REVIEW: ‘Web of Venom: Wraith,’ Issue #1

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Web of Venom: Wraith #1

Web of Venom: Wraith #1 is published by Marvel Comics, written by Donny Cates, art by Guiu Vilanova, colors by Dean White, and letters by VC’s Clayton Cowles. When Wraith returns back to his homeworld to search for clues on how to cure himself, he opens up a Pandora’s box of answers that he won’t be able to close.

The Wraith has returned back to Marxhotz, the black site Kree prison facility where he was born. In a distant past, Wraith was Kree and the son of a Scientist. Now he spends his days trying to cure himself of Exolon, a parasite that has granted him unique abilities all the while allowing him to remain ageless thanks to his healing factor. This power has come with a heavy cost, and the payment is his soul.

Following Guardians of the Galaxy (2019) where Eros traded Wraith information about his disease, Wraith obtained coordinates that will take the nameless one in two directions—the laboratory of his Father and a very familiar planet. The answers to all of Wraith’s questions will be answered but at a deadly cost that will shake the foundations of the Marvel cosmic universe.

Cates really packed this issue full of tension and surprising revelations. The ending, in particular, leaves you craving more and feeling thwarted by the fact that the issue has to end. The plot has a certain rawness about it, with Cates drawing influence from stories of the lone rogue cowboy or samurai character burdened by their own darkened thoughts and experiences.

The dialogue has a cyclical nature to it, with the opening narrative recurring again at the end, echoing Wraith’s words. This reflection from beginning to end delivers a despairing, crushing conclusion to the issue—abandon all hope. The overall narrative is very direct, stripped of anything too vibrant. But in projecting the story this way, Cates has created this dull poeticism for Wraith, a Kree who has been shaped and hardened by his experiences and prefers instead to act instinctively when the moment calls for it. The issue is oddly captivating.

Vilanova’s art for the issue was highly entertaining, with multiple full-page spreads to absorb. Some of the images that particularly standout during the issue are the panels during the opening scene. The dimly lit prison black site of the Kree is designed in such a grim fashion that the panels spring to life and transport you to the location. White’s colors come up big during these scenes as they balance the display of an enormous amount of black on the page but contrasting with a blue and white mist that launches the characters to the forefront of the page. Later on, the two creatives combine again for a brilliant image of the Wraith as a lone gunslinger walking across a desert planet, reinforcing the narrative from Cates.

Cowles’ lettering is on par with previous issues of Venom.  The majority of the story is from the perspective of the main character who exemplifies symbiote tendencies, so there’s not a whole lot of heavy lifting needed. The layout of the dialogue is proportioned well, and doesn’t muddy, or distract from the art of the story.

Honestly, Web of Venom: Wraith #1 is an absolute must-have tie-in for the Venom series. While this is likely to be a one-shot, it added a lot of great depth of detail for the main Venom run. It’s a dark and distressing account of a lonely gunslinger with nothing left to lose.

Web of Venom: Wraith #1 is available in comic shops Wednesday, September 9th.

Web of Venom: Wraith #1
4.5

TL;DR

Honestly, Web of Venom: Wraith #1 is an absolute must-have tie-in for the Venom series. While this is likely to be a one-shot, it added a lot of great depth of detail for the main Venom run.