REVIEW: Venom Inc Alpha #1 – “Klyntar’s Choice”

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The Amazing Spider-Man & Venom: Venom Inc Alpha #1 |
Title: Venom Inc. Part One
Writer: Dan Slott & Mike Costa
Artist: Ryan Stegman
Colorist: Brian Reber
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Cover Artist: Ryan Stegman & Brian Reber
Release Date: 12/06/17
Rating: Rated T+
Price: $4.99

Venom Inc Alpha Cover

In the wake of Secret Empire, Parker Industries has fallen, and is being dismantled leaving Peter Parker feeling like Enemy #1 in New York City. Peter finds himself broke and homeless so he crashes with his new love interest Bobbi Morse A.K.A. Mockingbird’s place. Peter feels at his lowest, totally defeated entering Venom Inc. but finds his escape as Spider-Man.

Upon returning from space with the Guardians of The Galaxy, Flash Thompson, Agent Venom had his symbiote forcibly removed by the F.B.I. sending him into a depression. The symbiote retreated in pain and fear bonding with a new host Lee Price, who used the symbiote to hurt others again, and he began to regress becoming less intelligent and was separated from Price thanks to Spider-Man and captured by the F.B.I.

Eddie Brock freed Venom and the two rebonded but the symbiote’s more violent nature took hold which was against what Eddie wanted to do. After some violent and disturbing encounters where the symbiote lashed out in near lethal measures, Brock sought help from Alchemax. Liz Allan had Dr. Steven run tests that determined the drugs he was taking to suppressed Toxin while working for the F.B.I. changed his metabolism leaving his body inhospitable for any symbiote. Dr. Steven developed a drug that when taken on a regular basis will suppress the violent urges of the symbiote and make Brock’s body able to host it.

Venom Inc Alpha 01

Plot: Flash Thompson has bounced back from his depression and is searching for his symbiote. Meanwhile Lee Price removes Mania from Andrea Benton using it to help transform himself into Maniac. With Andrea hurt Flash seeks out Venom and confronts him and Brock leaving Venom with a Sophie’s Choice.  

Story:  In my hometown of Philadelphia Mania is patrolling taking out criminals while Facetiming with Flash about finding his symbiote in New York. Mania goes to a robbery at a jewelry store where she is met by three men who attack her with fire and sonic weapons forcibly removing the symbiote from her. This part I have a problem, because of Continuity Jay (not the most loved version of me I am told LOL), because Andi has a Hell-Mark that the symbiote represses, and yes it can be repressed by drugs but only as a short solution. Now this could have been accomplished “off-panel” but it wasn’t mentioned at all here.

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The Looter is robbing the Guggenheim Museum which Spider-Man intervenes but before he can web him up he is attacked by the Black Cat who also gets away trapping Spider-Man under a sculpture. While trapped Peter gets a call from Flash asking to meet up with him. Later, the Looter has a near fatal run in with Venom, but Brock is able to reign him in. This part also irks me in a way. I get that we needed a scene to get Spider-Man here and set up Looter later on, but to trapped him under a sculpture that was knocked over with a whip when he can lift tons, but he is struggling with, what a few hundred pounds?

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Spider-Man tracked Flash, who tracked Brock to Alchemax where Brock goes for help in controlling Venom as the formula he was taking doesn’t seem to be working. Dr. Steven has two vats of a white substance (Astrobiological Serum) that in a small dose regulates the hormonal output of the symbiote. When Flash confronts Brock, Venom is torn literally and metaphorically in two over which host he wants as he tries bonding to both at the same time. Spider-Man arrives learns about the serum and dumps a whole vat on them transforming Flash into an Agent Venom looking Anti-Venom.

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Ok, I have more gripes here. First, Peter over the years has made a mess load of Spider-Tracers with homing signals while being a broke teenage high school and college student, but it now costs three grand for an audio component? In today’s world it should not cost him that much for just one Spider-Tracer. How much did it cost to make one with just tracking abilities? Again, he was broke struggling to live high school student with a sick Aunt who was on a perpetual deathbed. I also found that it was more cost effective to make two GIANT vats of the Astrobiological Serum then a say a small vial of it. If you did not see the vat being dumped everywhere, get your Spider-Senses and common senses checked.

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The issue end with the Looter in a bar shaken over almost being eaten by Venom when a man grabs him from the side turning him around spitting some black gunk on his face. The gunk covered the Looter’s eyes and as he falls to the floor we see his face covered in a Venom-like mask. The Looter looks up and we see that Lee Price is above him, in possession of the Mania Symbiote and now calling himself Maniac welcoming the Looter to his group who all have the same mask on their faces.  

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Art:  The art here is a great example of why I like Ryan Stegman on Spider-Man. He draws a great lanky, spidery Spider-Man while also doing a great job making the dominating, intimidating Venom. His transition panels are inventive, free flowing pieces of art onto themselves and you can see that when Looter is being transformed by Maniac. He also does a tremendous job with facial expression, from Brock, to Flash, to Peter with and without the Spider-Man mask you can feel what the characters are emoting which helps put us in the scene with them.

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Verdict: Overall this issue has me torn. With all of my little nitpicks being said I did like this issue. I really enjoyed Flash in these scenes, and in the issue as a whole. I am a die hard original Eddie Brock as Venom fan, but something happened during Flash’s time as Venom, I grew to like the two together. I saw both characters grow and become something more, and was sad to them part ways, but was happy to see him with Brock again. The two pairings were as different as night and day, and I wanted Flash to regain a piece of it, maybe an offspring, or something like what happened with Mania, a piece of Venom. But I have to be honest and say I am not sure what to think of this new Anti-Venom yet, or Maniac.

Venom Inc Alpha Rating

Rating: 3 ½  stars.

 

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