So, where else can you take the Blue team X-Men after time travel/dimensional shenanigans? Well, screw it, take them to space! It’s not like it’s the first time the X-Men have traveled to space. Though Venom is an added bonus given as we speak, Marvel is hooked on Venom yet again, just in time for his movie coming this October. Regardless of what you think of the character, Venom is here to stay and…I don’t mind it, I’m sorry, I like Venom. He’s a better Spider-Man villain than the Green Goblin anyway. Bias talking, yeah but still.
Regardless, this is the next arc for the Blue team of our merry mutants. Our merry, time displaced teenage mutants but still. X-Men: Blue #21 continues off from the annual issue where Corsair and the Starjammers are captured by space pirates. By the way, for those new to comics, Corsair is the father of Scott Summers a.k.a. Cyclops. Why is his dad in space? Long, long story but bear with me here. Anyway, it’s basically a search for his father with Scott hellbent on finding him and the rest of the team consisting of Jean Grey (Marvel Girl), Angel and Beast are along with the ride and along with the main symbiote himself, Venom.
And it turns out the space pirates who kidnapped Corsair and the Starjammers are space pirates infected with symbiotes. To be fair, I imagine this will be a better executed version of Planet of the Symbiotes.
So it’s an overall race to find answers as to what’s even going on and where are they whilst being on the run and of course, Venom has his own methods of finding answers. Spoiler alert, it’s not pretty. Then again, it’s Venom, nothing ever ends pretty.
Characterization is decent, Cullen Bunn is still writing the time displaced X-Men pretty well with each character feeling distinct and Cyclops does the most narration that never felt over the top, so there’s a feel as to how personally he’s taking this whole scenario. Venom is even well written himself. He’s brutal, tough and is just kind of casual about himself and the symbiote. And what’s interesting of note is that during a fight scene, he explains what having the symbiote is like, saying it’s like having a rush but it’s like a bad relationship the more you stick with it. This reminded of a conversation I had in that the relationship between Eddie Brock and the Venom symbiote, is a literal toxic relationship. Yeah it’s easy to call it a drug metaphor but toxic relationships is a better analog between this comic and the Venom stories before it because it really kind of is. Venom in a nutshell can be manifestations of Eddie Brock’s violent, inner rage and the symbiote feeds that and given the ending with the X-Men, this will not end well for everyone.
Art by Jacopo Camagni at first I thought is decent but the more I look and think back to it, the more it not only fits but it does look very good. Nothing seems amiss with how the characters are drawn. Got to say though, this is the most normal I’ve ever seen Venom looked. Nothing is very exaggerated with how he’s drawn. I’m so used to how he’s usually dawn with the very sharp teeth and too muscular body but here, he looks perfect. He’s buff but not ridiculously so. I do wish for more sharp teeth but he looks very cool and much praise to the action as well, seems like good sync between Bunn’s writing and Camagni’s art. And the colors on the book are smooth and well lit. Kudos to the colorists really.
It’s a good arc so far and there’s promising stuff, if you’re a fan of either this book or the Venom character, check it out. You may like this one.