EXPLOITED BY THE FORCES OF LIMBO, EDDIE BROCK’S ACTIONS TURNED DYLAN AGAINST HIM AND LEFT EDDIE LITTLE MORE THAN A SHADOW OF A HUSK OF HIS FORMER SELF. BUT WHILE FIGHTING ONE OF THE KINGS OF LIMBO, EDDIE, AS BEDLAM, WAS STABBED WITH THE SOULSWORD, WHICH TORE ASUNDER NOT ONLY THE MONSTER, BUT ALSO THE HUMAN INSIDE IT. EDDIE’S SOUL CONTINUED TO FALL UNTIL IT REACHED THE VERY DEPTHS OF THE UNIVERSE. THERE, HE WAS GIVEN A GLIMPSE THROUGH TIME AND SPACE OF ALL HIS POSSIBLE INCARNATIONS. THEN HE WAS GIVEN SOMETHING EVEN MORE PRECIOUS: A SECOND CHANCE AT LIFE.
The stone-faced, unstoppable ferocity with which Eddie Brock marches his way through the pages of Venom #20 is made all the more satisfying by how low the preceding issues had brought him. The opening panels alone perfectly set the stage for what unfolds. The waves of blood and viscera manifesting from Eddie’s fossilized skull are a metaphor for his spiritual rebirth, having found the strength necessary to pull himself out of a lifeless void and back to the world of the living. Thus begins the climactic third act of the comic’s arc and its protagonist’s glorious return to form.
Having reached a new level of mastery with his King in Black abilities, Eddie transports his consciousness through time and space to possess the charred, bleached bones he left behind in the present. Brock is now a human symbiote, a seemingly new entity with many new capabilities.
Issue #20 is a thorough demonstration of Eddie Brock’s growth throughout this series and throughout his entire history. The scorned young man who would have used his newfound abilities to brutalize all who stood in his way is long gone, replaced by a wiser version showing mercy and intelligence in evading his pursuers. Even in a later encounter with a trigger-happy biker gang, he does everything possible to de-escalate the situation without backing down.
Artist Cafu draws Eddie with a weary yet subtly intimidating stature and face, removing the glint of sadness from his eyes and substituting it with a singular focus. All the action is fairly grounded, and the pencils deliver on, making every leg kicked and knife thrown appear to have real momentum. Every character’s stoic, macho appearance grants more validity to the numerous Terminator nods, and the muted color palette adds the grunge aesthetic of an 80s action movie.
While it’s unclear how long Venom fans will be able to savor their favorite characters’ powerful new status, writer Al Ewing is undoubtedly making the best use of it for the time being.
Venom #20 grants Eddie Brock a powerful new form and sends him off on a quest to face his demons and save his son, making it an extremely engaging issue.
Venom #20: Symbiote Or Terminator?
- Writing - 8/108/10
- Storyline - 8/108/10
- Art - 8/108/10
- Color - 7/107/10
- Cover Art - 8/108/10
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