After forming an uneasy truce with Spider-Man in Amazing Spider-Man #375, Venom headed out West to find his own city to protect. San Francisco comes to find itself with its own lethal protector.
Venom confronts and kills a mugger, leaving his traumatized rescue to run screaming in horror. Venom, blissfully unaware of the terror he inflicted, muses over his quest to protect his new home of San Francisco as he looks for a place to stay. Unfortunately, two police officers recognize Eddie and attempt to arrest him as he books a room in a hotel. Venom easily takes down the cops and leaves, but not before a bystander catches him on camera.
Later in New York, Peter Parker is paid for some photographs when Ben Urich tells him about Venom’s sighting out west. Peter muses over his history with Venom: finding and ditching the symbiote, its bonding with Eddie, their frequent battles after and finally their uneasy truce after Spidey helped to save Eddie’s ex-wife. Peter decides it’s his responsibility to try and capture Venom and gets a flight for the coast.
The next day, Eddie comes across some homeless people being bullied by thugs in suits. Venom intervenes until Spidey finds them and attacks Venom, believing him the aggressor. Venom stops Spidey’s attacks long enough to set him straight, helped by the thugs unloading semi-automatic weapons at them. Spidey deals with the thugs, while Venom escapes with the homeless people. Elsewhere, General Orwell Taylor sees a news report about the spider-fight. He puts in a call to his associate Elkins and tells him their target has been sighted.
Meanwhile, the homeless people take Eddie into the tunnels that are their homes, offering him a place to stay if their council agrees to it. Eddie is filled in on Roland Treece and his attempts to evict them when they’re suddenly confronted by Treece’s men in digger suits: high-tech excavation equipment. Venom defends the people from the diggers, but their sonic shovels and laser drills are able to hurt him in return. The battle leads to Venom and a digger falling through the ground and finding themselves thrust into San Francisco’s past.
Venom’s first foray into the realm of an anti-hero starts off fairly well. Michelinie hits all the right notes, presenting what is essentially a twisted Spider-Man story, which is nicely accented as always by Bagley’s artwork. A nice touch was Spidey quickly backtracking on their deal, which shows that even though he was willing to go with it at the time, he had reservations about it. Overall, a good, albeit average read that one can expect from a set-up issue.
Three webs. Despite being a good read, this issue’s main purpose was just to set-up the rest of the series meaning nothing above average really happened.
Venom’s first solo book. Although this takes place after ASM #375, it was actually released a month earlier. This mini-series would become the basis for the video game Spider-Man & Venom: Separation Anxiety.