Updated: Jan 24, 2020
VENOM Vol. 1
Writer: Donny Cates
Artist: Ryan Stegman
Inker: JP Mayer
Colorist: Frank Martin
Published by: Marvel Comics
I first got introduced to Donny Cates through his series "God Country" from Image Comics. I became a fan from the first issue. From there he did an unbelievable balls to the wall run on "Thanos", which was another hit. So when Marvel announced that he was taking over Venom, I didn't hesitate to add it to my pull list. The final issue of the first arc came out this past Wednesday so I figured I would just review the entire story arc
as opposed to just the finale.
From the very first issue Cates and Stegman proved that this wasn't gonna be just another anti hero book. They showed Eddie Brock, Venom, as a man almost tortured and suffering from the symbiote that he is attached to. I was instantly emotionally invested in a character who up until that point, I always saw as kind one dimensional. They proceeded to expand on the history of the symbiotes, showing that Eddie's wasn't the first one to land on Earth. We learn from the mysterious Rex that he and a group of soldiers were actually bonded to symbiotes during the Vietnam war, but he's the only survivor.
After hearing this, Eddie learns that the Klyntar race, the symbiotes, are connected through a hive mind and that's why he begins experiencing unusual memory flashes. That is when things got really f***ing cool. We get introduced to the symbiote God, Knull, who is trying to reabsorb Eddie's "other" back into him. We get a ton of backstory on who Knull is, what his intentions are and the origin of the symbiotes. After a battle with Knull goes south, even with the help of Miles Morales, Eddie is changed. After being connected to Knull, the symbiote is now more eloquent and "fixed". Not only that but Eddie gets new powers, including being able to grow wings... f***ing wings are you kidding me. That image of him flying around was one of my favorite pages of the series.
Later on, it's revealed that Rex isn't really Rex, he's a symbiote who took on the form of Rex after he died. He ends up bonding with Eddie in order to help defeat Knull. I don't want to spoil the ending to much, but Eddie seemingly ends up defeating and we're left wondering what's next in store for Eddie.
Cates bring some big ideas to this character and executes them flawlessly. But, it's Stegman that helps bring these ideas to life. His art gets better with every issue, the way he depicts the symbiotes is perfect. The symbiote dragon was insane, and he made Knull absolutely terrifying. His double page spreads have all been poster worthy images and are just one more reason I love this book so much. I truly believe this book wouldn't be the same without him.
This book has become one of my favorite series and I can't recommend it enough. Cates and Stegman took a character that I thought was cool, but is now a character I love. I hope these guys plan on staying for a while because I'm in for the ride and I don't want this ride to end anytime soon.