Venom, who was on a mission for the Secret Avengers, ran into a supernatural ground called the D.O.A. There, he confronted Daimon Hellstrom, who possessed Venom with a demon with the hopes of forcing him to join the demonic Monsters of Evil. An exorcist informed Venom that the only person who can expel the demon from him is Hellstrom because it had been bonded to him unwillingly. So, Venom tracked Hellstrom to a zoo and battled him, where Daimon unleashed the Monsters of Evil! (The least creatively named villain group!)
Our story begins hastily with Venom being smashed into the ground by a member of the Monsters of Evil, a monster-ape. Then, he is picked up by a demonic cow’s mouth (you read that right) and impales it with symbiote spikes, releasing himself from its jaws. Venom, while shooting at a three-headed Sphinx woman and a thorny worm, decides that they aren’t the monsters aren’t trying to kill him. Daimon Hellstrom reveals that he possessed each of the Monsters of Evil with demons but even before, they were all “ancient and powerful.”
Once Venom is quickly (ridiculously) beaten by the Monsters of Evil, he is chucked into an abandoned reptile house. After some contemplating, he concludes that he knows how to beat the monsters. Meanwhile, Hellstrom is commanding his demons to find Venom. When the three-headed Sphinx discoveries him, Flash shanks her in the head. She starts shrieking and the other four Monsters of Evil are attracted to the location.
Later, Hellstrom is wandering the zoo when Venom emerges behind him. Daimon tells him that he is “outnumbered and outmatched.” But Venom reveals that he is not unaccompanied. The Monsters of Evil arrive and easily subdue Hellstrom. Venom orders the beasts to exit without him hearing about them again. He crouches next to Hellstrom, informing him they have a lot to talk about.
Later, Venom is speaking to Hellstrom, who is inside a cell on the Raft. Venom enquires him why he can control demons. Daimon explains that Mephisto and other demon superiors have been marking potential heirs for “the day one of the Hell-lords will fall farther than the others.” He pronounces that someone who has been marked could rule a corner of Hell.
Daimon explains that they have been marked which is why he has betrayed the heroes. He’s chosen the allies he believes will be the “most useful in the days to come.” Hellstrom articulates, “Sometimes, you do the right thing for the wrong reasons. Sometimes, the only way to combat ultimate evil is with ultimate evil.” Hellstrom concludes him fulminating saying that they are going to help each other and inquiring, “Would you rather see me sitting on a throne of Hell… Or would you rather see a real $#@% get the job?”
Shortly at Katy Kiernan’s apartment, Venom is visiting and tells her that he defeated Hellstrom, but the demon is still in him. Flash thanks Katy and asks her for help against the D.O.A. She inserts that he must pay her and the deal is settled. Later, Flash is atop building, leaving a voicemail for Betty when he is called by the Secret Avengers about a prison break.
While the first two parts of this story were mediocre, this concluding issue is plain horrendous. Firstly, this issue suffers a shoddy plot. Venom battles the Monsters of Evil, as one would expect, and then anticlimactically turns them against Daimon Hellstrom. Once they easily defeat him, seeds are planted for the inevitable follow-up to this arc. That’s as throwaway come.
But the plot looks golden next to the issue’s execution, which lacks any real prowess. Or quality for that matter. Venom’s battle with the Monsters of Evil is pathetic as Flash is defeated ridiculously easily and the monster’s attack against Hellstrom is horribly demonstrated, mainly because it was all off-panel. Then, the monsters simply walk away from Venom, which is about as anticlimactic as conclusions come. The whole issue’s panel layout feels like the issue is being rushed toward some big payoff that never happens. The dialogue is nothing to admire either, with no really captivating conversation.
I think one of the main problems with this story, though, is the Monsters of Evil. The demons are poorly named and poorly conceived. Let’s see what the team’s got… A giant ape, a giant tiki, a giant Sphinx lady, a giant ox, and a giant worm. The adjectives I used correlate with how cheap their designs are. They all look absurd instead of menacing and seem like something you would find on a video game in your nearest pizza joint.
You know what also annoyed me? The demon which possessed Venom didn’t even show up in this entire issue! I mean, I didn’t enjoy it last issue, but you would at least expect it to come around sometime during the conclusion. Wasn’t the entire point of why Venom went after Hellstrom to force him to release it from him anyways? What happened to that? Now, we’ve got the stupid demon as a recurring theme in the book. This is all evidence that the possession thing is just a gimmick used to set up more supernatural storylines.
So, with the problems of the story past us, the art is sloppy and lacks a pull to the demonic script. The drawing is overall messy during the action sequences, with the Monster of Evil’s sizes seeming to alter on every page. The art doesn’t manage to give the monsters a menacing or terrifying sensation. Furthermore, the dialogue scenes are poorly drawn and I have become irritated over the fact that a lot of Venom’s poses seem recycled from the past two issues.
This was a terrible issue. Poorly plotted, anticlimactic, inhabited with absurd villains, and poorly drawn... This one's got it all, folks!