Comics : Venom (Vol. 2) #20

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This story is part of an Arc: "Savage Six"
     Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3 / Part 4

This review was first published on: Aug 2013.

Background...

Crime Master has assembled a super villain team called the Savage Six, which consists of himself, Jack O' Lantern, Human Fly, Toxin, Megatak, and Death Adder. After Venom tried to assassinate him, Crime Master ordered the group to go and find all of Flash's loved ones, possibly killing them.

Venom was able to rescue Betty but had to reveal his secret identity to gain her trust. Afterwards, he saved his sister, Jesse, from Jack O' Lantern, but Betty was taken by Toxin while he was distracted. Now, he has to find his mother, who was hinted to have possibly been eaten by the Human Fly.

In Detail...

"The Truth"
Venom (Vol. 2) #20
Sep 2012 : SM Spin-Off
Arc: Part 3 of "Savage Six"
Writer:  Cullen Bunn, Rick Remender
Pencils:  Lan Medina, Robert Atkins
Inker:  Nelson DeCastro, Rick Ketcham
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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Articles: Jack O'Lantern VI

Flash walks into his mother's apartment building disguised as a mailman. He opens her door with his symbiote and finds the apartment has been trashed. Nobody is inside, but there is a pool of the Human Fly's vomit on the floor. While he is distracted, Death Adder sneaks up behind Venom, slashes him with his poisonous claws, and throws him through the wall.

The poison starts affecting Venom's thinking, but he is able to concentrate and find a knife set in the kitchen. He stabs Death Adder with various knives, but Adder gains the upper hand by choking Venom with his tail. Nearby neighbors are alerted by the battle and Venom is starting to pass out because of the poison. With quick thinking, Venom touches the vomit on the floor to wake himself up. Meanwhile, Death Adder flees to kill a civilian, but Venom grabs him with a web and smashes him into the wall.

In the other room, a woman and her child are peacefully waking up until Venom and Death Adder smash into their apartment. Venom manages to maneuver Death Adder in a headlock and snaps his neck since he had no choice. He's not happy about it but leaves quickly to find the Human Fly.

In the Human Fly's base, an abandoned clock tower, Flash's mother is scared to death, surrounded by bones of eaten people. Venom is standing above the Human Fly, who is webbed to the floor. Venom, who is obviously pissed, cuts off Fly's wing and asks where they took Betty. He figured that Fly took his mom to the clock tower because he "always brings his victims to the same place."

Fly tries to tell Flash's mom, who is terrified of Venom, about his secret identity, but Venom says, "You speak to her again and we'll see how well you fly with one eye and no wings." Fly caves and tells him that he will talk, but Venom tells his mom to close her eyes while he rips off Fly's other wing. Then, he tells him to talk.

Meanwhile, at Crime Master's base, Betty is guided into a room by one of Crime Master's henchmen. She finds the room is a shrine illuminated by candles and pictures of Betty and her brother, Bennett, cover the wall. Crime Master stands in the middle of the room with Toxin, Megatak, Toxin, and Jack O' Lantern. Crime Master says, "An ode to Bennett and his little sis, Betty Brant. To the family. A family that was stripped away from me. But don't feel too badly--crime is my family now."

Crime Master reveals his identity to be Bennett Brant.

Betty is surprised, thinking that Bennett was dead, but he tells her that he is right here and they can be together again. Bennett says, "And for our first family night? We're gonna nuke some TV dinners and you're gonna watch me murder the hell out of Flash Thompson." (Oh @$%#!)

In General...

This was one quick issue. Venom takes down both Death Adder and Human Fly (brutally) and Crime Master's identity is revealed to be Bennett Brant. I must admit, I thought Crime Master was General Dodge, making Bennett's reveal even more surprising, which brings up these questions: How did he return from the dead? Why didn't he reveal his identity to Betty earlier? Why did he put Betty in danger in the first arc? Hopefully this will be answered next issue.

Otherwise, I am really liking this arc. You can totally tell that Remender's been building up to this arc and it's been very exciting. My enjoyment doesn't waver with this issue, but I am a bit confused with how the last issue was followed up. What happened to Jesse? Did Venom simply leave her? Did Venom even try to go after Toxin to save Betty? Did Jack O' Lantern just fly away after Venom saved Jesse? Now, when you read the arc in order, this issue is somewhat jarred behind the last one. I'm a stickler to continuity, so this issue loses half of a web because of these quibbles.

Other than that, there isn't really anything else to this issue. The art is solid as last issue. Lan Medina keeps up the action and Robert Atkins' fill-in art works well with Medina's. The creepiness of this issue was captured well (Death Adder's whole silent-but-deadly thing) and Flash's narration is great.

Overall Rating...

An overall good issue, but it doesn't follow the last one well, so it loses half a web.