Venom Annual #1 Review

by Harlan Ivester on July 31, 2019

Writer: Ryan Cady
Artist: Simone Di Meo
Colorist: Mattia Iacono
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Publisher: Marvel Comics

            An annual that’s actually annual. How about that? Still, it’s not written by Cates nor is it connected to his run in any way, shape, or form. That’s a hard sell for me. But that’s why I do this – I read the book so you (maybe) don’t have to! Let’s jump in.

            The story of Venom Annual… #1…. is immediately bogged down by a set up that feels over done. Seems like the wicked webslinger is constantly getting whisked away to a far off world while out on patrol, only to have to step up to save the day and phone in some kind of moral about symbiotic relationships and team work or whatever. It’s handled fine enough here but I’m having a really hard time ignoring how done to death it is. I wish writers could consistently portray the symbiote’s personality. I get that it’s been all over the place for a long time, but I think most people are in agreement that Cates’s is the definitive one. Since it’s current too, shouldn’t we shoot for something a little closer to that? As far as the events of the book go, they sadly just feel inconsequential, especially with Absolute Carnage on the horizon. I just don’t believe that any of this matters and it’s not interesting enough to make me care anyway.

            Di Meo’s Venom is one that I find to be pretty awkward. Even if you don’t agree, you’ll know what I mean when you see it. It’s a shame that a protagonist as visually interesting as Venom doesn’t quite hit the mark, but everything else looks good. I’m impressed by how much they can show in a single panel without it feeling cramped. I’d say that’s the result of excellent positioning for vantage points. Iacono is the MVP of the issue. The ship that most of this story is set on sounds pretty drab on paper, but it’s very mysterious and reminds me of exploring the space pirate frigate in Metroid Prime. New York feels conversely like it’s bustling, and its lighting make the fighting there feel much more dynamic.

            Venom Annual #1 isn’t bad by any means, but I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone for $4.99. Sure, there’s a whole other store in those 34 pages that I didn’t even touch on, but it’s not doing the book any favors. The main story is pretty run of the mill in more ways than one, and the art doesn’t really wow me at any point. If you just have to pick this up, do it when it’s on sale.  

Our Score:


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