VENOM #10 is sure to be one of the most talked about issues of the series so far. It introduces another tragic layer to Eddie Brock’s backstory in a dynamic way. It’s not for the faint of heart, but it’s a truly powerful issue that deals with some really heavy themes in a very tasteful way, thanks to Donny Cates’ deft writing and Ryan Stegman’s superb art.
100 %
Dark But Superb

VENOM #10 sees Eddie Brock and his stepbrother, Dylan, discuss Eddie’s teenage years living with his father. In their discussion, Eddie reveals a big secret about his past, which explains why he’s so hell-bent on protecting innocents by any means necessary. Donny Cates, once again, adds more backstory to the Venom mythos in a truly satisfying way. This new revelation about Eddie’s past serves as a fantastic way to explain where Eddie got his slavish devotion to saving what he deems are innocent lives. It makes him into even more of a flawed character. However, despite the horrible atrocity he committed, he still gains a bit of sympathy because of how cold and unforgiving his father was. Ryan Stegman’s amazing artwork serves to show just how brutal Eddie’s past transgression was. VENOM #10 is yet another stellar issue of this fabulous series.

A Horrible Accident in VENOM #10

In the last issue, Eddie Brock returned to his hometown of San Francisco to confront his father. He had brief flashes of a memory of his coming back to San Francisco after his battle with Knull. However, the now-brain-dead Venom symbiote wiped most of those memories from his head. After his symbiote nearly killed his father, Eddie ran away. His stepbrother Dylan found him, and told him that he needs to kill their father. In VENOM #10, Eddie brings Dylan to a diner so they can talk. He inquires as to why Dylan wants him to kill their father, and Dylan asks why he and his father hate each other. Eddie responds by telling Dylan about a car accident he got into when he was a teenager.

VENOM #10 page 8. Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

In prior issues, we were led to believe that a car hit Eddie and the legal and medical fees bankrupted his father. That wasn’t true. No, Eddie was the one who hit and killed a child while driving drunk in his dad’s car. His dad was furious, but was also well-off, so he hired an expensive lawyer to get Eddie’s charges dropped. The only problem was that Eddie wanted to plead guilty and pay for everything he caused. His father didn’t agree and beat Eddie until he promised to plead not guilty. It worked, and Eddie got off scot-free, but his dad went bankrupt paying off the child’s parents, along with his doctors and lawyers. Eddie hasn’t forgiven himself for this though. But why did Dylan want Eddie to kill his father? What’s going wrong with Eddie, anyway? Read VENOM #10 to find out!

A Necessary Retcon

Donny Cates added the whole car crash story to the Venom mythos. In VENOM: DARK ORIGIN, the reason his father disowned him was because of the scandal regarding Eddie lying in a news article and ruining his reputation. Cates, of course, changed the reason to his being angry about having to pay off all of the involved parties in the accident, and losing his fortune as a result. It shows just how petty and heartless his father is. You sympathize more with Eddie and understand why he hates his father so much. He didn’t care about the child nor about Eddie. He only cared about the story of the accident besmirching his reputation.

That, in one way, is a really compelling reason for Eddie to become a champion for the innocent. He’s more ruthless, also, because of his father’s instilling his messed up ways upon Eddie at a young age. On top of this, Eddie’s getting off without any punishment for his crime serves to really emphasize why his crusade to help the innocent is so dear to Eddie. In the past, Eddie just seemed to have a weird moral compass. Now, it makes sense how his compass became so muddled, even if he has great intentions. He was raised by a monster, and never got the punishment he deserved for killing a child in cold blood. This knowledge should make prior Venom stories where he goes out of his way to save children even more poignant.

Beautiful, Haunting Layouts in VENOM #10

Ryan Stegman can draw some truly sick, horrifying stuff, as evidenced by earlier issues in this series. However, the page that made my stomach churn the most didn’t feature any horrifying monsters or deadly demons. No, this page in VENOM #10 features the tragic car accident, and the immediate aftermath. Every aspect of this page is blood curdling. The gigantic “CRASH” sound effect that frames Eddie’s father’s angry scream gives a lifelike representation of just how loud the hit would have sounded. The skewed, misshapen panels which show glimpses of the ensuing destruction serve to show just how frantic and violent the situation is. The worst part is tied between the bloody, lifeless hand strewn across the pavement and the small, but incredibly powerful, shot of the child’s bloody head obscured by his long hair.

VENOM #10 page 9. Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

Stegman really captures just how horrifying and somber this scene would be in real life.

Final Thoughts: VENOM #10

Yet again, Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman add another layer to the Venom lore with VENOM #10. Once again, they do it in the most superb way possible. It’s amazing that a Venom book is one of the best comics on the stands today, but this issue proves why it is.

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