Eddie Brock is waking up nauseas from intense nightmares that seem connected to the Venom symbiote. Things complicate when the symbiote gets flighty and abandons Eddie during a fight with the Shocker. Finally, Claire Dixon pops up alive and well, and she and her men try to capture Venom.
Venom #164 plays off like something of a mystery issue that drops surprisingly good yet not too-on-the-nose hints for its big revelation at the end.
There's clearly something up with the symbiote, and the book takes us through a peculiar night as both the audience and Eddie try to figure out what's going on with Venom.
As such, the plot comes off as a bit unfocused, with dreams and events come off as vignette puzzle pieces. To its credit, the comic never bores. The dreams are bizarre and unnerving, and the confrontation with the Shocker is both funny and heavy on action.
Mike Costa's focus on the relationship between Eddie and the symbiote remains one of the strongest aspects of the comic. There's plenty to enjoy about this strange, tenuous, yet affectionate relationship between man and alien parasite.
Joyously, the great Mark Bagley has returned for this final arc to Costa's Venom title. His Lethal Protector continues to be a sleek, massive, and gorgeous monster. He doesn't overuse the tongue as any artists are prone, and he brings a detailed yet still classic comic aesthetic to the world of Venom. Scott Hanna's inking work is tight yet distinct. Plus, Dono Sanchez-Almara's color art keeps the world grim yet colorful, and it both undoubtedly matches our anti-hero and Bagley's line art very well.
Venom #164 brings the title back on track after the crossover stories, bringing us an interesting mystery story that leads to a shocking revelation. Bagley, Hanna, and Sanchez-Almara, bring excellent work to the artistic side of things, complimenting Costa's character-focused narrative. This one gets a strong recommendation. Give it a read.