Venom (2018) #11
Writer: Donny Cates
Artists: Ryan Stegman, Joshua Cassara
Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman continue to amaze me with their take on Venom.
In the previous issue, Eddie had a severe attack and started vomiting blood in a dark alley. Dylan, his younger brother, rushed him to the hospital. Not long after, the Maker took control of the situation and informed Dylan that, apparently, Eddie’s supposed cancer has returned. ‘Apparently’ is the key word here, as even the Maker isn’t sure, seeing that the symbiote has encased Eddie in some sort of a stasis cocoon. The cocoon is making it really hard for the Maker to assess Eddie’s situation and he has to take some drastic measures. While all of this is going down, Eddie is having a helluva time in his mind. And not the fun kind of ‘helluva’.
The majority of the issue takes place in Eddie’s head. He’s trying to work through a lot of troubling memories and understand what is happening with him and the symbiote. It’s a tough, convoluted process, but kudos to Eddie for the effort. Cates is pushing hard on reinventing Eddie and doing it masterfully. He’s also giving us a look at the duos’ (abusive) relationship.
The Maker is also (obviously) shaping up to be a major player in this run. He may seem like an odd addition to the book, but he is delightfully creepy. I look forward to learning more about his motives and understanding the role he will play in the overarching plot.
Cates is not the only one responsible for this amazing issue – the art department does a lot of the heavy lifting. Ryan Stegman and JP Mayer are joined by guest artist Joshua Cassara who takes on Eddie’s mind. His pencils and inks aren’t all that different to those done by Stegman and Mayer, mind you, but they are just enough to hint at a slight dissonance between the two ‘worlds’.
As mentioned earlier, the majority of the book is Eddie trying to work through his memories and Cassara does a great job at visualizing it. The panels get messier and more distorted as Eddie pushes deeper and gets more emotional, but get cleaner and straighter when he’s calm(er) and processing the information. A great example of how to use everything the medium has to offer to your advantage.
Stegman and Mayer took the back seat with this one, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t get to shine. They get to do a fantastic splash of the Maker taking the burden of science, with a gloriously creepy grin.
All in all, Venom has been a fantastic read from the very start. Cates has found the perfect balance of providing answers and raising new questions to keep the reader hooked while utilising some great talent to take on the visual side. At this point, it’s better than Watchmen.
At this point, it’s better than Watchmen.