Venom #163 Review: Enough Good Action to Make a Solid Issue

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Jean Grey and Killer Thrill have been taken over by the Poisons. They are joined by a third Poison whom appears to be Kraven the Hunter. Cyclops hopes to save Jean, but Venom tells him that the Poisons kill the Klyntar hosts. Knowing that the symbiotes are now a liability, the X-Men, Venom, and the Starjammers still must fight the Poisons to survive, even after they take over Killer Thrill's crew.

Venom #163 cover by Will Robson and Morry Hollowell
Venom #163 cover by Will Robson and Morry Hollowell

You know what? This one is alright. No caveats, no "buts," this is just a solid issue.

It's still not great, and the action can become tiresome. The entire comic is an extended action sequence, and this conflict hasn't been built-up enough to justify its length.

However, the action is still enjoyable, and the insane visual designs of everyone involved makes for, if nothing else, an aesthetically unique experience.

What is frustrating and keeps this comic from being something genuinely good is the loose ends that it leaves dangling despite the overblown and decompressed nature of this plot (I hold that this all could have been told in two issues or even just the X-Men: Blue Annual). The Poisons aren't dealt with. Jean Grey's fate is left to mystery. We're not even told definitively whether or not that third Poison is actually Kraven the Hunter.

Venom #163 art by Edgar Salazar, Allen Martinez, and Dono Sanchez-Almara
Venom #163 art by Edgar Salazar, Allen Martinez, and Dono Sanchez-Almara

Edgar Salazar and Ario Anindito bring this all to life, and they are the ones that make it readable at all. Both artists make the comic look very good, even if the artistic shift seems unnecessary and isn't signaled at all by a transition in the narrative. However, they still do good work, Allen Martinez does good inkwork, and Dono Sanchez-Almara still provides great color art.

Venom #163 is noticeably flawed, but it is a fun enough installment. The action is fun and fairly creative, and the artists put in great work, the latter of which really holds the entire issue together. I can recommend this one, even if it isn't exactly a must-read. Feel free to pick it up.

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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.