Venom #4 Review

by Harlan Ivester on July 25, 2018

Writer: Donny Cates
Penciler: Ryan Stegman
Inker: JP Mayer
Colorist: Frank Martin
Publisher: Marvel Comics

            We haven’t been around to give you reviews for the past few issues of Venom, so I’ll sum up my thoughts for you real quick: I. love. this. book. The wait between each chapter is unbearable but the team has delivered each time, and today is no exception. Avoid spoilers at all costs, because this one has some pretty clever twists and changes the symbiote lore for the better.

            If I can get out one thing out of the way about this book, it’s just that it’s an issue all about Knull, our new antagonist. You may have noticed that I didn’t say it’s a bad thing. Most people should be expecting this issue to be about him since we only just met him last issue, but I think it’s worth noting just for those who may want more action in the present. I know, the waiting sucks. However, what at we witness in the pages of Venom #4 is definitely one hundred percent necessary exposition, and it still manages to be jaw-droppingly entertaining. Knull is unsettling not only thanks to Ryan Stegman’s sometimes Pennywise-ish smile that he gives him, but also because of the way he’s written. Sure, it’s a little weird that last issue, Eddie was an annoying fly and now he’s explaining his backstory to him, but it’s hard to care when he’s so  interesting and intimidating. Knull is in charge and everyone knows it and is fine with it. Cates also makes some pretty big changes to the origin of all symbiotes here, and if this book wasn’t already doing Venom a favor, then surely it is now. The word “Klyntar” has a whole new meaning. One that doesn’t make me roll my eyes. And I never expected a Venom book to tie into the mythos of another pillar of the Marvel universe, but that’s what makes Donny Cates such a great writer. He knows how to put two and two together and make me look stupid for not suspecting a thing.

            Knull backstory means that the Venom art team gets to do more space stuff, so you know this is going to be kind of trippy. What makes it so cool is seeing Stegman do stuff conceptually reminiscent of his work on Jonathan Hickman’s Fantastic Four, but in a completely different context thanks to what JP Mayer and especially Frank Martin add. With another colorist, this might have had a sense of grandeur, and to a degree it still does, but it’s mostly overshadowed by the hopelessness and… sin? Donny Cates makes the story cool, but the artists on the book truly finalize the horror vibe that makes it such a refreshing read.

            Since I haven’t written about it in a while, I feel comfortable saying this again: this is going to be the definitive Venom run. It’s got so much going for it everywhere you look, and it always leaves you wanting more in the best way. It’s objectively one of the most important books to the character in all his thirty years. I can’t wait to see where it goes from here. Go buy it. #GodIsComing

Our Score:


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