Venom #11 Review

by Charles Martin on February 20, 2019

Venom #11 Review
Writer: Donny Cates
Pencillers: Joshua Cassara & Ryan Stegman
Inkers: Joshua Cassara & JP Mayer
Colourist: Frank Martin
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Publisher: Marvel Comics

This volume of Venom being as dark as it is, it stands to reason that when Eddie Brock "gets help" for his problems, it comes from the Maker, contemporary Marvel's grand-prize-winning Mad Scientist.

As Eddie writhes inside turbulent memories, the Maker is chopping through the Venom symbiote to get to him. Evil Reed Richards pauses only to nosh on scenery and frighten the pants (metaphorically) off the younger Brock, Dylan. 

This issue does a surprisingly great job of standing on its own. Eddie's desperate straights are clear even without referring back to previous issues, and all the surreal stuff happening in his mind is harnessed to fearsome logic by the end of the issue. The fresh challenges it creates, though, demand further attention.

Trapped in his own head, Eddie has to confront cancer and the horrible memories attached to it. Until, of course, inevitably, he has to confront the symbiote instead.

It's a marvellous turn built deep into the structure of the script. The visuals support it completely; they, too, take a dramatic turn as Eddie works things out. The character portrayals are wonderfully detailed from start to finish, but the settings and tone are transformed by Eddie's evolving train of thought. 

The collaboration between the artists is incredible and the division of labour is flawless. The very minor stylistic differences are perfectly explained by the split between the real world and Eddie's mindscape, and the settings match perfectly in terms of detail and polish.

The colours come along on the journey, moving from oppressive darkness to blinding light. The Maker gets some nice unhealthy purples and greens for his science-ing, but Eddie's mind is dressed in powerful blacks and reds.

The dramatic upheavals in Eddie's memories are far too good to spoil, but they might also arouse some passionate debate among dedicated fans of the character. This issue sticks to the arc's established theme of family, but it makes enormous changes in the specifics Eddie is dealing with.

To my mind, the changes are all to the good. But aren't big backstory changes just a form of "cheap heat" used to arbitrarily freshen up a character? They certainly can be, but I would contend strongly that that's not what's going on here. 

The creators invest far too much highly-skilled effort in telling this story to dismiss its revelations out of hand. They ground the changes thoroughly in the impact they have on Eddie. I think that demonstrates a respect for the character and his fans. I'm hardly a Venomaniac myself, but I think most of them will be satisfied with this issue's revelations. 

All that being said, this issue does end on a mother of a cliffhanger. The arc as a whole desperately needs a strong conclusion. But I have no reason to doubt that these creators can deliver one.

When it starts, Venom #11 is all about cancer and the Brock family. That theme holds true at the end, but in between, Eddie ferrets out some huge, transformative truths. This issue does a near-flawless job of engaging the reader's curiosity and compelling continued attention. Eddie's next steps are unclear, but they show every sign of being unmissable.

Our Score:


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Charles Martin's picture
I love the Maker when he gets to be this pure in his mad science and sadism.