This issue of “Venom” is more an exercise in style than actual plot. When that style is Tony Moore, you don’t mind. In fact, you love it whenever he puts Kraven the Hunter onto the page. This comic is fun but it fails to completely satisfy due to its hollow nature of somehow only serving us the final spike of the tale. Will the entree be served or was it not important?
Flash races for his life while being pursued by Kraven in the Savage Land. It’s a brilliant concept for high octane comics, but Rick Remender seems more intent on serving us the sizzle and not giving us the true meat. Kraven works on a visceral level here but with no introduction or motivation to be found he feels underused, a shortcut instead of a true adversary. With the depths that could have been plumbed considering Kraven’s history with Spider-Man, it feels like we’ve been robbed of what might have been a classic arc, unless it’s being saved for later.
Even if the narrative is somewhat lacking, Remender and Moore still come up with something new to show the fans. An interlude with some crazy massive bats is fun and the sort of thing that reminds us of what this series promised. Venom isn’t just a webslinger, he’s an international spy of mystery and messed up ideas. This should be a subverted Spider-Man, a demented and black landscape to juxtapose against the wholesome and natural Spidey we all know and love.
The staccato rhythm of the internal monologues of our hero and villain play through the tale and work well in places, but feel slightly overwrought in others. The theme and character is trying to break free, but the format and delivery outshine the actual heart of these determined men.
The sublime star of this issue is Tony Moore. The texture he brings to this world is pure brilliance. You won’t want anyone else to ever draw Kraven the Hunter again. Watching him pull out a massive spider and crush the glowing juices into his mouth would be enough, but the giant bad-luck-bats also deliver the creepy. Moore’s final panel, however, is the sort of thing Marvel should be printing more of. It’s creepy, it’s unforgettable, and it’s surely the kind of warped horror more people want.
“Venom” isn’t as strong with the second outing, but it still offers up enough to keep readers around. Remender is cementing himself as a writer at Marvel who creates that which has not been thought of before, especially not in the Marvel U. He’s taking what we know and twisting it around and while this isn’t a success, it certainly isn’t a failure.