Written by: Donny Cates
Art by: Ryan Stegman, JP Mayer, Frank Martin, VC’s Claton Cowels
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: January 16, 2019
Reviewed by: Matthew Brown
As far as comic books currently on the market this Venom series is as good as it gets and really keeps getting better and better. Donny Cates has really done a great job adding to the Venom mythos and making it his own while still respecting and acknowledging the past history of the character which is a delicate balance all writers have to try to achieve but there is few with the skill to really be able to pull it off but thankfully Cates has talent in bucket loads and is showing his full range in what in my opinion is already after only 10 issues a character defining run.
To go along with Donny’s great and meaningful writing Ryan Stegmans art is consistently brilliant and really worth the cover price on it’s own. Ryan is easily establishing himself as clearly one of the best artists in comics there is. His art is the definition of ‘all killer no filler’ with not one panel mailed in in any of his issues on the book. The guy is just an assassin with the pencil and actually a pretty talented writer in his own right also as we saw in last weeks web of Venom issue.
This issue starts out not long after we left off in issue #9 with Eddie and his new found little brother Dylan talking in a diner. Dylan is clearly enamoured with the fact his big brother is the super powered Venom and questioning why their father hates him so much. Eddie is quick to reinforce that he is no hero and delves into the story of how his father’s disdain for him began.
A flashback scene follows that is just a brilliantly crafted section of writing combined with Ryan Stegmans always phenomenal art. The scene shows a seemingly young child eddie running out in front of a car getting hit while his father screams for his son ‘’EDDIE!!!’’ on the page turn reveal it shows that the young child wasn’t in fact Eddie but Eddie was behind the wheel of the vehicle drunk killing the child. Eddie is then at the police station in a state of shock with his father and some local police officers where his father who is a powerful man having cut a corrupt deal to get Eddie off. Eddie says he wants to plead guilty however after some ‘gentle persuasion’ by his Father agrees to go along with the plan and plead not guilty.
After Dylan and Eddie leave the diner and start walking having a further discussion about their father revealing that Dylan is being abused just like Eddie was. Suddenly Eddie has visions of Knull with the symbiote momentarily reattaching to Eddie while he beats down on Knull. Eddie snaps out of it and sees that he’s actually beating his brother and was only hallucinating and was actually beating his little brother. Eddie then collapses regurgitating a ghastly amount of blood.
The book then flips to the hospital with some secret service looking guys questioning Dylan and sneaking a blood sample then taking him to see Eddie where the big reveal is that the Maker is back and has Eddie and the symbiote somehow sedated and tells Dylan that his brother has ‘quite a lot of cancer’.
I absolutely loved this book. While not super action packed or anything it really progressed the story and Cates was somehow able to squeeze in 4 pretty major twists/reveals that were set up and paid off masterfully. Donny Cates in my opinion is the best writer in comics today and this Venom series is really him at the peak of his powers the meaningful progression in every issue just makes it one of those books thats you can be confident is truly worth the cover price every month.
I’ve loved every issue of this book so far but this might have actually been the best issue so far. Some great character progression for Eddie and Cates ability to build up and pay off every story segment of the book so well just made it a great read. If you like comics and you’re not reading this you have serious problems so stop reading this and go buy the first trade immediately.