Venom #31 follows immediately on from King in Black #1 and the invasion of Knull. So if you’ve not read that issue, do it immediately. Venom is published by Marvel Comics, written by Donny Cates, art by Iban Coello, colors by Jesus Aburtov, and letters by VC’s Clayton Cowles.
While Venom #30 dealt with Eddie and Dylan’s sojourn into the Ultimates Earth-1610 universe, Venom #31 follows directly on from the events of King in Black #1. When last we saw Venom, he had decided to confront Knull after the Avengers’ initial plans were literally obliterated before his very eyes. With nothing left to lose, Eddie and his symbiote handed themselves over in an act of submission, hoping Knull would have some mercy on the Earth and its denizens. In a shocking turn of events, however, Knull announced he wanted Dylan Brock, not Eddie. If this wasn’t shocking enough, he tore the symbiote from his body and threw his human body off the top of the empire state building.
In issue #31, we deal with the quite literal fall out of those prior events. It’s an interesting perspective to start the issue, as Rex Strickland, a character from the very early issues of Venom #1 through #6, conducts a character assessment of Eddie Brock before he encountered the ancient symbiote dragon and learned of Knull. The concurrent timelines serve to create a narrative from Rex as he tries to understand Eddie better and calculate whether he’ll be a useful asset in the coming symbiote invasion.
The issue’s pace is a stark contrast when compared to the inception of the King in Black event. The latter was high impact, filled with shock-and-awe moments, and it jumps quickly between its plot points. In contrast, Venom #31 is singularly focused, and the pace feels a little jarring once you hit the final few pages.
That being said, Cates does a great job in linking back to his original work and reminding his audience where this story began. It begs for a moment of reflection on just how monumental this entire story has become. Not only that but in the reflection of Eddie himself and his character has grown from the reclusive anti-hero to a father who works closely with the Avengers. Cates also uses this time of reflection to cast doubt from Rex’s mind about whether Eddie is capable of handling a threat of such cosmic proportions.
Coello’s artwork is absolutely glorious; we are given so many actively packed panels to muse over. Some particular standouts from the issue show close-up shots of the living symbiote organism as it envelopes Manhattan’s streets and buildings. Others reflect on the ferocious size of the Grendel dragons as they stalk the skies, prowling for targets and licking their chops. The visual depiction reinforces the overarching plot of doom and a world without hope.
Aburtov’s colors create a brilliant sense of fluidness as it pertains to the consistency of the symbiotes’ texture. The shades of black and how it reflects the light creates a feeling of viscous, living material capable of swallowing everything in its path. Aburtov and Coello create some amazing results, and this has been seen in the past with previous issues of this brilliant Venom run. The final panel of this issue really reflects these two creatives’ amazing work.
Cowles’ lettering is on par with his previous work. The font is pleasing to the eye, and the dialogue boxes are placed well within the issue. The use of onomatopoeia was scarcely used by Cates, giving Cowles little to stamp his mark on.
Overall, Venom #31 is an interesting issue and causes the reader to take a moment to catch their breath after the world-shattering revelations from King in Black #1. The callback to some of the original plot points was a great plot device to take stock of just how far this story, and these characters, have developed from where we first met them. But the ultimate question at the end of the issue poses: is it enough? Venom #31 leaves the character in that same moment of gasping suspense, as we wait another few weeks until we find out what becomes of these broken heroes.
Venom #31 is available now wherever comics are sold.
Overall, Venom #31 is an interesting issue and causes the reader to take a moment to catch their breath after the world-shattering revelations from King in Black #1. The callback to some of the original plot points was a great plot device to take stock of just how far this story, and these characters, have developed from where we first met them. But the ultimate question at the end of the issue poses: is it enough?