Venom #14 Review

Writer: Cullen Bunn
Artist: Iban Coello
Colors: Andres Mossa
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Editor: Devin Lewis
Release Date May 22 2019
Review by D. Brown (WolfCypher)

We enter Eddie’s personal second chapter of the War of the Realms event. Venom takes on the likes of Roxxon’s private armies, Frost Giants, and a newly upgraded Jack-O-Lantern, while Bunn writes Eddie reflecting on how much anger and rage fuels him, and how he can weaponize his own inner flaws. Almost the entirety of the issue is a chaotic battle frenzy.

Iban’s art and Mossa’s colors are simply on fire in this issue. The look of Asgardian Venom has actually grown on me since issue two. Jack-O-Lantern takes a more conservative approach with his design. I was expecting a radically new, all different looking Jack to debut in this issue, but honestly, I could hardly tell if he had any differences between hios new “mystically upgraded” self and his standard, usual attire. It doesn’t take away from my positive opinion of the visuals, but I wish Coello had gone to town on a vastly differently Jack, to the same extent he went with Eddie’s mock-symbiote suit.

Bunn does the best he can given he has his hands tied. On the one tied hand, he has to write a Venom arc that ties into an event he’s not in control of, so it feels like any consequence of this arc won’t really matter to the actual War of the Realms event itself. On the other tied hand, he’s also not free to really move the character into any sort of permanent status quo, seeing how this character and this title is only on loan from Donny Cates. Bunn really has to be mindful of what Cates has planned for this character, so nothing we’ve seen as of his two issues really advance Eddie. This is ultimately a glorified, albeit fun, filler arc that, two parts in, shows no intention of being a necessary read for those following War of the Realms, while also just keeping the seat warm for the return of its “regular” writer. The best Bunn can do in regards to keeping the previous events of Cates Venom within orbit of his arc is reference moments from Cates run in one panel flashbacks that happen in-between the action. If you can divorce Cates run up until this point, and accept that Jason Aaron’s bigger picture is happening far from this book, you should be able to enjoy this 2nd part as a fantastically drawn, vividly colored Venom brawl-out. It’s all confined to a three-parter (next issue being the conclusion of this WotR tie-in), which is fine, because funnily enough while I am enjoying the change in tempo (from Cate’s darker, slower building up, to Bunn’s action focused writing), I am ready to return to the overarching story started since issue 1.

Final Thoughts
This arc puts the breaks on the big Knull (Absolute Carnage) storyline prior to issue 13 and places Eddie on his own in a corner of the War of the Realms event to play out his own personal God of War fantasies. Treat this loose event tie-in purely as a filler, but take away the fantastic art and treat yourself to some long overdue action. Yes, this arc may be spinning it’s wheels until Cates returns, but I had fun with this issue.

7.6/10

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