. Quickly, Flash pulls out the sonic pepper spray (which he too from Betty earlier) and momentarily subdues Toxin with it.
Flash is about to put a bullet in Eddie's head, but stops himself because he decides that it isn't his fault that this has happened to him. Instead, he webs him up and tells the citizens nearby to leave and get help because he won't be held for long. A little boy shows Venom where Betty went and he finds her in an alley, hiding behind a dumpster.
"You can come out, Betty. I'm not going to hurt you. No more than I already have," Flash says, revealing his secret identity to Betty.
Wow. This was one crazy issue. One crazy good issue. The whole thing is just wonderfully paced and intriguing. The scene with Betty at the coffee shop was just terrific. The anticipation of it had me pulling my hair out and Remender used Peter well to pluck my nerves when he left. Jack's actual conversation with Betty when he showed up was great too.
Other than a few battles that occurred, there isn't really much more to this issue. The fights were entertaining and I especially enjoyed the fact that Peter made sonic pepper spray for Betty to protect herself. It makes total sense and, thinking about it now, it would almost be out-of-character for Peter to not help Betty like that after her incident. I'm looking forward to how Betty reacts to Flash's reveal.
The only complaints I have about this issue are about Toxin. Firstly, his whole battle with Flash made no proportionate sense at all. His head and height was constantly changing. Second, I don't understand why the sonic pepper spray totally tore Eddie's symbiote away while it barley did any damage to Flash. Remender has problems with Venom's weaknesses, doesn't he? Third, why is the Toxin symbiote reacting to Eddie different that the last host, Patrick Mulligan?
Lastly, I really enjoyed Medina's art. I found the consistency of it to be very sporadic in his earlier issues, but he really raised the bar in this issue. He brings a certain weight to the issue and his realistic style works well with this issue. I must say, his Jack is terrifying and his backgrounds are well-drawn. My only complaints are his Toxin and some of his characters' eyes are misdirected.
Other than a few problems with Toxin, I really enjoyed this issue. Terrific pacing, solid art, what else could I ask for?!