Writer: Clay McLeod Chapman
Artists: Garry Brown & Chris Mooneyham
Colors: Rain Beredo
Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit
Release date March 25 2020
BUT available at your LCS early (stay safe, stay smart, limit contact and wash those hands!)
Review by D. Brown (WolfCypher)
I think there are a lot of things I’ve enjoyed throughout this run. The grit and the art, especially when the artist gets creative with Scream’s shapeshifting powerset, as well as the blending of its serious street-level-meets-Beowulf mythology, all with a ghastly touch. But if I had to point out my absolute favorite asset to this book, its the developments between Andi Benton and the Scream symbiote. Chapman’s take on Andi is probably my favorite version of her character; he neither rushes nor draws out her character development. The interactions she’s had with the Scream symbiote have improved in increments that have been steady and believable. With Big Mother threatening to tear these two away from each other, Andi’s development with the symbiote comes to its head.
The fact that we see Andi Benton actually get a measure of happiness is very cathartic; we’ve followed her since issue one of this run and she’s been a street vagrant stalked by sea corpses…if we go back even further, both during and before Absolute Carnage, you may know that she’s lost any semblance of her life. Her father; dead. Her aunt, too. Her idol and mentor as well. She’s alone in New York. She doesn’t even have Eddie Brock around to lean on. All she has in her life is another symbiote, one that she never wanted. One that not too long ago was bound to another host and came close to killing her. But this arc ends with her having a complete 180. This change in her perception is an organic one. She’s learned to believe it when her other tells her it wants what’s best for her, and proves it with its actions. Both Andi and the symbiote are “orphans”, and they need each other. The symbiote already realized this, and as of this issue, Andi has finally come to the same conclusion.
Andi’s happiness doesn’t end there. There’s a very nice moment shared between Andi and Aunt May…that’s right, Peter Parker’s Aunt May. Andi had visited the FEAST Center earlier in this arc and I wasn’t sure if we would see the plot bring the FEAST Center back into the story, but I thought this was a pleasant ending. Aunt May comforts Andi, and it looks like Andi is off to a good start rebuilding some stability in her life. It’s also cool seeing other players from the Marvel U. interacting with this character. Its weird, because neither Andi Benton nor Scream would immediately come off as major, top-tier franchise characters, but I like the idea that the already bigger established familiar faces (yes, supporting character Aunt May is a big enough name in her own right) can help world-build around this book. It’s weirder yet that we have Spider-Man’s world interacting with Scream before Eddie Brock/Venom has even touched-down with the character. I really hope to see more of Andi and May in the coming issues.
In fact, I really am excited to continue onward into this book going forward. We see a lot of pieces being moved, as both the local authorities and the higher ups in the government are becoming more invested with these recent events. This book has been such a pleasure to follow, and I wouldn’t be surprised if my status as that rare Scream fan (a status I’ve had since the early nineties, when Scream was just this semi-obscure and under-developed character) is no longer applicable, as people take notice of this character. Venom’s a hot brand again, and hopefully Scream existing in that orbit has gotten people to take notice of her character…because this arc just proved Andi Benton and her current symbiotic other are definitely able to stand on their own feet! Give this book a read!
Excellent writing, moody art, and the perfect balance of action and story-telling…while I am anxious to see this book’s protagonist have a (hopefully inevitable) run-in with Venom, this book really isn’t suffering by being its own beast. Honestly, my favorite issue of the run so far.