Web of Venom: Empyre's End

by Nick Devonald on November 04, 2020

Writer: Clay McLeod Chapman
Artist: Guiu Villanova
Colours: Frank D’Armata
Letters: VC’s Clayon Cowles

With a name like Web of Venom: Empyre’s End this one-shot sets itself up to be a bridge between the recently ended Empyre event, and the upcoming King in Black event. Is this essential reading for the Empyre event? Not as such, although it follows a Skrull/Kree alliance ship, hence the Empyre part of the title. Is it essential reading for King in Black? Probably not, although it acts as a prologue of sorts and really builds up the excitement for the upcoming event. So should readers of either event be particularly excited about this one-shot? In a word: Yes. It may not be particularly important in the overall scheme, and readers who don’t read this issue won’t be missing out on any major parts of the story, but that’s all by the by. Anyone who skips out on this issue will be missing a great piece of horror writing, that really builds up the threat of Knull and his looming appearance on Earth.

Clay McLeod Chapman has built up an exciting cast of Kree and Skrull for this issue, long time fans may recognise some if not all of the characters, while newer readers won’t lose anything by not having prior knowledge of the cast. Chapman has plenty of experience writing not only symbiote stories, but symbiote stories with a real horror element to them. It’s comics like this which really bring home what a disappointment it was when Marvel cancelled his Scream series, it would have been particularly exciting to see where he took that.

There is a real Xenomorph vibe to the whole comic, a feeling that this is a villain you can’t hope to defeat, survival is your only chance. Following on from Absolute Carnage last year King in Black is set to be the big symbiote event of this year, and fans who were already excited will be doubly so following this issue.

Guiu Villanova does a great job with the art, really helping to build the horror as the issue goes on, and showing us symbiotes which feel familiar yet much more terrifying than those we’re used to. For far too long Carnage has been the only scary symbiote, but thanks to Villanova’s efforts here we get a preview of how Knull’s arrival on Earth and his army of symbiotes will look. Villanova does a great job of capturing the loneliness and coldness of space. The finishing touches come from Frank D’Armata’s colours, the comic is filled with black, space, the symbiotes, shadows, it’s a darkly coloured comic which only enhances the horror vibe.

While not essential reading for either event that the title suggests it bridges, this is exactly what a great tie-in issue should do. An entertaining story that builds excitement for the upcoming event, it doesn’t feel like a tie-in for the sake of it. Not essential reading by any means, but readers who decide to skip over it will definitely be missing out. Chapman continues to bring horror to his symbiote stories and this is a great preview for Knulls arrival to Earth.

Our Score:


A Look Inside