It seems like yesterday since we were introduced to Eddie Brock and his disdain for Peter Parker. We all know the history of Eddie, Venom (Klyntar), and the many people who have played host to the famed symbiote, fandoms have grown from the many hosts like Brock, Thompson, and Gargon. Some are more well-known than others and some are just the outcome of a clever one-shot comic. Either way, the symbiote, and its hosts have become part of our life, so it’s no surprise that when Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman took over duties back in July of 2018 readers waited with baited breath to see what was in store with this new creative team, and rightfully so as we have been through some rough incarnations of the series. What we didn’t know is that we would get an exceptional run that would not only give us two phenomenal characters in Knull and Dylan Brock but give us a series that our beloved character deserved.
The great thing about comics is that they’re not written in stone. Sure, the fans are gonna get riled up from time to time but what fan likes to see uncertain and untested avenues being traveled with their favorite character or favorite anything for that matter. This run felt different, from the beginning we were told of an evil underground force that has been disturbed and the world’s doom was impending. Haven’t we’ve heard this story before? Sure. It’s comics, and the business of comics is storytelling with great art contribution and that is exactly what this creative team has brought for the last 200 issues. Now, I am fully aware as time goes on the discussions about the first 200 issues of volume four will undoubtedly start with Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman and you wouldn’t be wrong but it would be a horrendous miscarriage of justice to not include the likes of JP Mayer, Jesus Aburtov, Iban Coello, Frank Martin and others that have joined the Fellowship of the Symbiote for this adventure.
Where do we go from here? Three years ago, it was just another Venom #1 with another creative team. Little did we know that volume four of Venom would go on to be one of the most talked-about series that would go on to create seminal characters that would forever change the landscape of the Marvel Universe. As the issues flew off the shelves and subsequent printings would take place, that’s when we knew something great was unfolding.
With the creation of Knull and Dylan, arcs like Venom Island, Venom Beyond, and less we forget the phenomenal miniseries King in Black, guest appearances from alumni such as Anne Weying, Mack Gargan, Flash Thompson, and Rex Strickland, fans old and new were treated to storytelling the character has never seen. Cates’ approach with Eddie Brock saw the series become more popular than ever. Venomaniacs old and new, sat at the table and enjoyed being gluttonous with all the symbiote they could handle.
As the series marched on, we were introduced to a completely overhauled version of Eddie. We saw a sincerity that wasn’t there in prior incarnations of the character. We were getting a more humble version of Eddie, but I think most importantly we were getting someone who knew the err in their past and wanted to build towards a better future and version of themselves. Screams and chants of Dylan hosting the symbiote were heard everywhere and then we get back to back-to-back storylines that would test Eddie and Dylan and take them to the edge and test their character.
Donny Cates has never held back the desire to reach into his big bag of tricks and pull some of the biggest happenings we’ve seen with Venom and in doing so this run has become the measuring stick to which future runs will be judged. Is it fair, no, but we’re still using Jack Kirby as our most beloved industry measuring device and will continue to do so. That’s life. That’s comics.
The world isn’t going to end when Venom #201 hits shelves. People will get up the next morning and go to work, pay their bills, and continue life as we know it. What is coming to an end is a historic run on a beloved character. To the Kings in Black, we say thank you!
COMMENTARY: The Kings in Black - A Thank You Letter
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