Rick Remender’s final issue of Venom is finally here, and he ends his run in quite a beautiful fashion. It’s the big battle you’ve been waiting for between Venom and his arch-nemesis, Jack O’Lantern, with stellar art from Declan Shalvey. Let me tell you, I’m going to miss Remender on this title.
Read on for my review!
Being born in 1990 and raised on the Spidey comics and cartoons of the time, I was definitely a kid who fell for Venom and the other symbiotes. As I grew older I started to learn about all the others that existed, and as I was still pretty young, they all seemed really awesome to me. I mean, if I liked one symbiote character, I would like a dozen even more, right? Well, as time goes and you look back at things you used to love, you tend to find them to be a bit more juvenile than you remember, and that seems to be the common consensus for comic readers on the symbiotes. Nothing that came out of those characters in the past couple of decades was really that good of a read, and none of the characters really added much to anything. So when a new, ongoing Venom title was solicited for Marvel, there was a good amount of worry that this title was just going to be another failed attempt at using this, once awesome, character.
Luckily, the title was given to Rick Remender, who had just recently started his run on Uncanny X-Force to extreme acclaim and we’d see him joined by his Fear Agent partner, Tony Moore. The result was something fantastic, and I hope we don’t have to wait twenty years for another series that really does Venom justice.
Twenty-two issues later and Remender is bidding the title adieu, leaving the co-writer of the last arc, Cullen Bunn, to take over in his place starting with issue #23, but to me the title is over and it’s always sad to see something you loved come to an end. Fortunately, Remender does an incredible job of closing out his story with an emotionally tasking issue that really highlights how well he understands his lead character and the antagonist he’s been using since issue #1—Jack O’Lantern.
The issue takes place after the events of the previous arc where we saw the Crime Master taken out by Betty Brant, his own sister. Though the head of Venom’s problems is gone, he still has Jack to deal with, and while Jack’s always been a thorn in his side, this issue adds levels of emotion to the plight between these two tortured characters.
It’s Fathers Day, and while Venom, Flash Thompson, is shown mourning his own father’s recent death by remembering just how horrible of a father he was, he also has to face Jack, who believed that the recently deceased Crime Master was his own father. This leads to a bout that’s not only as violent as what you’d expect from the final match between these two, but it’s also something that’ll hit you right in the heart, as it’s made even clearer what Flash has gone through and what he’s going through now.
Remender certainly outdoes himself in this finale issue, and he does so well on it, that it makes me even more sad to see him leave. I guess I just have to stay happy in the fact that he’ll continue to write the character in the pages of Secret Avengers, especially since I won’t be buying this title anymore (in singles, I’ll grab the collections though) now that Cullen Bunn is taking over.
The breakout stars of this issue, though, are in the arts department. Declan Shalvey joins the series for this issue, and right away his work stands out as some of the greatest this series has seen. However, it’s not just Shalvey’s pencils that make a huge impression, but the colors that Lee Loughridge uses through the issue. The palette changes from a beautiful warm orange for the background with the symbiote in a cool black/blue, to a faded greyscale for flashback scenes.
Rick Remender closes out this series in nearly perfect form, and I couldn’t have asked for him to put out a better finale to his run. Fans will not be disappointed, and I think this one will go down as a fan-favorite comic from this decade; as something that was truly different from everything that shared its name before it, showing us that the character of Venom isn’t stale as we thought.
GO Rating: 4.5/5