Dinosaurs, Eddie Brock, Human Torch, John Dell, Kraven the Hunter, Lee Price, Lethal Protector, Mark Bagley, Marvel, Marvel Legacy, Marvel Value Stamps, Mike Costa, Moloids, Robbie Thompson, Spider-Man, symbiote, Venom, Venom 155
Continuing my foray into Marvel Legacy, today I am looking at Venom #155.
Starting off is the issue number. I’m not sure what mathematical gymnastics Marvel had to pull off to reach this conclusion, but I know there were a LOT of mini-series in there. Yes, Marvel has posted online about how there numbers break down, but I’m not going to get into that. Others have done that elsewhere.
This issue is written by Mike Costa. The real draw for me here though is artist, Mark Bagley. (SWIDT?) Bagley is my FAVORITE Spider-Man artist. His run on Amazing Spider-Man and his phenomenal work on the it-really-shouldn’t-have-worked-but-it-did Ultimate Spider-Man are some of my favorite comics. While on the art, the book is inked by John Dell, who worked with Kelley Jones. An obvious favorite here.
So putting Bagley on this book really got my attention. As an added enticement, they titled this arc “Lethal Protector.” The character’s first mini-series, Venom: Lethal Protector, has a first issue that I LOVE, also drawn by Mark Bagley. Odds are, I will talk specifically about that issue on here someday, but it made this new issue a must have.
Issue 155 starts off with the standard Marvel text page giving background and listing the credits for this book. Our story starts with some prison inmates looking to pick a fight with Lee Price. Unbeknownst to me, this guy used to have the Venom symbiote. I’ve never heard of this character, and upon looking him up, I recognized that version of Venom. However, I never knew what the situation was with that one.
Keeping with the theme of “legacy” though, it makes sense that this character is here. Also, for long time Venom fans, its good to see that they just aren’t sweeping him under the rug. For someone out there, this is “their” Venom.
We then see Eddie Brock Venom, attacking a thug and corrupt cop in an alleyway, having once again become a “lethal protector.” Apparently, Eddie has been keeping the symbiote at bay, and it lashes out here. Venom yells the line reminiscent of the notorious old action figure “We will eat your brains!”
Making a deal with Liz Allen, Brock now has access to a drug that helps him keep the symbiote in check. Later, Brock applies to work at a tabloid style news channel. It’s good to see the character trying to get back to his reporting roots, even if it under the pseudonym, Mr. Sym. (see what they did there?)
After this Brock descends into the sewers, literally. Here he encounters a race of dinosaur people living underground that was mentioned in the opening recap. The dinos have captured and are in the process of roasting a Moloid on a spit. Just as Venom sees this, a horde of Moloids with a giant crocodile monster in tow, attack. Venom is able to defuse the situation and the Moloids depart leaving behind the croc-monster that Venom killed in the assault. Venom and the Dino-Men (wicked band name), then proceed to feast on the creature off-panel.
Up to this point, I was completely on board with this book. Eddie Brock acting as a derange anti-hero is right up my alley. However, I prefer my Venom, and Spider-Man in general, stories to play more at a street level. Dinosaur men fighting Moloids is more a Fantastic Four setup. With the apparent backstory of Venom’s relationship with the sewer dwelling race that will presumably play into this, I will probably not continue to read this. I know there was an underground society in the original Lethal Protector mini, but those were displaced homeless, not anthropomorphic dinos.
The story ends with news of the dinosaur race reaching Kraven the Hunter! He then decides that he is going to hunt them down. Surely this will put him at odds with Venom. And like that, I’m back in! Venom versus Kraven is something I want to see. I didn’t even know Kraven was alive. After the Kraven’s Last Hunt story, where he (SPOILERS) dies, I know they’ve hinted at bringing him back, but I didn’t think they ever had.
Now I’m a few weeks behind with the Marvel Legacy books, so the next issue of this has come out this week. Apparently, a bi-weekly schedule is something else Marvel has lifted from DC Rebirth. Mark Bagley’s speed as an artist means that he is also drawing this issue too! If he can maintain this for a while, as he did on Ultimate Spider-Man, this could be a nice run uninterrupted by fill-in artists.
Another notable thing about this issue is a 3 page afterword that details the origin of Venom. This is written by Robbie Thompson and drawn by Bagley and Dell. I really enjoyed this. DC did something similar to this years ago, and they were very effective. Especially for me since I don’t read too many Marvel books, this is a good way to get up to speed.
The only thing I didn’t like about the origin recap, was where it fell in the book. Why after the story? Shouldn’t it have been placed at the opening, perhaps in place of the text page? Get me up to speed before I read the issue. I understand that Thompson is doing these for the other Marvel Legacy books, and I look forward to seeing them across the line.
This book also comes with a Marvel Value Stamp of the Human Torch. It is number 13 of 53. So, the digital redemption code for this issue also gives you a mystery remasterd Value Stamp from the ’70’s. I had thought that the digital aspect of the stamps would give you the stamp from the issue. Thus ensuring collectors that they wouldn’t have to damage their comics. What was I thinking? Of course, they want you to tear up your book, so you have to buy another copy.
All in all, I enjoyed this issue and will be picking up the next one. Hopefully, all of the Marvel Legacy books will be as good as this one.
Check back next week as I hope to continue looking at other Marvel Legacy titles. The plan is to do one a week if everything works out. However, I may have to double or triple-up for the next couple weeks to get up to speed. The goal is to post these after the books come out, but not this late.