Publisher: Marvel Comics
Writer: Mike Costa
Art: Gerardo Sandoval
Cover Price: $3.99
Since 1988, Venom has been a thorn in Spider Man’s side and one of Marvel’s most iconic villains. However, Venom has often played the role of an anti-hero, and more recently has made the transition to a true hero when he bonded with its latest host, Flash Thompson. Now, through unseen circumstances, Flash has lost possession of the symbiote, so Venom has been forced to find a new host. Unfortunately, this new host has less than altruistic motives and it seems Venom might turn villainous once again. This premise had me interested, and when I read it I was impressed with most of the story; but I do have some problems.
The normal dynamic between Venom and its hosts is that the symbiote corrupts and takes control, making the host more aggressive and prone to violent outbursts. Mike Costa shakes things up by inverting this dynamic. Venom has become more altruistic and good-natured during his time with Flash Thompson. On the other hand, Lee Price, Venom’s new host, is more interested in helping himself than being a hero. Lee favors being evil because he believes that those who do wrong in this world have an easier life and wishes to use Venom’s power to his advantage to take that good life for himself. I am interested to see how this relationship will evolve in the future, and whether Venom will turn evil, or influence Lee to become good. However, I do not find Lee Price interesting right now. To me, Lee seems bland, just another dark, brooding loner with a mysterious past type. His absolute remorselessness does stand out, but other than that Lee does not have much else to offer. Hopefully he will become more fleshed as the story continues.
Gerardo Sandoval was an excellent choice as the artist for this book. His art easily fits the gritty crime drama that Costa was aiming for. In spite of the dark city atmosphere, the stand out moments for me in this comic are when Lee and Venom bond. The panels for these pages are especially creative, depicting important events in Lee and Venom’s lives, dividing the two between Venom’s symbol. Also, I enjoyed Sandoval’s new design for Venom, as seen below.
This design harkens back to Venom’s original appearance, a more muscular, towering, monstrous version of Spider Man. The addition I like the white additions on his arms, very skeletal and helps the claws stand out.
While I don’t believe the first issue was outstanding, I do see its potential. I see the potential for Venom and Price’s relationship to be interesting; seeing whether the symbiote will hold true to the heroic nature picked up from Flash, or give into Price’s will and become evil again. I would also like to see what type of role previous hosts like Flash and Mac Gargan will play in the series, and how much of Venom’s history they will incorporate into this new run. I do have some initial problems with Lee Price, but I am hopeful we will learn more about him in the following issues. While Venom #1 is rough around the edges, I can definitely say that it has caught my attention, and I will be coming back to see how this story plays out.
See you next week,