Review: Venom (2018) #4, the true origin of the symbiotes


This exposition-heavy issue continues this series’ expansion of the Venom mythos, and also continues its perfect streak.

Modern comic creators sure do love expanding characters’ mythos. J. Michael Straczynski introduced the mystical totem angle to Spider-Man, and Grant Morrison explored Batman’s mythology. This approach has pros and cons, but when it works, it can add a lot of fun to Marvel’s sandbox.

My goodness, the mythology in Venom is so good.

Writer Donny Cates admittedly leans a bit much into exposition in this issue. If that’s not your thing, this won’t be your favorite issue. If you’re a fan of the greater Marvel tapestry, though, you’ll love what Cates accomplishes here.

When they announced this “fresh start” for Venom, I never expected it to tie into Beowulf, Thor and Celestials. I found myself particularly into a certain tie-in to a Jason Aaron character. All this in a series that, in previous issues, also tied into Nick Fury and Vietnam. (That military angle sits this issue out, but with the Web of Venom: Ve’Nam one-shot next month, we won’t have to wait long for more of that plot line.)

All this exposition would drag if it were accompanied by lackluster art. Well, thankfully, penciler Ryan Stegman continues to produce career-defining work. With the help of JP Mayer’s inks and Frank Martin’s moody colors, Stegman compliments Cates’ narrative with truly dynamic visuals. The Celestials look epic; the villain looks horrifying; and Miles Morales looks desperate. Everything is wild, but not out of control.

A+. . Donny Cates, Ryan Stegman, JP Mayer, Frank Martin. . Venom (2018) #4

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Next: Are kids the target audience for Venom now?

If you haven’t jumped on the Venom bandwagon yet, honestly, I don’t know what you’re waiting for. This isn’t simply a great Venom series, or even a great Spider-series. I don’t believe there’s a single more exciting new series that Marvel’s launched in 2018 outside of Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Captain America. Get on it!