Marvel Comics
Venom #2
By Dan Horn
May 4, 2011 - 14:34

Marvel Comics
Writer(s): Rick Remender
Penciller(s): Tony Moore
Inker(s): Crime Lab Studios
Colourist(s): John Rauch
Letterer(s): Joe Caramagna
Cover Artist(s): Tony Moore, John Rauch
$2.99 US

Flash Thompson's black ops assignment has landed him in the Savage Land to stall a shipment of weaponized vibranium, but an unexpected player, Kraven the Hunter, has emerged from the secret jungle with his own suicidal vendetta.

Whereas Venom #1 did an incredible job of developing the lead character and his ensemble cast, issue two focuses primarily on developing, through a violent chance encounter with Kraven, the symbiotic relationship between Flash and Venom. The issue explains the already embattled protagonist's situation through his own frantic narrative, a narrative that unfortunately too closely resembles much of Remender's narration in Punisher/Frankencastle, in which just about every personal pronoun is assumed to be understood. It was a storytelling device that worked well to a certain degree for the psychotic murderer Frank Castle, but here it's too much, perhaps even too derivative of Remender's own past work.

This chapter is an extension of the plot outlined in Venom #1, but that story takes a bit of a back seat as Flash first must fight off a berserk Kraven before completing his mission in the Savage Land. The fight is awesome, incorporating a lot of different suspenseful mechanics besides the obvious physical confrontation between Venom and Kraven, and it carries over to several beautifully illustrated settings. If anything, Venom #2 reminded me of the great slug-fests that once were commonplace in comic books but now seem a rarity. This showdown is a classic.

Tony Moore, with sketchy finishes by the Crime Lab guys and muddy colors by Rauch, gives us more superb illustrations this month. His Kraven looks frighteningly deranged and downright scary. Tony's action panels are classically dynamic with a contemporary grit rubbed into their open wounds. How about doing an issue of Uncanny X-Force, Tony?

Rating: 7.5/10

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