Writer: Jody Houser
Artist: Francesco Mobili & Geraldo Borges
Colors: Rachelle Rosenberg
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Release date December 4 2019
Review by D. Brown (WolfCypher)
Alea Bell is a high schooler afflicted with some medical condition. Alchemax injects her with a cure in the form of a piece of the Venom symbiote and she’s instantly cured. Well it turns out Alchemax has the rest of the Venom symbiote contained and have been doing horrible experiments on it, and the sample in Alea coerces her into breaking into Alchemax to free the rest of the symbiote.
The story isn’t anything new. By the end of the issue, Alea and the Venom symbiote decide to stay together because…why, exactly? I didn’t get it. There was no dynamic between them that suggested by issue’s end they should stay together. I mean, this girl was forced to break into a highly secured big corporate building, murder at least three people, and almost died herself, but afterwards, she just returns home with a smile on her face and declares “you know what? Lets do this! Lets become Venom!” It doesn’t make any sense! I would think now that she’s helped this organism, she would want it to leave her alone. The issue doesn’t earn either Alea or the symbiote any actual reason to stay bonded. They have no real chemistry together, she helped it get what it wanted all the while being very upset having all of this have to happen to her, yet now, after committing murder and going through what she went through, she’s all on board with being bonded with an alien? It just doesn’t work.
This comic really just feels like Marvel adapted elements from the Sony Venom movie and slapped some 2099 content on top. The relationship between Alea and the Venom symbiote reminded me of that film, in addition to the lack of any Spider-Man connection. It never feels right to do any sort of Venom origin (and this is technically an origin to a new Venom 2099) and leave Spider-Man (2099 or otherwise) completely out of it. The comic also ends with a sorta cliffhanger teasing Knull, the symbiote god all over all of Donny Cates books. This didn’t make me any more positive on this issue, as I am getting very tired, personally, of Knull. We are now getting teasers of Knull’s arrival in both the present 616 and in the future. Jeez…Its the year 2099 we are still being beaten over the head with Knull, who lately seems to be getting more and more exposure in too many comics, not to dissimilar to DC Comics The Batman Who Laughs, another very recent comic creation who seems to be influencing far too many comics as of late. What’s worse is that this is straight out the gate, as this issue is the very start of the new 2099 version of Venom, and immediately: Knull…
I was disappointed to learn in advance that this Venom 2099 book was abandoning the original 90’s/Peter David created version of the character, the “real” Venom 2099 Kron Stone in favor of introducing a new character instead, so I really needed this take on the character to stick the landing. There’s really nothing about this reboot Venom that I find interesting. This was a pretty lackluster story with some clique tropes thrown in (the school bully at the beginning of the story, whom you just know Alea is going to terrorize by the end of the story). I was further frustrated when we get to the point in the story where the remains of the Venom symbiote, trapped inside glass containers, simply escape by breaking through their glass prisons…this has started to become a recurring trope in Venom stories, where the symbiote is captured, separated from its host, and placed inside a glass cylinder of some sort, only to eventually just break out of the damn thing on its own. Why couldn’t these symbiote pieces have done this on their own at any time? Why “blackmail” Alea into coming here at all?
One of the things I enjoy about these 2099 versions of Marvel heroes and villains is that in the 2099verse the writers and artists take a chance and give these characters new designs and looks (the differences between Spider-Man 2099 and Spider-Man’s costumes, for instance). Some don’t swing for the fences as much as I’d like and stick close to their contemporary 616-counterparts, but even still there are usually some touches given to them to make them look different. This version of Venom 2099 has nothing about her that pops. Instead of doing something wild with the symbiote, this Venom looks pretty much no different from just anyone wearing a skintight black costume, minus the important spider-emblem on the chest. Its a very lazy route to go. There’s just nothing here that amped me up for this “new” Venom, as far as her design, the characters themselves, or the story being told.
This new take on Venom, 2099 or otherwise, was pretty lackluster. I really wish they found a way to simply keep and revamp the original Venom 2099. There was more material to work with, having the original Venom 2099/Kron Stone being the son of Alchemax’s CEO and half-brother of Spider-Man 2099. This new Alea/Venom has nothing interesting about her, and I’m left wondering by the end of the book why she even wants to go forward with being the new Venom…