By Donny Cates, Mark Bagley, Andy Owens, FrankMartin, Erick Arciniega, and VC’s Clayton Cowles
Get ready folks, there is a lot going on in this new issue of Venom that will surely prove to have a major impact on the lives of Eddie and Dylan. This month’s issue continues along with the Venom Island story arc as Eddie is stuck on his former island sanctuary being hunted by an abomination of a mixture of the Carnage and Venom symbiote. As Eddie is fighting for his life on the island, we are slowly introduced to some of the inner turmoil that Dylan is going through.
Donny Cates has been able to set a good tone in his Venom series by adding in some horror elements. This particular issue may make the reader think of the classic horror film, Predator, in certain parts of the story. An outer world creature stalking a muscle bound man with heavy weaponry as he begins to hunt it back feels like an appropriate homage. Much of Eddie’s story in this issue revolves around him preparing for his confrontation with carnage and the best part of this issue doesn’t end up being the action packed stand-off, but rather the tension filled dialogue between the two. As always, every sentence that comes out of Carnage is legitimately terrifying and one can’t help but agree with the desperate action in which Eddie makes at the end of the issue. It will be very interesting to see the consequences come next month in the following issue.
Venom #22 is still its own story though, despite the references to Predator, as we also have a focus on Dylan who is hiding a horrific secret fro
m everyone. Dylan is truly becoming an interesting character as we have gotten to know him over the course of this series. He has evolved from being a side character whom Eddie has to worry about into a major character worth sharing the focus on.
Venom is arguably its best when treated as a horror story instead of a tights and capes superhero adventure and the art is a major aspect of what sells it. Mark Bagley, Andy Owens, FrankMartin, and Erick Arciniega work well in this dark tone by bringing us eerie dream sequences for Dylan that will stick out in most readers minds more so than hand-to-hand brawls. As psychological horror is represented well with Dylan, the other side of the horror spectrum is shown in Eddie’s story. With Eddie, we get to see the body horror of animals getting transformed by the symbiotes and even some gore in the final page. The Carnage symbiote gets a nasty, snake-like appearance that works well with the taunting dialogue provided by Cates.
Venom #22 is the newest addition to a long line of quality Venom issues we have been getting with some memorable moments. It is not easy to follow up a big tie-in event like Absolute Carnage but Venom more than adequately succeeds in keeping the interest of its readers.