You know, of all the titles Marvel's released in the Tsunami line, I must say this book has thus far shown it's self to be the weakest of the lot. While I kind of like the horror movie inspired concept of the book, and a few of the characters, as a whole this title has been, well let's face it rather dull and Francisco Herrera's muddled art hasn't been helping any. Oh if only I could review Runaways, Namor or Sentinel for this site. Or the Crew... yeah that's a really fun book.
Previously Perry, the half-crazed survivor of the massacre in the first issue turned out to be a red herring as to Venom's host. Meanwhile there was much panic among the crew of the artic radar station "Christmastown" as the base was engulfed in a storm. As the crew of the base tried to figure out just what was going on, Ivan the sled dog was revealed to be Venom's host, but alas we the reader were denied the potentially cool image of a symbiote-possessed dog. Really sometimes the best parts of these book happen between the lines. Anyway two mysterious figures go about lurking the base at night, one of whom turns out to be Perry, and the other being Venom. Oh yeah, and there's a mysterious Man in Black style character surveying the science lab that got slaughtered in the first issue. Almost forgot about that point.
Anyway after much debate as issue number two ends, we find our heroine Lt. Patricia Robertson unarmed and corned by an rather irate symbiote.
Things do not look good for Lt. Patricia Robertson. With Jackson unconscious and Perry being his usual hysterical idiot self, she's as good as alone and helpless against the Venom symbiote who reaches out to grab her.
Just before the symbiote can kill/possess Robertson a sudden blue blast of electricity stuns the symbiote, Robertson's savior turning out to be The Man in Black from the previous issue. I was tempted to name the guy "Mr. Mib" but according to the summery page at the start of the issue his name is actually "The Suit."
"The creature will recover in seconds. I advise you to run very quickly. The force required to terminate the creature has been projected to be fatal to all carbon-based organisms within a thirty foot blast radius." The Suit warns our protagonist, and asks her to leave Jackson and Perry behind. Robertson however seems rather reluctant to leave them behind. Mr. Suit finds Robertson's sense of loyalty admirable as "such conviction is very rare among your species." PLOT POINT... "The Suit" is an alien.
Venom rebounds from the previous attack just in time for Suit to zap it with another blue electrical blast from his handy cell phone. I wonder if my cell phone has that function. I mean Nokia's these days can do just about everything and I'm still trying to figure out how to use the address book on mine. Mr. Suit advises Robertson to gather up her comrades and leave before now, or wind up being destroyed along with venom. The symbiote meanwhile pulls back to reveal it's current host to be Col. Michael Malone just in time for Jackson to regain consciousness. Malone, or Venom controlling Malone apparently begs for mercy. Mistaking Suit for the bad guy he turns his gun towards the guy and fires two warning shots. Big mistake. This allows Venom to make his escape.
Robertson at this point wants an explanation for just what the heck is going on, and "The Suit" explains that Venom is a parasite from outer space, and that he's here to isolate and destroy it. Jackson however doesn't buy this explanation, and points out that being officers of the US Army Suit has to recognize their authority.
"You have no authority. You will do as I say or you will die." You know every time I hear Suit talk, I hear Agent Smith's voice in my head offering me a bottle of Powerade. Suit asks Jackson to put down his gun, and explains how the symbiote jumps from host to host, mimicking their appearance and mannerisms while feeding off of the host's vital fluids gradually destroying it. I wonder at what point Eddy Brock found this out. He obviously seems to know it in Spectacular Spidey. Anyway unchecked Venom will move on to a large population becoming both harder to track down and more powerful. Jackson is still skeptical and demands that Mr. Suit put down his weapon, or cellphone. Mission Specialists, and creepy-looking ethnic caricature Jermone Delacroix shows up with riffle pointed at Suit's head. Suit seems rather non-pulsed by this and states that at this point we have to assume that anyone could potentially be Venom. He charges up his Nokia for another shot, but Jackson pistol-whips the snazzy dressed alien unconscious.
Delacroix wants to know just what exactly what's going on, and despite all of this exposition Jackson really can't answer him. Perry meanwhile flees for his life, like the terrified half-crazy little guy he is. Jackson showing the latest, in a long string of dubious decisions decides that the group should split up. Delacroix runs off after Perry, while Robertson and Jackson are going to track down Malone/Venom. Robertson decides this is a bad idea, but reluctantly goes along with it. She also decides to unarm Suit by taking away his "phone or gun or... whatever it is."
Big mistake. "It's not... a gun. It's a conductor." Suit says, as he ZZZKKKT's the two into unconsciousness. PLOT POINT: "The Suit" is an energy based being.
After tying up and locking the unconscious duo in the pantry, the suit dials up his superior on his phone/conductor and then uses it to track Venom with it's handy radar function. Yeah that's a neat feature, but how's his text-messaging service?
"It has located transportation." Vemon speeds towards his foe in supply truck, courteous enough to honk the horn in order to warn Suit. Venom wants to know why the Suit is after him Mr. Suit frankly tells him that he knows what Venom is, and that he knows what he is. Venom argues that Suit is no better than he is, and Suit finds this no better than he is. "That is arguable." Suit replies
As Venom revs up the truck's engine, Suit firs another blast of blue electricity at Venom, shattering the truck's windshield, prompting Col. Malone to keel over. Dammit, dammit, dammit. There goes the best supporting character in the story arch.
"If it makes you feel any better, he's been dead for quite a while. These humans... they're not very sturdy... not like us." Venom says as he engulfs Suit, causing his sunglasses to fall off. PLOT POINT: "The Suit" has no eyes, only black dark holes where they should be.
Meanwhile Lt. Robertson and Jackson come to in the dry storage room to find their hands bound behind their back and to each other. Robertson is now considerably concerned that Venom might return, and Jackson is suspicious that "The guy in the suit" is using the two as bait. Jackson doesn't think that The Suit cares whether the two live or die, however Lt. Robertson points out that The Suit did save the two from Venom while he was knocked out. She also points out that she stared Venom in the face, and that it's not going to stop and leave until it's not going to go away until they're dead. Furthermore he's also the only one who seems to be capable of destroying the monster.
"But--" Jackson interrupts. "But what Jackson? In Either case, the fact of the matter is this: our only chance of getting out of here alive... is him."
Alas Jackson and Robertson's chances of getting out alive are not looking too good at the moment as, The Suit is now up to his neck in symbiote and looking dead.
Well, I suppose I can't complain about the slow pacing anymore, as the plot moved rather quickly in this issue but well... the sudden shift in tone and focus away from Robertson's encounter with the unworldly menace of Venom, towards The Suit and his conflict with Venom was somewhat jarring and slightly unnerving.
As far as characters go, The Suit has a neat concept and interesting powers but his look and dialog are so obviously based on Agent Smith that it's not funny.
And I finally realized what's been bothering everyone, my self included with Francisco Herrera's art so much. His art style essentially comes across as a poor man's Humberto Ramos, and while I love Ramos' art on Spectacular Spiderman, Herrera's art comes across as rather flat and uninspired. Throw in somewhat confusing page layouts and... well let's face it, I think we're all glad this book is getting a new artist with issue number six.
Another month, another dull issue of Venom. Yawn.
Still it's better than those miniseries from the 90s.