Venom #19 Review

by Nick Devonald on October 30, 2019

Writer: Donny Cates
Artist: Iban Coello
Color Artist: Rain Beredo
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles

My first impression after reading Venom #19 was disappointment. If you’ve read any of my other reviews of Donny Cates work you might be shocked, because I think he is an incredibly talented writer and I’ve never come across any of his work before where I’ve felt let down after. And it isn’t even anything to do with him or anybody on the creative team, who’ve all done a fantastic job as usual. No, this time the fault lies entirely with Marvel and their poor release schedule.

If you’re reading Venom you’ll also be reading Absolute Carnage, it’s too closely tied to the events in Venom not to be. And it’s fantastic, why wouldn’t you? There is a note in Absolute Carnage #3 to read Venom #19 before you read this. The problem is that was released six weeks before this issue. Six. Absolute Carnage #4 was released two weeks before this issue. And lets be entirely honest here, nobody is waiting six weeks to read two comics are they?

So the events of Venom #19 are mostly recounted or pieced together from Absolute Carnage #3 & #4. So when I read Venom #19 it felt more like a recap of things I already knew. Yes, there was more in there, but not a lot. I could have quite happily not read this issue and still followed the events that were going on. And therein lies the problem. Reading it out of order meant that it felt like filler. Only the people who are holding off for the paperbacks or inevitable hardcover collected edition will read it in the correct order. And because of this monumental mistake the issue suffers for it.

Enough about the release schedule though, what did I think of the issue itself?

One of the strengths of Donny Cates writing is his ability to slowly tease mysteries, the build up reaching a crescendo before we get answers. It further deepens the mysteries surrounding Dylan, giving us some answers and more questions. By now most readers will have pretty strong suspicions about exactly what is going on, and I’m fairly confident we’ll get some concrete answers in the next issue. There is a real anticipation of Dylan telling Eddie his secrets, and indeed Eddie telling Dylan his true parentage. And knowing Cates’ the pay off will be as good as the anticipation.

Another downside of the release schedule (I know, stop going on right?) is in the first three pages where we get a bit more of an insight into the conclusion of Absolute Carnage #2, but rather than having the intended effect of adding to the emotional impact the reader is left thinking I’ve seen this already, I’ve moved on, it’s been resolved, why are we still going on about it? It’s a real disappointment and like I said it is not in any way shape or form the fault of the creative team. Which is even more of a shame.

I’ve really enjoyed the art by Iban Coello during this arc, while Ryan Stegman is busy drawing Absolute Carnage. He does a good job drawing all the characters, and I really love his take on the symbiotes. In particular his drawing of Sleeper really stands out as a showcase of his skills. He’s really good at capturing the action in the fight scenes as well. I would be quite happy if he takes over the reigns in the future if Ryan Stegmans schedule takes him away from Venom. Although to me Venom is at its best with the fantastic duo of Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman.

The colours by Rain Beredo are also excellent. The only minor complaint I might have is that it’s quite colourful with doesn’t quite mesh with the bleak greys present in Absolute Carnage, but that’s really just nit-picking, and I look forward to seeing more of his work in the future.

Great writing, superb art & colours, mysteries teased, a solid entry to both Venom & Absolute Carnage, only a shame it was marred by poor decisions around the release schedule, which unfortunately drags the score down.

Our Score:


A Look Inside