EDGE OF THE VENOMVERSE #5
Writer: Clay McLeod Chapman
Penciler: James Stokoe
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Release Date: 8/23/17
Wade Wilson is on a mission to find a “parasitologist” (presumably an Infectious Disease Specialist) who has gone against the Pentagon, and winds up in a very sticky situation with a few parasites of his own. And, of course, a certain symbiote.
Plot: In the middle of what appears to be a parasitic zombie attack courtesy of Dr. Scott, Deadpool catches sight of the Venom symbiote in a jar and breaks it free in order to bond with it. Adding that power to his own, Wade is able to fend off the parasites within the lab. But his next stop is St. MacReady’s Hospital, so that he can prevent the hive mind from spreading to new unsuspecting victims.
Story: Edge of the Venomverse #5 may just be the best one in the series, as Clay McLeod Chapman seems to have an excellent understanding of Deadpool as a character and just what makes him so popular. The story works on its own even without needing to be connected to the Venomverse, which is something that can’t be said for many of the other issues thus far. The referential humor that Chapman relies on to make his Deadpool work doesn’t feel like overkill – perhaps because it’s only one issue – and helps to make him feel like more than just one character amidst a bunch of slugs.
This is also perhaps one of the few issues to give the symbiote a personality of its own, which becomes affected and shaped by Deadpool’s in a true symbiotic relationship. Their interactions with the poor nameless patients they’re trying to help creates more than a few laugh-out-loud moments that don’t feel forced, merely uncomfortable in just the way you’d expect a Deadpool-Venom combo to be. But it is really VenomCap’s appearance at the end that seals Edge of the Venomverse #5 as a great introduction to the new ‘Verse – one that actually creates excitement for the upcoming event.
Art: While the art can appear crude at times and wouldn’t work from a visual standpoint for many other stories, the style James Stokoe has chosen is perfect for Edge of the Venomverse #5. The entire plot is based around literal parasites, and the rough sketching of the characters reflects the sub-human nature of their behavior quite well. The emotions on everyone’s faces are also rendered with aplomb- so much so that even tapeworms and black blobs of Venom feel like their own independent characters.
His coloring and shading are equally up to par, adding to the horror movie atmosphere that’s present throughout the issue. Dark motion lines contrast with brighter backgrounds to give off the sense of action and movement that’s needed for a comic that is mostly fight scenes, and Stokoe’s art often escapes the boundaries of its panels in order to feel truly three-dimensional.
Verdict: Making the best use possible out of a Deadpool and Venom team-up allows the Venomverse intro series to end on a positive note, storing up goodwill for the war and event series to come.
Star Rating: 4 out of 5