Venom #1-5 (2003): Shiver

Ugh.  Venom is rarely a compelling character, and Daniel Way is rarely a compelling writer.  Combining them is a recipe for submediocrity.

The Venom symbiote has been missing in action for over three years by the time this series debuts, so fans are ready to read about it again.  Sadly, this is NOT ABOUT VENOM. 

A U.S. Army soldier stationed in the arctic, Patricia “Trish” Robertson, responds to a distress call at a nearby research facility and discovers black spooge and dead bodies.  This takes an entire issue.  It feels a lot like John Carpenter’s wonderful remake of The Thing.  Only without the wonderful part.

It’s not until the last panel of issue #2 that we see Venom, and it’s not until issue three that we get an explanation of what is going on.  There’s a black symbiote that devours humans rather than using them as hosts.  (Although it also CAN use them at hosts when it needs to, I guess, because it does that, too.  It’s not all that well thought out.)  We see it kill a bunch of characters before attacking a guy called “The Suit,” who is not destroyed by the symbiote.

Instead, The suit seems to be able to harm the symbiote.

Note that I’m not calling this thing Venom because by now I’ve figure out that this is a different symbiote.  After this arc, we’ll learn that he’s actually called “Mania.”  “The Suit” is an alien, Terminator-style robot sent to Earth to destroy symbiotes.  Scientists brought the symbiote to the Arctic after figuring out that they needed to get it far away from a food supply before studying it.  Guess that didn’t work well, did it.

Inevitably, the monster and Robertson have a showdown.  She manages to hold the creature off and it seems to flee.

But’s in a dog now. 

And that’s how the story ends and the series is launched.

Slow pacing, a predictable “been there done that” story, and truly terrible art overtake the interesting ideas here.  Or “idea” anyway.  I like The Suit—it makes sense that some alien race would have decided to hunt down all the symbiotes. 

Leave a Comment