Review: Venom #31
A tie-in to King in Black, Venom #31 is going to irritate some readers while others will praise the interesting direction of the comic. As the opening issue of King of Black ended, Eddie Brock had his symbiote ripped from him and thrown from the top of a buildng. This issue… is just Eddie falling. That’s it. Seriously.
Titled “Thirty-Two Seconds“, writer Donny Cates spends the issue chronicling Eddie falling to his possible death. We know as readers the likelihood of that isn’t going to happen but as pages flip we’re expecting a miraculous save and some action and are delivered… falling. Seriously. That’s it.
It’s an interesting issue and it has a key goal. For those who are new to Venom and started King in Black with its first issue, Venom #31 acts as a way to catch individuals up. The issue takes us through some of the history of the character reflecting how this is an event years in the making and setting up the difficult battle ahead.
But, what’s truly amazing about the issue is that it never delivers what you expect it to.
Eddie falls. That’s it.
There is not miraculous save. There is no symbiote to the rescue. This is an issue that never delivers what you expect and leaves the reader waiting for something that never happens. In that way, it’s an amazing issue. It’s also sure to piss people off.
Cates pulls off the audacious issue with art by Iban Coello. Along with Jesus Aburtov on color and Clayton Cowles on lettering, the art is fantastic as expected. Coello and Aburtov are a great combo for art. With panels delivering but seconds, the duo use it to show the terror as Eddie falls. We’re taken through the motions of fear, attempts at finding a solution, and then acceptance. Much of this is conveyed through Eddie’s face as he falls. His body language delivers a sense of someone out of control. His eyes tells us as much as to what he’s thinking as does the dialogue. Cowles lettering takes advantage of some of the page layouts delivering an almost poet like text during Eddie’s plummeting.
Venom #31 is a gutsy issue and I’m not sure what to think honestly. I want to read it again and as a single issue, there’s something amazing about it. But, little happens. It’s a non-story. We get taken through the steps of grief and are never delivered to our expectations. In that way, it stands out, but it’s also an issue that’s sure to anger some readers at the same time.
Story: Donny Cates Art: Iban Coello
Color: Jesus Aburtov Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Story: 7.5 Art: 8.75 Overall: 7.75 Recommendation: Read
Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review