[Comic Book Review] VENOM #12 from Marvel Comics

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PopCultHQ received a review copy of VENOM #12 from Marvel Comics. Available March 20th, the creative team for this issue features writing from Donny Cates, art from Joshua Cassara, colors from Rain Beredo, and lettering from Clayton Cowles.

Here’s PopCultHQ’s spoiler-free review of…

VENOM #12

Writer: Donny Cates
Artist: Joshua Cassara
Colorist: Rain Beredo
Letterer: Clayton Cowles

Main Cover Artists:
Ryan Stegman & Frank Martin Jr.

Once the worst nightmare of New York’s criminal element, Eddie Brock has been living a nightmare of his own, cut off from the symbiote’s personality and now dealing with the resurgence of the cancer that once ravaged his body. With no one else to turn to, Eddie must revisit THE MAKER — the only person who’s been able to provide ANY insight into what’s been going on with the alien symbiote of late…

PopCultHQ’s Comic Book Review:
VENOM #12

Eddie, Dylan, Carl, and the symbiote come face-to-face with each other and their own truths in a pretty powerful conclusion to the events of the last few issues.

Writing: 

With the most recent issues of Venom and the new Guardians of the Galaxy title, I’m starting to get what all the buzz around Donny Cates is. Whatever your thoughts on character retcons, good storytelling is good storytelling. It really feels like Cates gets both the voices that are crucial to Eddie’s character. Although his reputation is more for Marvel’s cosmic corners at the moment, this issue shows that the writer can pack a punch when it comes to grounded storytelling as well. He’s successfully building what Eddie Brock, for the most part, has lacked since the ‘90s… a solid supporting cast. The layers he’s adding to the history of Eddie Brock and the things he’s built into the mythology of symbiotes really connect for me. Venom will always be at his most popular and effective as the ‘Lethal Protector/’ Cates is really playing up the dichotomy of that and doing wonders exploring how Eddie and the symbiote negotiate the conflicts it presents.

Art: 

I’m not sure if Joshua Cassara is filling in or taking over for Ryan Stegman, but his pencils suit this story to a T. He nails the darker psychological take this title has inhabited, making this title feel closer in atmosphere to the unsettling Immortal Hulk title. Recently of The Sentry and Falcon, the lean into a more realistic style than Stegman’s aids the emotional conflicts and crescendo heights that this issue succeeds in hitting. The layouts bring something dynamic to the straightforward storytelling while maintaining an unsettling air throughout the read.

Colors: 

A capable mainstream superhero colorist on New Avengers, Rain Beredo’s work here is reflective of his output during the Dark Reign era of that book. Like Cassara’s pencils, what Beredo adds to the atmosphere and feel of the artwork with his sordid and seedy overtones is instrumental to the unsettled feel of the book. It’s somewhere between classic Vertigo and urban 80’s VHS thrillers. The use of lighting is almost a character itself, such is its effect on the page.

Letters: 

The most prolific letterer in the game brings it yet again with his work in this issue. If you don’t recognize the name Clayton Cowles in the credits, are you even reading comics these days?

Understanding that a horror-tinged thriller lives and dies on its tension and blood-curdling cries, Cowles works overtime to make sure every point of impact and every jarring scream is felt down to the bone. A master of knowing when to go big or when to scar a reader with tiny incisions, Cowles’ lettering is the symbiotic glue that pulls the whole work together.

PopCultHQ’s overall assessment:

If you’re going to tweak things about a character that fans know and love, this is a good example of exercising control and not just covering the story in the spectacle. Too few storylines tie up this way anymore and Venom is all the better for it. It’s a shame this is kind of sullied by the NEXT ISSUE: WAR OF THE REALMS text reminding us a solid, consistent book is about to be disrupted by a crossover event.

PopCultHQ’s Rating:

4 out of 5 Stars

PopCultHQ Rating - 4 Stars
PopCultHQ Rating – 4 Stars

VENOM #12 will be available at your local comic
shop and online retailers Wednesday, March 20th!

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Be sure to follow the creative team!

Writer – Donny Cates

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Artist – Joshua Cassara

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Colorist – Rain Beredo

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Letterer – Clayton Cowles

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Publisher – Marvel Comics

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