*Ties into the Venom Inc. Crossover
Spider-Man (Peter Parker) and the new Anti-Venom (Flash Thompson) are pitted against the symbiote hordes of Maniac, aka former-Venom Lee Price.
Elsewhere, Eddie Brock begins his search for his other half through the streets of New York.
This is undoubtedly the best issue of the Venom Inc. crossover thus far, and it really is the small details that set it apart. Spider-Man finally cuts his bull crap and actually treats Flash like an equal instead of some fool who doesn’t know what he’s tampering with. He actually accepts him as a fellow hero who can use the symbiotes better than he ever could. Now, this may all change next issue; going back-and-forth on things seems to be a staple of this story.
While I do undoubtedly miss Mark Bagley’s work on this book, Gerardo Sandoval is another improvement that Part Three of Venom Inc. brings. He has a way with the symbiotes as well as displaying the kinetic weight of fight scenes. Watching Flash Thompson and Spider-Man beat the tar out of Maniac’s gang is just more fun with Sandoval at the wheel.
That being said, this issue does feel like a stop-gap for the story. While we get plenty of action and one dramatic yet not unexpected moment towards the end, nothing of relevance to the overall arc happens for the majority of the book. It is mostly just fighting and Brock searching for the symbiote. It isn’t a boring issue by any means, but it doesn’t contribute much to Venom Inc. However, it action-heavy enough to just ride on that alone.
As I already said, Sandoval does bring a lot of good to the comic with his hyper-stylistic and weighty art style. David Curiel backs him up well with a color palette of extremes on both ends of the chromatic spectrum. It is a popping and eye-catching issue all the way through.
Overall, Venom #159 does bring a fair amount of fun to the otherwise grindy story of Venom Inc. There’s a lot of punching, Spider-Man isn’t insufferable here, and Sandoval and Curiel keep things aesthetically appealing. I can recommend it to the fans of this story and its characters or anyone just looking for a fairly fun and mindless read. It’s worth checking out.
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