Venom #162 Review: Another Issue of X-Men Blue

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With the X-Men now armed with their own Klyntar symbiotes, the team plus Venom fight Haze Mancer and his symbiote-wrangling robots.

After this confrontation, the team is ready to pursuit the symbiote-enhanced mercenaries that took Corsair and the Starjammers.

Venom #162 cover by Will Robson and Edgar Salazar
Venom #162 cover by Will Robson and Edgar Salazar

While writing that summary, I had to stop and look back to see if anything happened after the X-Men and Venom fought Haze Mancer. No, not really. The plot comes to full stop after the fight.

To Venom #162's credit, it tries to work some character development out of the X-Men and their new symbiote partners. Unfortunately, it's mostly Cyclops being an aggressive dick, the team pointing out that Beast's symbiote form resembles a demon, and Venom constantly pointing out how douchey it was that the X-Men forced him into this mission.

Also overlooked is that this isn't an issue of X-Men Blue. It's an issue of Venom. What changes, confrontations, and development that occurs within the X-Men team isn't relevant to this comic book title. Again, that could be overlooked if the dialogue was better and the attempts at change were in any way compelling. All of this does highlight that this may as well be just another issue of X-Men Blue instead of a crossover with Venom.

Killer Thrill is such a terrible villain. This character plays up to the sexually aroused sadist villain archetype, but brings nothing unique or of interest to the table. Haze Mancer's painful southern affect is miserable too.

There's also a twist ending that raises so many questions, but I couldn't bring myself to care.

Venom #162 art by Edgar Salazar, Ario Anindito, and Dono Sanchez-Almara
Venom #162 art by Edgar Salazar (pictured), Ario Anindito, and Dono Sanchez-Almara (pictured)

The closest thing to a saving grace is the art of Edgar Salazar and Ario Anindito. The comic looks great despite the abysmal plotting and dialogue. Venom especially is given some loving detail, and the symbiote forms of Beast, Iceman, and Angel all look good. It does shift for the worst when we return to the mercenaries that have the Starjammers, but I doubt the likes of Alex Ross, Adi Granov, or Gabrielle Dell'Otto could make the villains' symbiote designs look anything less than awful. Dono Sanchez-Almara's color work is solid through most of the comic too, but, again, the evil symbiotes have such a terrible design that it drags down talented creators.

Venom #162 is just another issue of X-Men Blue, and X-Men Blue is in a disappointing state right now. While the artists do their best to salvage this book, the dialogue and plot-pacing weight this enterprise down too much. Give this one a pass.

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About Joshua Davison

Josh is a longtime super hero comic fan and an aspiring comic book and fiction writer himself. He also trades in videogames, Star Wars, and Magic: The Gathering, and he is also a budding film buff. He's always been a huge nerd, and he hopes to contribute something of worth to the wider geek culture conversation. He is also happy to announce that he is the new Reviews Editor for Bleeding Cool. Follow on Twitter @joshdavisonbolt.
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