So far to date Venom has seemed to be about tearing our expectations down and rebuilding them in the wake of its revelations. But by the end of Venom #6, it appears that might not be the case…
Over the past six issues, we’ve been told everything we know is wrong. It’s been the strength of what Donny Cates, Ryan Stegman, JP Mayer, Frank Martin, and Clayton Cowles have been doing. It all comes to a head here.
Eddie Brock and Venom have merged with the Ray Strickland Symbiote, in preparation of a final confrontation with Knull. And what a fight it is. Venom pulls out all the stops to put an end to Knull, culminating in a moment that may mean victory, at the cost of everything.
After the horrifying revelations about Knull, and the fundamental questions about the symbiotes, Cates steps back from all that and cuts loose here. This is a pure action story, putting Venom against impossible odds. Just when all hope seems to be lost, Cates pulls out a minor detail from the last few issues and reveals that the entire story relies on that. It’s stellar conclusion for this first arc.
Stegman and Mayer continue to be at the top of their game here. They play with layouts (the first page of the issue caught me by surprise). They give us big screen action. Then they give us an emotional conclusion. This art team has won my loyalty for years on end, after showing what they’re capable of doing here.
Martin’s color art moves the story into true cosmic horror. Every moment is cast in shadows or deep dark red. None of it is muddled or overdone though. He keeps it clean but sets the tone for the story so well.
With the last page casting the future of Venom in doubt, I remain invested in this series. It’s not quite a masterpiece, but it’s so damn close.
Venom #6 is available now from Marvel Comics.