Eddie Brock and Venom have begun having nightmares of a symbiote attacking Norse warriors from a long time ago. Eddie has begun taking anti-psychotics to suppress Venom's voice, as the creature has become more violent as of late. The two go out to take pictures from the arrest of a costumed criminal, but Venom gets out of control and makes a bizarre transformation. There, Eddie and his symbiote meet someone who knows more about the Klyntars than even Eddie.
Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman put their best foot forward with this first issue to Venom's new run. Like Mike Costa's work, it focuses on the relationship between Eddie and the symbiote. That's important, as it keeps the narrative emotionally resonant. Costa made their bond compelling and even human(ish), and Cates looks to be doing the same thing.
The big twist of this comic sets up for a very interesting first arc for this series, and it takes the comic to a place it hasn't gone before. I won't spoil it, but it has the potential to make for one of the coolest villains Venom has ever had.
There are plenty of solid action beats in this issue too. One that sticks in my mind is Venom lineman-charging a semi-truck. That's objectively awesome.
Stegman's artwork doesn't disappoint, and he seems more taken with the tongue than recent artists. I'm not as big a fan of the tongue, but I can respect the appreciation. He also cuts back on the crazy eyebrows from Venom Inc. The inky-black hulk himself looks generally fantastic in this book, and shadows are used cleverly and eerily throughout much of the book. JP Mayer's inkwork is rock-solid. Frank Martin's color art is dark and atmospheric, but it's balanced out well with contrasting shades when the scene calls for it.
Venom #1 by Cates, Stegman, Mayer, and Martin is a promising and exciting first installment for the new era of the series. The team fires on all cylinders and promises to take the character in interesting directions from here. This one is highly recommended. Check it out.