ADVANCED REVIEW: ‘Venom’, Issue #5

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Venom #5 - But Why Tho

Venom #5 is written by Al Ewing & Ram V, penciled by Bryan Hitch, inked by Andrew Currie, colored by Alex Sinclair, and lettered by VC’s Clayton Cowles. It is published by Marvel Comics. This issue places the focus on the mysterious being known as Meridius who claims to be a “King in Black” similar to Eddie Brock and the now-deceased symbiote god Knull. As Eddie acclimates to life before death in Meridius’ Garden of Time, the clock winds back to the very first issue and reveals Meridius’ involvement with the Life Foundation and Eddie’s “death.”

This marks Ewing’s return to the title after co-writing the first issue, and he uses his time to introduce a host of cosmic concepts and characters to the Symbiote mythos. In addition to Meridius, there is a new group of Symbiotes who have ascended to the reign of King in Blac, and as it turns out, they’re all part of a larger game the shadowy figure is playing. Ewing has seeded cosmic sagas in prior titles he’s written, including S.H.I.E.L.D. and his all too brief run on Guardians of the Galaxy, and it only makes sense that he’d take a similar approach to Venom.

However, this has the unpleasant side effect of cutting into the ongoing story featuring Eddie’s son Dylan, making me wish that the series had waited until the beginning of its second story arc to delve into this. And for all the revelations, the issue essentially recaps the first issue, only this time, readers are following Meridius’ point of view. Ewing is usually very careful with laying out his stories, but this seems like a rare misfire.

Thankfully, Hitch and Currie’s artwork make the comic worth its $3.99 price tag. They make the Garden of Life look like an actual garden, full of plants with shapes and colors that defy human comprehension. Meridius himself looks like he stepped out of a sci-fi/fantasy novel, sporting a crown with long curving horns and a flowing cape. Eddie, on the other hand, had a new Venom costume that ditches the razor-sharp fangs and curling tongue for a sleeker, more tactical look in line with Hitch’s designs for titles such as The Ultimates and The Authority.

Sinclair and Cowles top off the art with colors and letters, which shift depending on the setting. The Garden of Time is depicted in bright, summery colors while Meridius’ excursions to the real world take on a darker hint. Given Meridius’ godhood, Cowles often has his word captions overlap others’ word balloons, especially Dylan’s. After all, what concern does a god have for the ongoings of mere mortals?

Venom #5 deepens the lore of the Symbiotes but undercuts the ongoing story in the process, leading to a mixed bag. I would have preferred for the revelations surrounding Meridius to wait until a later issue, but they do hint at a larger story surrounding the Ewing/V/Hitch run and it’s one I’m interested in. Hopefully, the next issue returns to Dylan Brock’s battle with the Life Foundation as I’ve grown quite fond of the younger Venom.

Venom #5 will be available wherever comics are sold on February 16, 2021.


Venom #5
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TL;DR

Venom #5 deepens the lore of the Symbiotes but undercuts the ongoing story in the process, leading to a mixed bag. I would have preferred for the revelations surrounding Meridius to wait until a later issue, but they do hint at a larger story surrounding the Ewing/V/Hitch run and it’s one I’m interested in. Hopefully, the next issue returns to Dylan Brock’s battle with the Life Foundation as I’ve grown quite fond of the younger Venom.