By Donny Cates, Iban Coello & Andres Mossa

The highly anticipated continuation of the acclaimed symbiote-centric comic returns with the “Oversight” arc. The aftershocks of Eddie Brock’s and the Venom symbiote’s encounter with Knull seem to be the focus of this storyline. It doesn’t quite pick up immediately after where issue six left off because that’s part of the mystery and revelations to unfold. It will be a bit of a jarring read in comparison to the previous issues, but Donny Cates and his collaborators are still able to deliver an interesting experience.

Where the previous arc was almost full throttle from start to finish, this book slows things down. It’s clearly a bold move as readers have grown accustomed to Cate’s writing style on Venom, so perhaps this is just another way to shake things up and allow him and the artists to flex different creative muscles. The execution does seem to go into the deep end of this new style though. It’s basically a purely expositional issue with a lackluster cliffhanger. There is one flashback scene that cuts away from the expositional heavy scene (the comic is basically one long interrogation scene) that was a great reprieve, but sadly, like all good things, it was short-lived. The passion for the Venom is still present; there’s even a reveal/explanation for an iconic component of the anti-hero.

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The issue did flow well and was able to keep a pace that didn’t make the content more uninteresting than it could have been. That’s clearly due to a great collaboration between the creatives. Iban Coello was able to bring expressive panels of the two key characters that were in play, although the panel designs themselves were fairly generic and predictable. It also didn’t help that the location was very simple and pristine; granted, this was perhaps intentional as to keep focus on the characters. There is one vivacious full-page shot of the titular character that will make readers’ jaws drop. It accomplished it’s very intention of sending a shock to the audience’s system.

Perhaps, though, the real star collaborator on the book is Andres Mossa. The color work brings a much-needed dimension of vitality that this story needed. The soft, but vibrant color scheme used on the characters is subtle beauty. Mossa elevates the blacks so much that it basically becomes a motif, almost signifying the black abyss that is Venom. There is also a clear variation of hues of the palette used throughout that helps distinguish certain images and pages. The sense of tension is fully realized through the coloring and this issue is fascinating study for this component of comic book creation.

Overall, this was an interesting installment in Cates’ run. As fantastic as his ideas are and his deftness with dialog and imagery, there seems to be some needed work in execution. This is a complete change of pace and, for that, is worth reading and thinking on. What was the team wanting to accomplish? Was it purely expositional narrative needing to be knocked out of the way to get to the meat of the arc? These answers may come with time, but even if they don’t, this series is worth sticking with.

About The Author Erik Gonzalez

I was exposed to comics early on, one of my earliest vivid memories was picking up the entire run of Dark Horse’s Aliens vs. Predator(1990). Odd and perhaps morbid choice for a kid, I know...At the same time, I was immersed in the pop culture of the time which included, but not limited to: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Ghostbusters, Jurassic Park, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, and of course, Batman: The Animated Series. Upon reflection, it’s fairly evident why I’m such a zealous geek. My day job is in television operations, so basically I’m exposed to media at every turn, which is where I want to be! Writing comic book reviews is another outlet to convey my respect and fanaticism for the this graphic medium. I hope what I have to say will resonate with others and also spark heart-felt discussion. Simon Pegg said it best, “Being a geek is extremely liberating.”

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