Writer: Brian Reed
Artist: Marco Santucci
Color Artist: Chris Sotomayor
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramanga
Cover: Marko Djurdjevic
Let me cut right to the chase: Where in the hell has this Venom been all my life?
I must admit up front that I’ve read none of the previous canon in relation to the character. When I was the obligatory angry young man, Venom’s meteoric rise to popularity soured me to the entire concept and what it appeared to be doing to Spider-Man and Marvel as a whole. I can trace my inability to find purchase in any of the Spider-Man comics to what seemed like an editorial mandate to over-hype the symbiote and its hosts. More than likely, looking back, Venom was the leading contributor to my disdain for Marvel in general for the majority of the last two decades. I’d walk into a shop, be greeted by a sea of fanged, saliva-dripping-tongued faces on posters, t-shirts, what have you, and I’d retreat hastily to the Vertigo section.
As my interest in the Siege storyline has grown over the last few months, though, I keep brushing up against the Mac Gargan Venom, especially as the action moves closer to Asgard. When Brian Reed posted the preview to Siege: Spider-Man to Twitter last week, I was dubious. But those six pages compelled me to do something I’d never even considered before.
I was going to have to buy a Venom story.
I was not disappointed, and I’m still not sure how to feel about that. I’ve invested a lot in hating Venom. It’s defined my comics fandom for twenty freaking years now. It’s not like I can just let that go all of a sudden. Reed’s sense of humor is natural for Peter Parker; when you see Spidey, you expect smartassery. The application of that same humor to Venom, though? It works, and it makes him a convincing dark mirror to Spidey– the one thing he’s been missing for me this entire time. Reed’s Venom is eminently quotable, and invoking the best lines in my head as I write this still makes me laugh hours after the fact. If nothing else, Reed deserves a medal for having Venom invoke the the phrase “OM NOM NOM” while dining on Asgardian flesh.
It’s essentially a prolonged, laugh-a-minute fight scene between Venom, Spidey, and Ms. Marvel, but the story never loses its awareness of surrounding events- the visual callback to Siege: Embedded is a nice touch that rewards observant readers. And despite everything else going on, Siege: Spider-Man never loses its actual focus on building the growing bond between Peter and Carol. How that’s going to work out in the long run is… unclear, but it makes for a nice story all the same.
The art, color, and lettering combine here in a very fluid manner to carry these hijinks along seamlessly. Caramagna’s lettering job, especially, makes Venom’s dialog shine through. And, uh… how can I say this? A naked man has never been funnier to me. Ever.
I keep having the same thought as I read all of these Siege and Siege-related one-shots from Marvel: More like this, please. Brian Reed and company actually made me like Venom, FFS. Clearly, we have entered the end times.