Madelyne Pryor and her ally Ben Reilly robbed Eddie Brock of any memory of his son Dylan, transforming Eddie first into the monstrous and brain-eating creature called Venom and eventually a rage-fueled nightmare called Bedlam.
Bedlam found Dylan, and the two fought. In the battle, Dylan was able to sever a tiny piece of the Bedlam symbiote from the beast—which he has since given to Normie Osborn, grandson of the Green Goblin. With this new Red Goblin by his side—and Ms. Marvel, too, thanks to the chaos unfolding across the city—Dylan is closer to reuniting with his father than ever before…if he can survive!
Kamala Khan crashes the party at a rather crucial dramatic moment between Dylan Brock and his father, almost serving as a metaphor for the Dark Web crossover event’s intrusive presence in the past few issues of Venom. The book’s momentum has undoubtedly plateaued with issue #16, but Al Ewing continues to bear the burden of these additional characters and subplots with finesse.
A quick reappearance by Meridius (the criminal mastermind of this arc, if you’ve forgotten) is included to catch any potential new readers up to speed and keep all the veterans on track. And understand me, while it feels somewhat superfluous, the inclusion of Ms. Marvel is downright splendid, as the character tends to uplift any comic she pops up in.
Action is minimal, as well as the actual progression in Dylan’s mission to free his father from the monstrous, enraged form possessing him. The two tussle through the streets of New York for a bit, but when the tension between them reaches a natural peak, Eddie is conveniently whisked away to participate in the crossover’s finale, leaving the series on a cliffhanger that feels unsatisfactory rather than anticipatory.
Still, Ewing makes the most of this issue with genuinely poignant exchanges between Dylan and Ms. Marvel. Penciller Bryan Hitch embraces the presence of the Goblin Queen’s demonic entities, creating some fabulously cartoonish monster designs and a striking splash page to top the issue off. The way in which Kamala quickly deduces Dylan’s situation via context clues and offers up sage advice speaks to her intelligence and maturity, displaying real growth since her early vigilante days.
While lacking in substantial story progression, Venom #16 offers enough interesting character interactions to make for an entertaining issue.
Venom #16: Here Comes Kamala
- Writing - 7/107/10
- Storyline - 7/107/10
- Art - 8/108/10
- Color - 8/108/10
- Cover Art - 8/108/10
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