Posted February 11, 2013 by Mikael Angelo Francisco in Comics


Writer: Cullen Bunn
Artist: Declan Shavley


Something venomous has arrived… and it’s hankering for a good cheesesteak sandwich.

Flash Thompson – former high school bully turned war-hardened superhero – has moved to Philadelphia for a change of pace. Becoming the city’s self-proclaimed guardian (mainly because, as Flash himself noticed, there is a disturbing lack of superheroes in Philadelphia), Flash adjusts to life in the city and quickly finds ways to amuse himself while patrolling.

Enough time has passed since Rick Remender’s departure from the title to make a passable assessment of whether or not Bunn has managed to match the high standard the former set for the title. Bunn’s run is currently somewhere between satisfactory and outstanding. Primarily, the strength of Bunn’s portrayal of Venom lies in the way he characterizes the hero.

An important scene, for example, illustrates that Flash thinks things through and considers tactical advantages and disadvantages, which works in conjunction with the fact that he’s a soldier; a war veteran who has learned to anticipate everything and anything that could go wrong. At the same time, Flash displays a sense of humor that shines through despite many personal tragedies he had to go through even before he became Venom.

A few sequences in the book also show us Flash’s most recent interactions with some of the most important people in his life. At this point, it still stings a bit to see a Peter Parker who is, well, in full control of himself, but if recent solicitations were to be any indication, the struggle in Peter’s mind just might be coming to an end in a few months’ time.

Going back to Flash…Frankly, it’s hard to believe that this is the same person I’ve been reading about for years as a constant thorn in Peter Parker’s side. Very few characters in comics undergo this kind of journey to maturity, and I hope that Flash stays as Venom for much longer.

Bunn’s smooth storytelling makes this comic a perfect jumping-on point for people who just started reading, and sets the stage quite nicely for upcoming stories in the next few months.

The art is decent as well.  Declan Shavley manages to convey the fluidity and sliminess of the suit, while not scrimping on detail. Venom’s body armor really looks like it could take a few good rounds, and while the idea of a gunslinging Lethal Protector might still irk some fans up to now, I myself think that this is the best use of the character ever since his very first appearance. Shavley’s faces are expressive and full of personality, and the tone and mood set by both the penciling style and the coloring is perfect for this book.

I was hoping that we’d see more of Flash’s developing relationship with Valkyrie, but with him in Philadelphia and Valkyrie leading the Fearless Defenders, I guess it’s inevitable that their romance would take a back seat.

I like how they’ve spread the main Spiders all over the country – Spider-Man is still New York’s beloved hero, while Kaine is (unintentionally) making a name for himself in Texas as the Scarlet Spider. I’m still praying for a three-way crossover, though. It looks like we’re definitely getting a Spider-themed crossover in the immediate future, though. A major character appears at the end, promising a brutal smackdown between him and good ol’ Flash.


I never thought a Venom book would reach 31 issues, but, well, here we are. As far as I’m concerned, this title has earned it.

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Mikael Angelo Francisco