COMIC BOOK REVIEW: Venomized #5 (Sympathy for The Symbiotes)

With the Poisons set to take over the Earth with their end-game the heroes of Earth take the fight to them.


Writer: Cullen Bunn
Artist: Iban Coello
Colors: Matt Yackey
Letters: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Cover: Nick Bradshaw & Jim Campbell
Publisher: Marvel Comics

What You Need to Know:

As the Poisons continue in their plan to infect the heroes of Earth they target Kid Kaiju in order to bond him to a Klyntar symbiote, thus meaning game over for everyone. The few heroes not already playing host to symbiotes under full hive control split into two teams and head to the Poisons ship, which is in orbit above them, to stage a last-ditch attempt to stop them. Kid Kaiju is aboard a quinjet with Captain America’s team, which includes Anti-Venom, leaving Venom and Spider-Man to join the X-Men aboard Danger, their sentient craft. But a hive loyal Thanos grounds the quinjet leaving the team aboard Danger with no choice but to continue as Kid Kaiju stands against Thanos alone. That is until he summons his monster to defend him.

What You’ll Find Out:

As his monsters hold off Thanos, Kei tries to wake Captain America, who lies unconscious at his feet and Scragg instructs Aegis not to mock the villain in defeat just as he himself is targeted. Despite Kei’s warning he is turned into a symbiote and hurls the prone body of Thanos away as he welcomes the transformation.


Meanwhile, as the other team arrives at the Poisons location in space Beast warns they are under attack, confirming what Venom believes is a trap and that ‘Jean’ is luring them to their deaths. As Beast tells Danger the ship has no entry point she takes control and makes one, using hard light projection to plug the breach. Venom asks Cyclops if he can still hear Jean and when he gets a negative he declares that it’s definitely a trap. A voice from behind confirms and Kasady makes an entrance.


As they continue on Bloodstorm reminds the others that this is probably a death mission, but that doesn’t dissuade Cyclops who is determined to make what little time he has left count. Bloodstorm’s awe of the sentiment is interrupted by another message from Jean. Uncomfortable that not just one but now two women he likes seem to be chasing Scott, Beast remarks that his future tech has enabled him to enter the ship’s security to not only spot where Poisons are but also to access door controls and they carry on. Suddenly an apparition of a smiling Jean welcomes them, but where Scott sees Jean, Hank declares he sees the Goblin Queen offering to continue their magic tutoring.


As Bloodstorm sees Dracula she reminds the others of Venom’s warning. They cannot escape the lures. Back on Earth and things don’t look good for Kei as a possessed Scragg goes on the attack. Knowing the effect his touch has on symbiotes Anti-Venom desperately does the only thing he can to stop him, against his better wishes. Kei looks on as Scragg lies before him dying in agony and Flash remorsefully explains he had no choice. Scragg declares his love for Kei as Slizzik is forced to engulf him in flames to end his pain.


The battle rages on above as Spider-Man and Venom take on Carnage, who tells them he isn’t subsumed like all the others, he has one goal in mind. The deaths of Eddie Brock and Peter Parker. As Carnage moves to attack Venom, Spider-Man intervenes and is cut down in his place. Venom grabs Carnage and cries out for the X-Men to instruct Danger to release the seal. Herself declaring she doesn’t need instruction, she obliges and tells them to hold on.


Team Cyke are faring no better as they come under psychic attack. He asks Jean why she is doing it and she tells them it isn’t her. Doom gloats and confirms it is the Hive, using the powers she controls and he goes on to tell Jean she wants to kill those invading her ship herself. The Hive itself addresses Jean, telling her she knew of her resistance and calling her another anomaly. The destruction of those she loves is all it will take to exert complete dominance over her. Scott begs her to stop and suddenly Jean fights back, saying the connection is two way. As the Hive has access to her power, so too can she access that of those in the Hive.


The battle of wills is short lived as the Hive instructs Doom to defend her and is stopped by Venom who appears from nowhere. Jean emerges in an explosion of power and declaring she has had enough of the Poisons and the Hive, exerts her control with devastating effect.


Scott asks if it’s really her and even Jean can’t say, all she knows is she was just pure thought trapped within the symbiote and somehow clawed her way back again. After Angel retrieves Spider-Man they realize Carnage is gone and so head for home and Alchemax to try to figure out how to separate the Klyntar from the host bodies and return them to their homeworld. But Jean can feel that some of the Poisons have apparently survived the separation from the Hive-Queen. She knows that despite this they acted out of fear and that coupled with the bond of humanity is all that defeated them. Finally back on Mu with Elsa and his parents, Kei watches on as Aegis, Hi-Vo and Mekara build a cairn in memory of Scragg, but as they leave, we can see there may be no need…?


What Just Happened?

The cover says it all. This is most assuredly the end. Despite the fact, the previous installments have been a little off for me the last issue was at least action-packed and conclusive. The short battle in space was the deciding factor and it seems the one enigma in the whole saga (Jean) was the key element to the victory against the Poisons. Her return to form was really never in doubt as she is set to play a key role in the ‘past/future’ of the O5 X-Men, but the way it was dealt with was at least satisfying. Not so much the battle below on Earth, as the only combatants to make a difference were Kid Kaiju and Anti-Venom, Captain America and the rest were pretty much out for the count. If only Flash had waited to commit such drastic action Scragg could have been saved and this will surely affect him in the long run, as he was already guilt-ridden about the effect of his power on the symbiotes. Speaking of guilt, Slizzik was suspiciously absent from the funeral, possibly out of remorse for having to perform the execution of Scragg. I wonder what will come of Little Scragg? And what of the other Poisons left skulking around?


The return of Iban Coello this issue was a welcome one and it was nice to see that it at least also ensured the finale was a memorable one. His depiction of the space battle and the destruction of the Poisons was keen enough to keep me interested in what was going on, which wasn’t so much the case in the fight at Alchemax. Also, his depiction of the fate of Scragg was poignant and made me feel for the fella. And the same goes for Matt Yackeys colors. They didn’t overpower the action and the backgrounds actually drew the eye to the center of the fighting even in the void of space. And the depiction of Dangers ‘space lattice’ seal was visually effective.


Which brings me to characterization. Overall with so many characters introduced from the start and not that much done with many of them, it was difficult to actually feel any impact was caused by the fighting. Or even notice what anyone was even doing to affect the outcome. But luckily this is dealt with this issue by having half of them take a nap while Kid Kaiju holds the fort. A blessing in disguise this, as too big an ensemble cast has caused the previous few issues to look a little haphazard, so having so many of them be knocked out meant the focus was drawn to some actual key incidental stuff, but still some of the assembled heroes in space (Daredevil) didn’t really contribute a thing. On the whole, it all seemed a minor extension of, or epilogue to, Poison X.

Rating: 7/10

Final Thought: Given the end result of the battle in space, which WAS epic and decisive, could it not have been amply covered already…in Poison X?

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