Eddie Brock is having a bad day. His alien symbiont is having nightmares — which has never happened before — and Eddie is worried that he can’t control the thing that makes him “Venom”. In Venom #1 we meet an Eddie Brock who is trying to survive in any way he can. Brock is not sitting back idly by taking his marching orders from the symbiont. In fact, Eddie Brock is actively trying to control the alien partner by taking anti-psychotic pills to drown out the sound of the symbiont talking in his head. Brock may still respond to police calls on his scanner, but he sits back in the shadows taking pictures that he can sell to the newspapers.
Sadly, Eddie Brock cannot stay in the shadows. He doesn’t really have a choice.
Brock is kidnapped by a mysterious man named Rex Strickland, who knows a lot about the alien symbiont and how to keep it at bay. Strickland enlists Brock to help him free some former friends, who were also bonded with similar alien symbionts. Brock agrees to help and only finds more trouble, and more questions with no answers in sight.
I never thought of Eddie Brock and Venom as a particularly interesting comic, or character. He was always tagged in my mind with the portrayal of the character on the big screen in Spider-Man III which was not a good movie. In short, I didn’t care about the character, and I didn’t want to learn anything more about him. Writer Donny Cates has changed my mind.
I always try to review comics with an open mind. Sometimes I am quite surprised by the depth of character development and themes to a story, and sometimes, I just enjoy the battles scenes which result in the good guys beating up the bad guys. Comic books are a great escape for me from the mundane aspects of every day. Venom #1 changed my whole outlook on the character of Eddie Brock and his alien parasite that enables his super power abilities.
Eddie Brock is a sad case. From the opening panel we see a man who lives in squalor, whose life is not going the way he planned, and to make matters worse, he is trying everything possible to control the alien that makes him Venom. The things that this parasite forces him to do goes against the core values of Eddie Brock.
Brock doesn’t want to hurt or kill anyone. Venom doesn’t care and there is nothing that the alien parasite would love more than to rip out the entrails of anyone who angered him. What made Venom #1 so compelling and interesting for me to read is the internal struggle that Eddie Brock experiences. To have a constant battle within oneself about what to do and how to do things must be exhausting.
While the introduction of a mysterious character like Rex Strickland might seem cliché, I thought he was done well and gave some backstory to the history of the symbiont. Project Rebirth, the connection between human host and the alien life that Rex Strickland and friends experienced with the symbiont and making it an offshoot of the Captain America mythology was a unique way of connecting the two very different characters.
Steve Rogers and his Captain America persona is the very definition of good. He is true and honest and defends the rights of all. The experiment that made a sickly Steve Rogers a super soldier was a success. What happens if the experiment works, but the ingredients are not the same? Well, that’s what you get with Eddie Brock and Venom.
Artists Ryan Stegman and JP Mayer have added a level of noir and misery to the emotional state that Eddie Brock lives in. When we see Brock, he looks disheveled, and in need of a full night sleep, without voices in his head dreaming of past nightmares like we saw at the start of this comic.
Readers will feel empathy for Brock, based on the internal battles he has, but with excellent artwork by Stegman and Mayer, a reader will follow Eddie Brock’s newest journey and hope that he finds peace and success.