Writer: Cullen Bunn
Artist: Iban Coello
The “War of the Realms” makes its way outside the main event into other Marvel books, which beckons the question: for better or for worse? For Marvel’s 2019 summer event writer Donny Cates and artist Ryan Stegman sit out the tie-in issues of Venom, with previous writer Cullen Bunn and artist Iban Coello taking the reins. A change of this sort is normal with books when events come along but often are criticized for derailing the pace of the book to work within a larger story. Venom #13 manages to overcome the abrupt change without sacrificing Cates overarching plot to service the event, not without some hurdles.
While Donny Cates and company are working on “Absolute Carnage”, all carnage breaks loose around Eddie, pun not intended. The city is under siege and he finds himself defenseless against the forces of the Dark Elves causing havoc across it. Brock finds himself at the mercy at the invaders as his symbiote is no longer with him due to discovering its secrets. Defenseless, an opportunity presents itself to Brock that he will use against the invading forces. This opportunity presents an interesting opportunity for Bunn to approach Eddie, as well as bringing back a former adversary of the symbiote back into the picture.
Bunn’s temporary takeover of Venom with issue #13 continues last where Cates left him off. Eddie has lost the symbiote, with his child in tow. As Eddie makes his escape, all hell breaks loose in the city of New York as Malekith’s invasion commences. Using what Cates has previously established in Venom #12 with the invasion, Bunn creatively finds a way to make a story that accommodates the event and current plot thread.
The pacing of the issue is kept at steadily increasing pace and that steadiness moves into a few tense moments while setting up most of the next issue. The story starts off strong with the aftermath of issue #12 taken into consideration, wasting no time and dropping Brock right into the action. The moment to moment action is visceral, showing what Brock is capable of without the symbiote assistance. As the issue comes to a close, the event opens up another option for our symbiote-less hero, creating an interesting workaround to a plot device.
Coello and Mossa’s work on the art is unlike previous, opting for brighter colors and harder lines, which does not take away from the issue. The work lends itself extremely well to an invasion of multicolored creatures from across several realms, which allows contrast between the figures and backgrounds. Figures that are meant to be focal points have colors that present them as such, while random figures match the tones background tones so that they do not detract from the action. The use of the color allows for the scenes to be more visceral, frantic and destructive.
Cates sits out the “War of the Realms” and while there are those who did not resonate with Bunn’s previous run of the symbiote, in this issue his approach entertains. It jumps off nicely from the nice issue while tying into the event, moving Eddie’s plot forward and offering callbacks to longtime readers of Venom. I had a good time reading this issue as it felt unlike Bunn’s previous work, and events were not simply thrown around for shock value.
Venom (2018-) #13
A fun pit-stop for Eddie Brock and company, not deterring from the larger events at work.