REVIEW: Venom #31

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Flash Thompson, Peter Parker’s old rival from high school, has made quite a splash since becoming the new host for the Venom symbiote. As a member of the Secret Avengers and Thunderbolts, the new Venom seems to be finding his place in the Marvel Universe. Recently, Flash has moved out of New York and into Philadelphia, where he hopes to continue his heroic ways. Check out the review of VENOM #31 for the adventures of the symbiotic soldier after the jump!

VENOM31VENOM #31
Writer: Cullen Bunn
Artist: Declan Shalvey
Colorist: Lee Loughridge
Editor: Tom Brennan
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $2.99

Previously in VENOM:  After some hellacious battles with Carnage and a team bent on destroying Flash’s family, Thompson has decided to pack up and leave New York, hoping for a little change of pace in Philadelphia. No such luck for our hero, as he has encountered the U-Foes and has been constantly reminded that not only is he attached to a murderous alien but also a demon from the time he spent in Hell earlier in the series. What a life!

GETTING TO KNOW THE NEW NEIGHBORHOOD

As far as jumping-on points go, this issue serves as a good example. Much of the story is focused on Flash getting to know his new surroundings. He moves into an apartment where some of his neighbors (read: new supporting cast) are introduced. As Venom, our protagonist gets to go out on patrol and creatively (and sometimes horrifically) take out some minor criminals.

Perhaps Flash gets too comfortable too quickly, as he neglects to take a drug provided to him by Hank McCoy that will keep the Venom symbiote docile. Though Flash’s move seems to have been a good move, readers will see that his life remains intensely troubled, as his relationship with Betty Brant has crumbled, there are questions regarding the stability of the symbiote, and one of the characters most associated with Venom shows up at the end of the book looking to take down Flash for good.

It’s a quick tale, and was a good read. Since Remender left the title, this has been the most satisfied with an issue of Venom I’ve been. The character voices are nailed for the most part, and there does seem to be some interesting scenarios on the horizon.

DARK AND SHADOWY, LIKE VENOM SHOULD BE

Though Flash is trying his best to be like his hero Spidey, he never quite gets the job done in the same way that Peter Parker could. The darker side of Flash always emerges. The art this issue does a good job of reinforcing this. Venom looks appropriately slimy and nasty when he cuts loose, though Flash’s “soldier” outfit is done nicely as well. In his human guise, he appropriately always has a look of hopelessness about him. For a guy who’s been through so much, it works well. There’s no bright and happy imagery in Venom books as in Spider-Man titles, which goes far in nailing the tone of this issue.

BOTTOM LINE: WORTH A READ

Though the series no doubt took a hit when Remender left, this issue did a lot to give me more hope for Bunn and the future of Venom. If we continue to get these inside looks at Flash Thompson’s mindset, the character will have an opportunity to grow and be further refined. The parts of this series that have worked have shown how Flash has been dealing with the loss of his legs and the balancing of a superheroic lifestyle. There are some great ideas pitched in this issue, and a lot of foreshadowing. I look forward to the next issue in hopes that Bunn is able to get into a rhythm and keep the intrigue coming.

Rating: ★★★½☆

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