REVIEW: The Amazing Spider-Man #792 – “The Symbiote Syndrome”

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Writer: Dan Slott
Penciller: Ryan Stegman
Colorist: Brian Reber
Letterers: VC’s Joe Caramagna & Joe Sabino
Price: $3.99
Release Date: 12/13/17
Rating: T

Amazing Spider-Man

Plot: Previously, Flash Thompson became the new Anti-Venom. Now Flash severs Eddie Brock’s bond with the Venom Symbiote thanks to his new suit. While Flash is eager to reconnect with the symbiote, Spider-Man stops him so they can track the other symbiote fragment in the city. Meanwhile, Lee Price takes control of Black Cat’s empire courtesy of the aforementioned symbiote fragment.

Story: Dan Slott is one of my favorite comic book writers. He writes entertaining dialogue that feels natural and humorous. It’s one of the reasons The Amazing Spider-Man is on the top of my pull list. The best examples in this issue are the exchanges between Spider-Man and Flash Thompson. Spidey is quick to dismiss the symbiote as a monster but Flash says he can control it now and Spidey is acting like a bully. Spider-Man considers this ironic since Flash bullied him during their high school years. Plus we get several funny moments when Spider-Man hides his secret identity.

Despite my praise for Slott’s dialogue, the story isn’t new reader friendly. If you haven’t read the current Venom title, then you’ll be confused about several things. Unfortunately this crossover doesn’t give the reader an answer about why Flash lost the symbiote and how it got to Price then Brock. Also this story’s antagonist, Lee Price, was the symbiote’s host between Flash and Brock but it doesn’t explain how he’s able to use only a piece of the symbiote to control people’s minds. Also after I read this issue, I had to read the first Venom trade just to understand how Price found the symbiote and Brock reclaimed it.

Art: Even though I had problems with the story, the artwork is pretty awesome. The issue opens with an amazing splash page of Spider-Man knocking Brock out after Flash removes the symbiote. Plus Ryan Stegman did an outstanding job with the symbiote by itself. Without a host, the symbiote looked very lifelike and fluid. Although it is a little weird seeing the symbiote with a face when it’s not attached to anything.

Also there were some cool new costumes for Flash and Price. As Anti-Venom, the suit takes the form of Flash’s symbiote when he was Agent Venom. The Agent Venom suit was a great redesign for the Venom character so this was a nice throwback. With Price’s symbiote he’s using the handle, Maniac. Price’s symbiote makes him look like he’s wearing a Venom mask with a Venom-themed overcoat. This feels appropriate for Price’s character since he’s more of a street-level criminal than a super villain.

Verdict: If you’re a Venom fan then you should check out this issue. However if you’re only reading Amazing Spider-Man then you’ll be confused. While this doesn’t mean the story is bad, it just won’t be enjoyable for fans who’ve only read one version of Venom. Overall, I would say this issue was an average read.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

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