ďVenomous: Part 3Ē
Writer: Mark Millar
Artists: Terry Dodson (p), Rachel Dodson (i)
Publisher: Marvel Knights
We rejoin Spidey after a few more weeks of sifting through his roguesí gallery whilst trying to find out more clues on the disappearance of Aunt May. Eddie Brockís Venom auction has gone ahead, and a local crime boss seems determined that his son should take the mantle of the symbiote for himselfÖ
Iíve been keeping up with this series out of a fondness for the title character and an attraction to the Dodsonís slick art. Those elements remain this issue, which gives us another few cameos of favourite Spidey foes and some nice spreads from the art team: however, there are still major problems with the story. Iím not complaining about minor continuity issues or character detail Ė all of which seems to have been observed quite closely in the series so far anyway. My troubles are with the more general reactions and motivation of the characters: would Pete really have not sought further help in finding his Aunt by now? Would MJ really drag him along to a school reunion whilst Mayís fate is unclear? Would Pete really be the kind of guy who enjoys lording it over his old schoolfriends by showing off a trophy wife? Would Spidey be taking time to hunt down B-grade villains and dumb kids when every second lost is another second of Mayís life ticking by? Itís clear that I disagree with Millar on a number of these issues, and I really feel that his many ideas might have worked better as a few truly separate storylines, as they just donít sit comfortably under one umbrella.
Disregarding my gripes with the overall 12-part tale for a while, itís nice to see a major villain lined up to be the major antagonist for this second mini-arc, especially after the damp squib ending of the first four-part story. However, I may be fairly out of the loop on Venom Ė I havenít kept up with any of his appearance since, oooh, Maximum Carnage anyone? Ė but the ease with which the costume seems to have transferred to his new host seems to undercut the importance of Eddieís previous symbiotic relationship with the alien. Also, a meek underachieving young kid trying to make a name for himself in villainous circles just isnít as interesting as Eddie Brock and his grudge which had previously fuelled Venomís hatred for the wall-crawler. Maybe Millar can make him so next issue, but itís a tall order. That said, the action sequence involving the character at the end is pretty intense, and showcases a powerful new look for the villain. Next issueís fight should be one to look forward to.
Ultimately, I feel that Iíve finally reached the point where Iím unwilling to give this series the benefit of the doubt any more. Itís a shame that a title which has thrown up so many good ideas seems to be having such problems putting it together, but itís becoming more and more of a trial to sift through Millarís various threads and follow the heart of the story here. It seems as though the writer is keen to create an epic, timeless Spidey story with some classic storyline homages and problems for the webslinger to overcome Ė but in doing so, he has forgotten to ensure it all sticks together properly. A curateís egg that provides some old-school Spidey thrills and dialogue with a clunking, illogical framing device. The frustrating thing is, this could have been so much better.
What did you think of this book?
Have your say at the Line of Fire Forum!