Venom #1: Eddie Brock’s fresh start is a nightmare
Above image credit: Ryan Stegman and JP Mayer
This article contains spoilers for Venom #1.
Eddie Brock awakens from one nightmare into another. This is his Fresh Start, but the brokenness of his “other” remains. Their relationship has always been on a knife edge, but this is different: Venom is losing control of itself, and Eddie is losing control of Venom.
After months of teases and swelling anticipation, Venom #1 is here, and it is well worth the wait. When you consider what Venom is and how he operates, any exploration of the character should be both visually and psychologically unsettling, if not outright terrifying. Donny Cates has scripted, and the artists have rendered a debut that makes us squirm in the early pages, and gradually twists and twists and twists us up into terror by the final spread.
Something old, something new
One of the central tensions of the Venom story has always been the question who’s in control? I quite enjoyed what I read of Costa and Bagley's just-concluded run on this title, but that tension had eased somewhat. But here, the tension is back in full-force. Brock watches helplessly as his other acts on its baser instincts. He thinks the drugs he's taking make things better, that they're capable of suppressing the other's control, but when a situation goes south, Venom takes charge and doles out ruthless justice, Eddie pleading in vain for it to stop.
Cates wastes no time adding things, either. We learn in this issue that symbiotes have come to Earth and bonded with humans before—long before Eddie's first hooked up with Spider-Man. And this fact seems to be connected to Venom's mysterious nightmares, nightmares which are starting to intrude even when Venom is awake.
Dark days ahead
Venom should be scary, and Venom #1 is. Things will surely get worse for Eddie and his other before they get better—and I plan on following every minute of it. If this is a sign of what we can expect from the Spider books in Fresh Start, then we're in for some great stories.