Writer: Donny Cates
Artist: Luke Ross
Colors: Jesus Aburtov
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Release date October 21 2020
Reviewed by D. Brown (WolfCypher)
Venom Beyond’s biggest pro in its fourth chapter is the addition of Luke Ross on the art. Previous issues have hosted Juan Gedeon as the penciller and I couldn’t get behind his style. I felt the only thing holding back this arc was the look, and Ross is an improvement. While I enjoyed the new art in this issue, for once the story elements left me wanting.
Is Cates suggesting that Dylan isn’t really Eddie’s son? The opening pages of Venom #12 had hinted that the nature of how Anne had Dylan was suspect. One flashback panel showing 616 Anne as She-Venom is used to suggest her being temporarily bonded to the Venom symbiote may have everything to do with Dylan’s birth. We now have a world where Eddie has been dead and Anne became this world’s Venom, and without Eddie even being in the picture, Anne had Dylan. A Dylan who has the power to “spawn” symbiotes and subject them to his will. He’s sounding more like a product of Knull than Eddie…
We still get no reason why Anne’s version of Venom in this continuity has decided to go for the Flash Thompson/Agent Venom look. Eddie even brought the question up in the last issue and Anne never addresses it. It just got pushed aside last issue. I can get behind fan-service, but it would be nice if it fit in with the plot.
I was under the impression in Venom #28 that Anne and her squad were donning the Agent Venom look in honor of their world’s Flash Thompson, who maybe put this team of symbiote soldiers together to fight back against Codex. But Venom #29 opens with a flashback that takes place long before Codex, long before Dylan is even born, and long before any symbiote soldiers were even needed.
So why, during this time where Peter is still Spider-Man and the world hasn’t been seized by Dylan, thus no symbiote soldier resistance task force has been formed yet, is Anne dressed as Agent Venom? Why isn’t she, at this time in her life, not donning the form of standard Venom (I doubt she would call herself “She-Venom”). There’s no valid story explanation. It’s just done to reference Flash’s time as Venom (which did any of Flash’s Agent Venom career even happen in this universe?) while making no sense. Again, it’s just for the sake of cool factor. I was behind it, provided it would be explained. It never is.
The story has Gargan bringing the fight to our heroes, courtesy of a new symbiote he was gifted from Codex last issue, and the conflict he brings to the resistance group is literally over in three pages. Between Eddie using his new Mega Laser Hadoken powers and Dylan simply psycho-blasting his symbiote to oblivion, Gargan is taken care of with hardly any effort. I was in support of Gargan in this book at first. Most readers I know were disappointed with the reveal of Virus, this new mystery villain that had so much potential, being revealed to just be a paralyzed Scorpion, but I was willing to stay onboard if the book could use Gargan as an effective and interesting adversary for Brock…well we burned our bridges with the Virus concept, and Gargan as the new Venom/Scorpion (an identity he’s had at least three times now) went absolutely nowhere…so I’m changing my tune here. Gargan, both as Virus and the Scorpion, has been a colossal letdown in this book and I really rather he hadn’t even played a factor at all. Also, is it just me, or does Gargan as he appears in his green jumpsuit (that he wears without his symbiote) make him look like the spitting image of Adrian Toomes, the Vulture?
Why is this world’s Reed Richards so screwed up? Is he pretending to be? The guy seems like he’s in his right mind… It seems like there’s a story here, to why Reed looks crazy and comes of eccentric, but nothing comes out of it. This book could have just as easily portrayed this world’s Reed no differently than the standard 616 Reed. Despite looking like he’s mental, he’s written (in the few instances he has dialogue) like a reliable genius…Also, why can’t Codex control these freedom fighter symbiotes? Why is Anne and her group immune to Codex’s control?
As it stands, this is still one of my favorite arcs overall from this run, but I’m hoping I can appreciate the finale more than I could its fourth chapter. This one issue left me so profoundly frustrated…
The penultimate chapter to Beyond left me lukewarm. Even with the fanservice, I didn’t have fun with this issue. I could have gotten behind an issue where as we got answers newer questions are brought up, but any questions I had left felt like they came up for the wrong reasons.