By Donny Cates, Iban Coello and Rain Beredo
Without a doubt, Spider-Man books are among the top selling in the Marvel arsenal. He’s an extremely relatable character with a rich history and a great rogues gallery. Having said all that, we are entering an era where Venom is quickly becoming as popular as Spidey. Having Donny Cates on Venom is certainly a boost for the character, since Cates is clearly a rising star for Marvel. Not only is Cates writing Absolute Carnage, he’s also still writing the regular Venom series. Having his hands in many of the spider cookie jars, as well as an event, seems like good sign of faith for the writer, who knows how to make everyone a great character. As we enter issue 18 of Venom, we get more insight into some of the events that are happening in Absolute Carnage, as well as some more problems for Eddie.
Donny Cates has definitely done some different things with Eddie Brock. Eddie was essentially a likable loser jock who lucked out into getting a symbiote, but Donny Cates has done an excellent job in fleshing out who Eddie really is. This issue, Cates devotes the majority of the time on Dylan, who has grown as a character in his short stint in the book. Cates shows us a Dylan who is taking charge, as he sticks up for Normie and disobeys the Maker. Cates also gives us some background on Sleeper, the new symbiote that has been making waves in the comic community lately. The idea of who Sleeper is is interesting. I can’t say if he’ll be a long term character, but Cates does give him an interesting little intro in this issue. As usual, the standout of this book is the Maker. Cates writes him so deliciously that you can’t help but like him. As a reader, we know he’s pretty much a bad person, but Cates has built him up as a decent ally to Eddie. While things end on a cliffhanger, Cates has made sure that this is a tie-in that matters.
The pencils this issue are handled by Iban Coello with colors by Rain Beredo. Iban Coello’s art looks great this issue. The pencils are very clean and crisp and his style is likabe and easy to follow. In a panel where Dylan has decided to ignore what the Maker has told him, Coello gives us a great shot of Dylan smiling, it’s very mischievous. As symbiotes break free and chaos ensues, Coello draws one particular symbiote very sinister and creepy. The design works and is actually very menacing. The colors by Rain Beredo are great, as usual. Beredo is one of the best colorists in the business, and this issue he shows off some of his darker color palettes. On the first page, as we get a little back story on Sleeper, our eyes are drawn to the bright colors of Sleeper’s outfit as he blasts through a near pitch black sky. In a panel where the Maker is torturing someone and Dylan storms out of the room, Beredo perfectly colors the contrasting light from the doorway to the darkness of the room. An overall great issue for pencils and colors, as Coello and Beredo brought their A game for this book.
Venom has quietly become one of the better books Marvel publishes. Donny Cates has been able to do wonders with his cast of old characters and new ones. The art has been consistently good throughout the series, and this issue continues that trend. Venom #18 is a meaningful tie-in that should have some lasting effects on the series.