Amazing Spider-Man: Venom Inc. Alpha #1 Review: A Venom Trifecta

Posted by November 12, 2017 Comment

Spider-Man: Venom Inc. Alpha #1
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Summary
Writers: Mike Costa, Mark Waid, Artist: Ryan Stegman, Cover by: Ryan Stegman, Publisher: Marvel Comics, Release Date: December 6th, 2017, Price: $4.99

Flash Thompson hasn’t given up on retrieving the Venom symbiote and returning to his life as Agent Venom, Avenger, Space Knight, and Guardian of the Galaxy. To do this, he asks Peter Parker to get his “pal” Spider-Man to help him discover who stole the symbiote from him months back.

Meanwhile, Eddie Brock, who has the Venom symbiote, is struggling to maintain control over it. This leads him back to Alchemax in the hopes they can solve this problem.

Venom Inc. Alpha #1 cover by Ryan Stegman
Venom Inc. Alpha #1 cover by Ryan Stegman

It excites me to no end that Flash Thompson, my personal favorite incarnation of Venom, is back in a Venom comic.

Oddly enough, one of the most compelling actors in this story is the symbiote itself, which loves both Eddie and Flash so much that it wants to bond with them both.

Spider-Man comes off as the douchebag in all of this. He doesn’t want either man to have it, despite both having used it for good in recent years. He just wants the thing dead — which isn’t very heroic, if we’re being honest.

This comic does hit the hang-up that comes from using a morally ambivalent character with a writer not accustomed to the current status quo of said character. To put it another way, Eddie Brock is depicted like a borderline psychopath barely in control of his emotions here. This contrasts Venom, which shows a troubled but more composed Eddie Brock treating the symbiote with more kindness. The Eddie we get here is just as unlikable as a possessive boyfriend.

The humor here doesn’t work for the most part. Spider-Man makes a weird conjugal visit joke, and there is a running gag about a guard named Hugo that never lands a good punchline. Everyone just hates this faceless Hugo for some reason.

The art is pretty hit or miss. Ryan Stegman lands some good shots of Spider-Man and Venom, but actual faces tend to look a bit weird. Eddie Brock in particular has a forehead and eyebrows unlike anything I’ve ever seen. He’s more eyebrows than man, now. They’re also black to starkly contrast his blonde hair. It’s incredibly distracting. The color work is alright beyond Eddie’s face. There’s a nice balance, but much of it looks washed-out.

Venom Inc. Alpha presents a cool return with Flash Thompson, but he’s the only likable character in the runtime. Spider-Man acts like an ass. Eddie Brock is an abusive boyfriend to an alien parasite. It seems to be retreading some old stories that didn’t go over so well the first time, too.

It’s not an atrocious read; it is fun at times. However, it doesn’t excite with the exception of one moment that had me aghast as a Flash Thompson fan. I can recommend it to the most devoted Venom fans, but even that is a tentative recommendation.

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(Last Updated November 12, 2017 11:23 am )

About Joshua Davison

Josh is a longtime super hero comic fan and an aspiring comic book and fiction writer himself. He also trades in videogames, Star Wars, and Magic: The Gathering, and he is also a budding film buff. He’s always been a huge nerd, and he hopes to contribute something of worth to the wider geek culture conversation. Follow me on Twitter @joshdavisonbolt.

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