Venom becomes the Lethal Protector once again! Trying to start again in New York and being the "savior" of a race of underground dinosaur people have put Eddie Brock in an awkward position of responsibility and restraint. Is he going to be able to continue his course of vigilantism, or is he just delaying the day when Venom is a feared name once again?
Firstly, the return of artist Mark Bagley, who was the master responsible for the art in the original Venom: Lethal Protector miniseries, is very welcome and adds a lot to the title. Bagley is definitely one of my Marvel favorites, and he has a style that fits Venom very well. This is a great-looking book, and it helps the reader stay engaged.
This new arc for writer Mike Costa shows a level of pacing and character focus that has been unseen in recent issues of the title. While "Land Before Crime" was a fun story, the pacing was pretty wonky, and it never slowed down to take a breath over the entire three-issue run. Here, we see what it's like for Eddie Brock to start anew with the symbiote in New York City. We see the complex relationship he has with the creature, as well as the great lengths he's going through to keep it and himself in check.
It even touches on some complex moral issues such as the state of the modern press and conflicts between oppressed groups.
I stress the word "touch" there, because, while it does at least acknowledge that these are things worth discussing, it doesn't dive too much into the issue. However, we may get more of this in future issues considering the way these conversations end in #155, so I'm willing to give Costa the benefit of the doubt and to say stay tuned.
Also, Venom looking over a group of underground people is actually something that happened in the original Lethal Protector story, for those who didn't know. I wasn't expecting that parallel in this story and am tickled by the commonality.
The Venom symbiote looks absolutely gorgeous in Bagley's signature style. It's a hulking monstrosity of teeth and claws, and I love just looking at it. I cannot stress enough how much of a boon he is for the title. While Gerardo Sandoval was by no means bad and brought his own gorgeous and unique look for the Venom title, I can't deny how effortless a veteran like Bagley makes it all look.
While recent issues of Venom were fun, #155 shows some thought and intelligence that "Land Before Crime" didn't really provide. Costa and Bagley look to be on the right track with Venom for Marvel Legacy, and I highly recommend this book. Check it out.