REVIEW: Venom #164 (The Nativity Pt. 1)

Eddie Brock and the symbiote have earned a temporary respite, but Eddie has been having strange dreams, a night on the town will help clear his head, unfortunately there’s a twist, it’s a real Shocker!


Title: Venom #164 (The Nativity pt. 1)
Writer: Mike Costa
Pencils: Mark Bagley
Inks: Scott Hanna
Colors: Dono Sanchez-Almara
Letters: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Publisher: Marvel Comics

What You Need to Know:

Following the events of Venom inc. the symbiote portion of Venom has become jumpy and borderline irrational, harder to control than ever. Which makes it harder to convince Eddie’s heroic aspirations than ever. To top it off Eddie has been having bizarre dreams, a night out will do him some good!

What You’ll Find Out:

We open on a strange dream sequence featuring Carnage and all of the symbiote’s offspring, Eddie wakes with a jump and immediately throws up. The symbiote insists the dream was Eddie’s despite the realistic feeling that usually occurs when the symbiote dreams. Eddie decides to head outside for a bit to clear his head.


Elsewhere Shocker (the idiot failure second Shocker that is) is robbing a jewelry store. The clerk barely even looks up from his phone, seemingly unimpressed with the Shocker, who gets mad and threatens to liquefy his brain. The clerk looks up with a jolt, soon the shocker realizes he isn’t scared of him…


Venom drops down from the ceiling and idiot Shocker drops a downright regrettable catchphrase, blasting Venom full bore with both gauntlets. Venom is unfazed and cracks a joke, throwing Shocker across the room. The Shocker continues blasting Venom, and the symbiote starts acting nervous, despite his insistence the blasts can’t hurt them. The symbiote bails and Eddie is blasted across the room without it.


Shocker is electrified (weird how he always makes electrical puns, his powers are sound-based) at his victory over Venom, and runs outside in excitement with a bag of jewels, immediately getting hit by a car and arrested.


The real twist of this issue was to follow, pick up a copy of Venom 164 and find out!

What Just Happened?

This was a pretty fun issue, I’ve always felt Shocker was an underrated villain, but have never liked the second idiot Shocker. That said I have wondered before if Shocker and Venom have fought, as symbiotes are vulnerable to hypersonics, which is basically Shocker’s entire thing.

I did think it was weird how Venom shrugged off the hypersonics, but it’s possible something has changed since last time I regularly read Venom sometime in the late 90’s. Speaking of the late 90’s Mark Bagley drew this issue, which was great artwise! Loved the visuals of the Shocker fight, and the shot of him getting hit by a car is hysterical.

The reason for the symbiote’s jumpiness and Eddie’s dreams is super obvious once it’s revealed, basically a facepalm if you didn’t figure it out prior to this point. The revelation this issue might have some really interesting results, although it’s hard to care considering fresh start and Cates are right around the corner. Who knows if this arc will even matter? Friggin Marvel.

Rating: 8/10

Final Thought:

A good to great issue, the Shocker fight alone makes it worth your time, everything else is just a bonus. Totally recommend it if you like the character at all, maybe less so if you aren’t already semi-interested, hard to recommend the last couple issues before a renumber. (Just ask me, proud owner of Batman issues 620-713, last 20 are basically pointless thanks to the new 52)


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