The End: Venom #1 Review

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Writer: Adam Warren
Artist: Jeffery Cruz
Colors: Guru-eFX
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles

Release date January 15 2020
Reviewed by D. Brown (WolfCypher)

Marvel’s The End stories usually don’t matter. That is, the continuity of these type of storied typically don’t count as canon. These are really just What If? stories set in the final days of the titular character’s life. That gave this Venomaniac and proven-Eddie Brock expert more free reign to have more fun and more of an open mind to whatever was in store in this issue.

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The story itself takes place eons into the future. All of Earth’s human race have long gone extinct, save for one man, as we learn the Venom symbiote has been housing Eddie Brock within its biomass. The thing is, Eddie, being the last Earth human left, is still only human, and for all intents and purposes, lets just say a couple billion, trillion years have to have their toll on any guy, symbiote life-support or otherwise. The story, which is narrated by “Time’s Arrow” (literally this book’s timeline explaining these events to us, the readers) explains that Eddie has always been the favorite host of the Venom symbiote, to the extent that the symbiote has been replacing and patching up (the best it can) Eddie’s failing…well, everything, over the years to keep him around as its host. I’m sure all the Symbrock fans out there will squeal over the handful of instances this book explicitly states and shows the Venom symbiotes favoritism and love for Eddie over all of its countless past hosts. What’s funny is that our unseen temporal narrator just as often states its personal indifference to Eddie itself. I’m sure there’s a reddit or comic forum somewhere as I type where Eddie Brock fans and Eddie Brock detractors are having a back-and-forth right now over the appeal of this character. The Venom symbiote, housing the genetic material of many of Earth’s people, including some past superpowered individuals, faces one final threat against an army called the Godmind.

Adam Warren tells a deep story that I felt the need to read at least three times before writing this review. That’s not to say this was a messy read. Surprisingly, despite how much story there is and how often the plot jumps ahead, even further into the endless ethers of time, the plot never lost me. But there was so much to take in, to make sure I understood, it warranted multiple reads; incidentally, this single issue has so much narration, so much text, that I’ll dare say I’ve read recent arcs that didn’t feel as full and packed as this single “maybe future, maybe canon” story. All the ideas in this book are plausible with the Venom symbiote, including the fact that this one symbiote can carry the genetic material of any human its been in contact with (I mean, in the main Venom book, its hinted that the Venom symbiote may have gotten Eddie’s ex-wife pregnant this way), or that the symbiotes are “tesseracts” in our space-time (currently in the Venom title, its been revealed that symbiotes, organic or synthetic, are perfect organisms for time-space/multiverse travel). I’m not so sure I agree that the reason they NEED hosts is to stay teethered in our universe, as there have been plenty of stories that have shown hostless symbiotes that have functioned just fine existing alone, so that was one explanation where this Venom expert will raise an eyebrow towards.

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Adam Warren also has a little fun giving rankings to several of the Venom symbiote’s host. The “Host Compatibility Rating” was a fun little addition (that I’m sure will create pissing contest with comic and Venom nerds), though after the first few pages it shows up, all the characters rated each just have the same four-star rating. I also wish we had ratings for previous Venoms, Mac Gargan and Lee Price. Eddie fans (not a spoiler, if you’ve read the available preview pages) will be happy to know he is the only 5-star host for the Venom symbiote. No other host the Venom symbiote has had could match the Eddieness of Eddie Brock (Time’s Arrows words, by the way). Though the fact that Flash Thompson, a very important host to the symbiote, was neither mention nor even referenced (such as a headshot in the background, some sort of uncredited appearance) is a sin, and that’s a Eddie fan saying that!

Jeffery Cruz has an art style here that is cartoonish and pleasant on the eyes. I found myself liking most the pages jammed packed to the brim with action going on, which doesn’t mean much since that describes almost the entire book! This man does not leave a lot of unused space on his pages. I wish I could say more about this talent, but anyway, it would be more fun to see the rest of his pages for yourself; they are as dense with his art as the book is thick with its plot.

Final Thoughts

This standalone story can stand proud as a great exercise in a fun, final What If? story. Keeping up with what’s being thrown at you might at first feel taxing, but it’s well worth it. Every time I re-read this issue, I had fun! This issue offers a look at the finality of Venom, fighting to save all bio-life in the universe, and with a task that big, this little book offers some big payoff.

8.2/10

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