Writer: Zac Thompson
Artists: Juan Gedeon & Dio Neves
Colors: Rain Beredo
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Release date January 22 2020
Reviewed by D. Brown (WolfCypher)
Our sixth Web of Venom showcases Dylan Brock and Normie Osborn, respectively the son of Eddie Brock/Venom and grandson of Norman Osborn/Green Goblin, under strict protective “house arrest” inside Liz Allen’s home. After the events of Absolute Carnage, Liz is overly protective of her son, and as a favor for all Eddie helped do to rid Normie of symbiote codices, she is indebted to keep an eye on Dylan while Eddie is dealing with some personal matters over in his main comic. Anyway, Dylan has been keeping several secrets from his father, one of which is he’s been housing a sliver of Norman Osborn’s Carnage symbiote as a pet. Tonight, he plans on using it as a plaything and lets Normie in on everything. Perhaps our Dylan Brock isn’t the likable little kid he’s been portrayed as all this time.
The writer here takes this chance to show us a sinister side to Dylan, who all this time has been written as anything but. Heroic, curious, a little head-strong, sure, these were fun qualities of the character, but this one-shot digs into a Dylan that grows more dangerous the further into the story we go. He starts out borderline psycho and becomes a full-on super-villain junior by the end of the first story (this comic featuring two stories). Its hinted at heavily near the end that Dylan is under the influence of Knull, so its good that these out-of-character actions aren’t actually his own, and that he can even be saved, but I couldn’t help but feel this hard knee-jerk reaction to seeing Dylan, after all this time, acting so wildly uncharacteristic and doing a complete 180. Meanwhile, we finally get a story that handles little Normie respectably. Ever since Normie’s been dragged into the Venom-side of the Marvel Universe, he’s been unfortunately handled as anything between a whiny pathetic kid and a background character who just happens to be in Dylan’s orbit, a peripheral of the more interesting Dylan. While Dylan had been showcased with more to do and a better focus in past Venom stories, Normie was just…there, usually, as a boy damsel-in-distress Dylan needed to protect and reassure. This book actually makes Normie look like the better of the two and gives you a reason to root for him, as Dylan isn’t anything like himself, and Normie plays the role of “hero”, or at least the lesser of these evils, between the two for once.
The extra story at the end is a flashback tale that reveals where Sleeper was right before the events of Absolute Carnage and coming back to Earth. It’s pretty inconsequential and very short. Zac Thompson also writes this one, but the art duties are on Juan Gedeon.
Overall, this package as a whole was okay. Outside of Funeral Pyre, these Web of Venoms haven’t really been grasping me, and this newest one is just…fine. Seeing Dylan be a negative influence character archetype was different and took a minute for me to roll with, but I can’t say I really hated it. If its a condition of being under Knull’s influence, there’s not much the kid can do, and it saves the character from being a sudden heel-turn from out of nowhere. Still, it’s an issue that shows the two boys sneaking out and causing some trouble, before ultimately coming to blows themselves. The most important take away is the revelation of Dylan being far from a Good Son like we thought. All in all, its just an okay story, with okay art.