Amazing Spider-Man: Venom, Inc #1 (Marvel Comics)
It’s been about a year since the last big Spider-Man story arc, so it’s about time for another one. Luckily though, Venom, Inc is looking to be way more interesting than Clone Conspiracy, mainly because this storyline looks to answer some of the lingering questions regarding Eddie Brock, Flash Thompson, and the Venom symbiote. As the first installment of the “Venom, Inc” crossover that will bounce between Amazing Spider-Man and Venom, Venom, Inc Alpha #1 sets the stage with both Amazing writer Dan Slott and Venom writer Mike Costa, and it features art by the stellar Ryan Stegman.
Flash Thompson desperately wants the Venom symbiote back, and he’s turning to Peter Parker for help. Even though he doesn’t have any superhuman abilities anymore, Flash knows that Peter can ask his old pal Spidey to help him get it back. The two make it to Alchemax, where Eddie Brock has arrived to receive the medication that helps keep his symbiote in check. Naturally, the symbiote freaks out, causing it to try and attach to Flash and Eddie at the same time, leaving Flash as the new Anti-Venom. Oh, there’s also a new symbiote monstrosity known as Maniac is building his army.
Both Dan Slott and Mike Costa do a great job setting the stage with this storyline, and their writing abilities mesh up really well, so much so that I didn’t even notice who wrote what part. Trying to piece together the story of Flash Thompson and Eddie Brock isn’t going to be an easy one, but if anyone can make it work, it’s Slott, and Costa’s proven himself to be a rising star with the current Venom series, so this crossover is in good hands writing wise.
As good as the script for Venom, Inc is, the art is what really seals the deal here. Ryan Stegman is an artist that I’ve followed since he started at Marvel a few years ago, and he’s easily one of the top Spidey artists Marvel has. A great mix of Todd McFarlane and modern comic art, Stegman delivers some truly dynamic panels and sequences in this issue, the stand out being a jaw-dropping (and hilarious), splash page right when the symbiote is choosing between Eddie and Flash.
While comic fans may not want to shell out money for another crossover, the good news is that if you are already getting Amazing Spider-Man and Venom then you don’t need to get any other issues (aside from the Omega special finale issue). Plus, you could do worse having Slott and Costa handle this event (providing that Slott can actually stick the landing this time). As it stands right now, Venom, Inc looks to be another cool Spidey event that’s worth checking out.