"Venom #3" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Marvel Comics
Written by Donny Cates
Illustrated by Ryan Stegman
Inked by JP Mayer
Colored by Frank Martin
Lettered by VC’s Clayton Cowles
2018, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on June 27th, 2018
A huge symbiote-infested dragon is attacking New York City. The Avengers and other heroes are otherwise preoccupied, so the only folks that can stop this monster are Venom and Spider-Man (Miles Morales, not Peter Parker.) The two haven't met, but they have some shared history, so after they get over the initial required misunderstanding and fight, they turn their attention to the real threat.
This meeting is pretty fun right from the beginning. Writer Donny Cates peppers these scenes with some great dialogue and some awkwardness as the two characters size each other up. Eddie Brock's redemption angle is played up a bit here as he has to make up for something the symbiote did when they weren't connected. You can see that he's trying so hard to be good, but everything seems to pull him back to the darkness.
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Venom always looks cool and artist Ryan Stegman does a tremendous job with the character. One design quality that really works is when Eddie “unmasks” by pulling the symbiote back to reveal his face. His head is surrounded by Venom's large teeth, making it look like he's trying to pull himself back to his humanity. He's swallowed up by a monster.
I like how one of Mile's lenses is broken, which allows Stegman to illustrate the kid's personality a bit more. This comes into play as he literally leaps towards the dragon while scared out of his gourd. You can see the look of shock on his face as his looks right down the monster's gullet.
The dragon is revealed to be a new villain with ties to the symbiotes named Knull. This guy is like a Venomized version of Dracula, appearing as an intimidating albeit lanky being. He stands tall and confident over everything around him, as he is in complete control of the situation despite the rain beating down and the fires that have sprung up nearby. You instantly know that this guy is a next level villain.
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Knull's control over the Venom symbiote is frightening. Eddie had a rocky relationship with the creature, although he didn't know much about its origins. Here we get a glimpse as to where it came from and what its true purpose is. Knull seems capable of wreaking all kinds of havoc, not just for Eddie, but for everyone on Earth.
I love the use of red towards the end of this issue, highlighting the danger Knull poses. It's like the air around him has been turned to blood. Colorist Frank Martin gives these scenes such a demonic quality that leans heavily into the horror side of the book.
Knull's monstrous qualities extend to his speech as well. Letterer Clayton Cowles makes Knull's words pop with a jagged, angry font in red word balloons. He speaks in measured tones and short sentences, however each one feels heavy and terrifying.
Venom has been moving at a breakneck pace since the series relaunched. It has already reached event levels in terms of the size and scope of the story, taking the character to new heights. This dramatically expands the symbiote mythos in new and interesting ways. If you're even remotely interested in Venom (and what '90s kid isn't?), do yourself a favor and check this one out.