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Review: Venom: Dark Origin #1

August 3rd, 2008

Yeah, okay, where to start? I guess, as Eddie Brock would want, with the truth. I hadn’t intended to read this series. I’m not a fan of Venom. Now I’ve enjoyed his appearances over the years in Spider-Man, but have never picked up any of the series focusing on him. This was going to be no different, to my mind. Of all the titles coming out on August 6th, I’m not even sure why I decided to read this one first, but I did and I’m glad of it. This first issue is not dedicated to the origin of Venom, but rather focuses solely on Eddie Brock. Let me just say this, by the second page I had decided that Brock was waaaayyy more messed up then I ever imagined. I always saw him as a guy who made some bad choices and that his erratic/psychotic behavior was a result of his bond with the symbiote. Evidently this is not even remotely the case. This issue shows Brock’s life from elementary age up to college. We only see little snippets, but they are very telling. Within the first few pages, pages that are previewed here for you, there is an implication that Eddie Brock may have shown some early indications that he was a serial killer in the making. Or perhaps a spree killer.

Zeb Wells does an excellent job of creating interest in a character you thought you already knew. Usually, when reading a comic, or any bit of fiction really, there is the hope for some surprise twist in the story, something you didn’t see coming. The interesting thing about this story is I didn’t see the tone or direction of this story coming. Perhaps I should have, though, because it makes perfect sense. Eddie Brock becomes a much more interesting and compelling character. The question this all raises in my mind concerns the morality that played a fairly important role in Venom’s attitude toward protecting innocents. As I’ve said I’m no Venom scholar, and my recollection is vague, but I always thought his goal was to kill Spider-Man and protect the innocents. Wells may be intending to change things up a bit. I’m very interested to see where he goes from here.

The art on the book was excellent. I’ve always associated Angel Medina with Spawn, a character created by Todd McFarlane, so it seems a natural fit for him to be working on Venom, another McFarlane creation. Well, partially created by McFarlane. Anyway, the art matches the tone of the story wonderfully. It is a very detailed, but strongly cartoon based style with great use of cross-hatching, contrast, angles and perspective. The inker for Medina is Scott Hanna and colorist is Matt Milla. These three work seamlessly together. I would love to see the work at each stage to really get a feel for what each artist added to each page.

Venom: Dark Origin #1 was an interesting read, adding a great deal to a character who’s been around for quite awhile. The great thing about it is you don’t have to be a fan of Venom or Eddie Brock, you don’t have to be reading Spider-Man, or even have any knowledge of either character, really, to enjoy this book. It’s really an excellent introduction to the character. For long time fans, this starts at the beginning before Eddie Brock was Venom, so I think it’s safe to say, you’ll want to read this, too.

Surprisingly, recommended for any fan of Marvel comics.


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