Venom #21 Review

by Nick Devonald on December 26, 2019

Writer: Donny Cates
Pencils: Mark Bagley
Inks: Andy Owens
Colors: Frank Martin & Erick Arciniega
Letters: VC’s Clayton Cowles

This issue had a real challenge on its hands. Coming off the high of Absolute Carnage it had its work cut out, even with the high expectations from the preceeding storyline it doesn't disappoint. Following on from the events of Absolute Carnage things are, at first glance, going much better for Eddie. The threat of Carnage is dealt with, Dylan knows Eddie is his dad, things are resolved with his symbiote. Ok sure, Knull is coming, but that’s a problem for another day. In the short-term things are looking good.

One of the ways we see this is Eddie getting a new look, that represents this new, less desperate version of Eddie. Got to say I’m not a fan and I’m looking forward to Eddie being brought low again just so we can get his old look back, hopefully, but that’s only a small thing.

Except this is the world of comics so things never stay good for long. Things are tense between Eddie & Dylan. Then we get a return of a villain we thought vanquished. What follows is the setup for a return to the classic Amazing Spider-man #347, and just in case that doesn’t immediately jog your memory in this classic tale Venom kidnaps Spider-man, taking him to a deserted island with the intention of killing him once and for all. (This is where a Marvel Unlimited subscription comes in handy!)

Venom #21 follows this same formula only with a different target in mind here. I’m wary of spoilers but it’s a good twist and I look forward to Donny Cates new take on this classic storyline.

The art falls to Mark Bagley, no stranger to drawing for the Marvel universe or Venom. I’ve been so used to Ryan Stegmans art on Venom it always takes me a minute whenever a new artist joins the team to get used to it, but I do like Mark Bagleys work here. He also gets a chance to draw a number of classic Marvel characters as well who all look great. At times the art also feels like a bit of a throwback to some of the classic Marvel comics which is a nice touch.

By having Frank Martin returning to the colors it helps it feel like you're reading the same comic even with a different artist. It's a nice touch. He's joined here by Erick Arciniega and their colors work well together.

I quite often neglect to mention the letterer in my reviews so I feel a mention for VC’s Clayton Cowles is long overdue. Because he’s lettered every single issue of Donny Cates run on Venom and Absolute Carnage he lends a consistency to every issue. It’s always clear who’s talking, whether that’s Eddie, or Venom, or Carnage, and it’s an often overlooked part of comics but a key part none the less. And he does a great job here.

After the craziness of Absolute Carnage we get a chance for a brand new story arc, a throwback to a classic ASM story, and a chance to slow things down before the inevitable insanity of Knull’s arrival and what that’ll mean for our heroes. A great premise for the story I can’t wait to see where the story goes. Mark Bagleys art is good while we wait for Ryan Stegmans return.

Our Score:


A Look Inside