Last issue saw Eddie being captured by Silver Sable and her Wildpack mercenary group. We also saw the Beetle make his debut in the Ultimate Universe. He tried to steal a vial of block ooze from the Roxxon Corporation but was thwarted by Spider-Man.
Eddie lies in a holding cell. Bolivar Trask and Adrian Toomes watch as Eddie regains his bearings. Trask explains to Eddie that the Venom suit is worth billions of dollars and that he owns it. It does not matter that Eddie has almost completely bonded with it. Eddie warns Trask that the suit is dangerous and can not really be controlled. He transforms into Venom and tries to attack Trask but the force field keeping him captivity tentatively holds. Eddie begrudgingly gives up and asks Trask what he has to do.
Back at the ESU museum, Spider-Man slowly gets to his feet. The NYC cops from last issue converge on him, guns out at the ready. Spider-Man convinces them of the futility of trying to arrest him and leaves to try and track down Silver Sable.
In the evening, Peter and Mary Jane discuss recent events in Peter's basement. Peter examines a sample of his blood. In a scene taken from the USM video game, Peter discovers that black particles surround his blood cells. He leaves quickly putting on his Spider-Man costume leaving a perplexed Mary Jane in his basement.
In the meantime, Eddie / Venom begins to undergo an experiment spearheaded by Toomes and overseen by Trask. In addition, Silver Sable and her mercenaries provide protection in case Venom escapes containment. Unfortunately, the Beetle makes an unexpected appearance and in the commotion the holding cell of Venom is damaged.
Venom makes his escape and asks the Beetle what he is doing. The Beetle does not answer and slices off one of Venom's tendrils for collection. The Beetle tries to escape but an angry Venom won't have it. The two combatants leave Trask's building and fight it out in the sky above. Venom manages to throw the Beetle into a few cars. A horse-clad policeman tries to interfere but Venom takes a huge chunk out of the horse. The Beetle recovers and subjects Venom to myriad green energy blasts from his wrists.
Spider-Man appears to save the day and gives a solid kick into Venom's chest. Venom becomes enraged by Spider-Man's webs. Spider-Man tells Eddie to stop what he is doing. Shockingly, the Venom suit responds to the nearby presence of Spider-Man and begins to leave Eddie. The suit oozes out from him and seeps unto a horrified Spider-Man.
I can't help but notice the even faster pacing from the last two USM effortd. No one could argue that this story was boring or slow. Plenty of stuff happened while still retaining Bendis's cloaked in mystery goals. We also get a cliffhanger worthy of discussion.
First off, Immonen's art managed to supplement the chaotic nature of Bendis's script. He manages to put lots of detail into the action scenes. Witness the panels where Venom throws Beetle into parked cars. Immonen manages to draw individual bits of car debris in order to heighten the drama and provide a fuller scene. This is just one example where Immonen's attention to detail and sense of story pacing within the context of panels is superbly realized.
In terms of story, Bendis's plan for Eddie Brock / Venom begins to be realized. Eddie is a sympathetic figure not really sure whether he wants or needs the Venom suit. As Venom, his motivations are primal and violent.
Thus, the inner persona of Eddie Brock is given the meaty characterization while Venom is a manifestation of his destructive qualities run amok. Trask and Toomes's role should be delved into further. I like how Eddie is being manipulated by forces outside of his control even in his powerful Venom state.
Peter gets a lot to do in this issue. USM video game players are given that lightly humorous scene where M.J. gets grossed out at Peter examining his own blood. Bendis still writes a good teenage Peter Parker and manages to inject some humor into hat could have devolved into a dark and depressing story.
The cliffhanger, while exciting, seems a bit dubious on closer examination. Up to this point, Bendis had strongly suggested that the Venom suit had bonded to Eddie completely. Now, it is suggested that a part of it desires Peter. Bendis can't have it both ways. I suspect this is just a temporary measure and is meant as a dramatic method to get Spider-Man to interact with the Venom persona on a direct level. Nevertheless, the cliffhanger makes next issue mandatory reading.
This was a thoroughly enjoyable issue with plenty of action. I will also say I enjoyed the even faster pace from the last two issues. The cliffhanger suggests something more is in store than we initially thought.