Writer: Donny Cates
Artist: Iban Coello
Colors: Rain Beredo
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Release date October 30 2019
Review by D. Brown (WolfCypher)
Donny Cates’s Venom title continues to carry on without the use of its titular character, as its Absolute Carnage chapters have really been a sidestory of events as seen by the point of view of Dylan Brock. While Spider-Man and Venom deal with the madness swarming the city, they leave Dylan and Normie Osborn in the care of the Maker, who has been working towards removing the Codices of symbiote hosts from their bodies. Things have gone into crisis mode even in proximity of Dylan; the Maker has become possessed by four symbiotes and the latest spawn of the Venom symbiote, Sleeper, enters the scene. Spider-Man and some of his Amazing Friends arrive just in time to fight against the Maker, while Dylan and the Sleeper symbiote consider a desperate union.
Clearly, when Venom’s away, shit hits the fan. Cates is the sole writer of both this title and the main Absolute Carnage event, and he manages to entertain in both books without either of these simultaneous titles feeling derivative compared to each other. Venom (the on-going title) has been weaving and bobbing in between developments closely knit to the event itself while still teasing towards newer story details and revelations to come post-Absolute Carnage. Despite all the craziness and action that was going on in this issue, it was the moments between Dylan and the Sleeper symbiote that had me the most excited with the issue’s plot. I dare say, I’m actually looking forward to this event to end, just so we can start approaching what was being teased here, as I wonder whether these questions this issue brings up can possibly be fully addressed with only one issue of Absolute Carnage, and one Venom issue tie-in, left. I was getting a little miffed that Eddie STILL hasn’t told Dylan of their true relationship, but now I like the fact that both Eddie and Dylan are keeping secrets from each other.
Iban Coello’s kinetic pencils and Rain Beredo’s dynamic coloring are, as usual, top notch comic book imagery. Everything looks simply amazing in this book, and I’ll keep saying it; I would not be distressed if Coello was assigned the art duties on this title much longer than these tie-in issues. Coello’s actual Venom is one of my favorite depictions of the character, despite how rarely he got to draw him in this arc. There’s a splash page of Dylan & Normie running away from the heroes fighting the symbiote-controlled Maker; it’s a single full-page action shot, and I’ve probably stayed on that page alone for several minutes with each reading. Incidentally, my favorite page in the book would be the final page, which doesn’t even have much going on, and I love it. Everything Coello sets out to do, he nails.
If I had to point out a flaw, I will admit that throughout this arc, Normie has been a very underwhelming, very whiny character, one that in this issue, I forgot was even still around. He didn’t get much to do in the previous issues, and there’s even less of him here, for better or for worse. Honestly, it may have been for the better, as this issue relatively turns into a Dylan and Sleeper story, and I know some fans who are hungry to see those two characters pair-up. Still, I do look forward to any future (hint hint) Dylan and Normie stories, but I need Normie to man up a little and hopefully not feel like a displaced character.
Visually exceptional with its bright colors and fun expressive art, which only strengthens the writing. This issue not only gives us a different angle of the events of Absolute Carnage from another’s point of view, it also teases some cryptic points that will surely be important come the rest of the Venom on-going even after this event is done.