VENOM #11 is pure quality. From start to finish, this book is filled with dialogue and plot points that really resonate. Donny Cates delivers the best issue of this series, so far. Ryan Stegman and Joshua Cassara draw some truly beautiful pages.
100 %
A Stunning Issue

Donny Cates reveals even more gigantic bombshells about Eddie Brock’s past in VENOM #11. It may seem cliché to say this, but it really did change the way I think of the character and some of his past appearances. The issue isn’t just about big reveals, though. The underlying story is a fantastic one, full of pathos and suspense. Cates crafts the best issue of the run with this impeccably written book. Everything about this issue, from the reveals to the dialogue, is a delight to read. Ryan Stegman and Joshua Cassara’s art looks stupendous, especially when we get to the more emotional parts of the issue.

Making a Mess of Eddie in VENOM #11

In the last issue, Eddie revealed to his step-brother, Dylan Brock, that he killed a child in his youth while driving drunk. Dylan came to Eddie in order to get him to stop Eddie’s father from beating Dylan. Before Eddie could help, his symbiote took over. He was rushed to a hospital, where The Maker intercepted him.

In VENOM #11, Dylan stands face-to-face with The Maker. This evil, alternate-universe Reed Richards claimed that Eddie’s cancer returned, but he admitted that it was only an educated guess. He believes that the symbiote took him over and put him in stasis. The Maker hopes to pry the symbiote from Eddie in order to better diagnose why Eddie has been feeling ill as of late. The Maker then asks Dylan to leave, since the process to remove the symbiote could kill Eddie.

VENOM #11 page 7. Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

Meanwhile, in Eddie’s subconscious, Eddie is a child again and his sister, Mary, takes him to see his dying uncle. Eddie initially believes her, but then he starts remembering this experience differently. As such, he lashes out, demanding to know where he is and what’s going on. The scenery changes to the church where he first bonded with the symbiote. Mary returns, and asks Eddie why he’s there, and why he never killed himself, like he was planning to do at the church. He responds that it’s because the symbiote bonded with him. “Mary” then reveals that it was the symbiote all along, trying to communicate with Eddie. What does the symbiote have to say? Why does what it says affect Eddie so much that he awakens from his stasis? Read VENOM #11 to find out!

Fantastic Writing in VENOM #11

Donny Cates honestly outdoes himself with this issue. I can’t really describe what I love about this issue too much without going into spoilers, but I’ll try. VENOM #11 is chock full of emotional moments. Eddie goes through a gamut of emotions this issue, and Cates portrays them perfectly. The horror Eddie feels when he realizes that his “dream” is all wrong in strange ways is not only harrowing, but also sort of relatable. I know I’ve had dreams that were frustratingly strange, but there’s nothing I could do to change them. It’s an incredibly realistic scene, showing a man at the end of his rope, who’s being seemingly toyed with by his symbiotic “partner.” When the revelations come later in the issue, the scenes where Eddie reacts to them are heartbreaking. Cates constructs a tragic, harrowing issue with all of those scenes.

Cates also writes The Maker so well. He’s just as insufferable and egotistical as he was when Jonathan Hickman and Al Ewing wrote him. Cates really understands the character and his voice. He also doesn’t feel out of place in this book, even though a Venom book isn’t the first place I’d really expect an appearance by The Maker. I felt this way about his prior appearances in this book as well. This issue, truly, showcases just how versatile of a writer Cates is. It’s amazing that one of the best books put out by Marvel right now is about Venom, but here we are.

Chilling Art

Ryan Stegman and Joshua Cassara share art duties in VENOM #11. Cassara handles the scenes in Eddie’s subconscious while Stegman draws the real-life scenes. Cassara fills his pages with dark, brooding images of Eddie Brock lost in the throes of emotion. When he asks where he is at the beginning of the issue, Brock looks like a person who’s genuinely paralyzed by fear. I also love the fractured, uneven panel structure of this page. It mirrors Eddie’s fractured psyche as he becomes more and more aware that he has no idea where he is or what’s happening.

VENOM #11 page 5. Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

Final Thoughts: VENOM #11

VENOM #11 is, honestly, the best issue of the series. It cements VENOM as one of the best books currently released by Marvel. This is thanks to Donny Cates, Ryan Stegman, and, in this issue, Joshua Cassara. They’re at the top of their game.

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