VENOM #12
VENOM #12 BY DONNY CATES AND JOSHUA CASSARA
Art
Characterization
Story
Summary
VENOM #12 cements this book’s reputation as, quite possibly, the best Venom run ever written! Donny Cates delivers, yet again, a near-flawless script. Joshua Cassara replaces Ryan Stegman for this issue, but the quality sure doesn’t change.
98 %
Another Winner

VENOM #12 finally gives some background as to how Dylan Brock came into the world. We also see the fallout of the Venom symbiote’s life-shattering revelations from the last issue. Donny Cates delivers a slam-dunk issue, with some amazing story beats and tremendous character moments. The end of this issue will have you legitimately hooked on Cates’ run, if you aren’t already.

Cates cranks up the emotional moments, especially with the opening scene of the book. Joshua Cassara takes over the art duties from Ryan Stegman this issue, but there’s not one iota of reduced quality. He draws some hauntingly somber pages as well as stupendous action scenes featuring our favorite symbiote. The Venom gang deliver another highly enjoyable issue.

A Look Into the Past in VENOM #12

In the last few issues of VENOM, Eddie Brock returned to his hometown of San Francisco to find out why he has visions of visiting his father not long ago. Eddie’s supposed half-brother, Dylan, confronts him and tells him that Eddie’s father has been beating him. Before Eddie could pay a visit of retribution to his father, he goes into a coma. Within the coma, Eddie communes with his symbiote, and finds out a few shocking things. He never had cancer, nor did he have a sister, even though he swore otherwise. It was the symbiote the whole time, messing with his mind. He also finds out that Dylan is, in fact, his son. VENOM #12 opens with a flashback to shortly after Dylan’s birth. Anne Weying, Eddie’s ex-wife, stands on his father’s doorstep with the baby Dylan. She pleads with him to take Dylan.

VENOM #12
VENOM #12 page 4. Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

Anne reveals that Dylan came to be from a sort of immaculate conception, thanks to Anne and Eddie both bonding with the Venom symbiote. We never learn how or why this happens, though. Back in the present, Eddie, in one of The Maker’s contraptions, fights with his symbiote. He tells the Maker that he wants to be separated from the symbiote. Eventually, there’s an explosion, and a hand reaches out from the wreckage. Meanwhile, Eddie’s father drives Dylan home, and nearly beats him again when, suddenly, his truck slams to a halt. Venom stands before his father and grabs him by the head. His tendrils slither into his father’s mouth, eyes and nose.

Did he just kill his father? What did the machine do to Eddie and the symbiote? What will happen to Dylan? Read VENOM #12 to find out!

The Tragedy of Dylan in VENOM #12

Dylan Brock adds even more tragedy to Eddie Brock’s already painful existence. He failed as a reporter, he bonded with a symbiote, the same symbiote lied and manipulated his mind in order to stay bonded with him. On top of that, he learns that he had a child he never knew about, who’s now almost a teenager. Just to make it worse, that child has been living with his deadbeat dad who’s been beating Dylan, possibly for years. Donny Cates piles on the tragedy in Eddie’s life. Cates’ deep dive through Eddie’s life, and the various revelations about it, are exactly why this book is much more interesting than a Venom book has been in years. Most of the time, when you read a Venom book, you go in expecting the adventures of a symbiote anti-hero beating up bad guys and acting morally ambiguous.

Instead, Cates subverts the readers’ expectations, making this comic into something much more than that. The first arc dealt with the implications of meeting your supposed “God” and learning that he’s a maniacal monster. This one deals with family trauma and, essentially, Eddie realizing that he’s in an abusive relationship with his symbiotic “other.” It elevates the story and makes it into something more than just a fun superhero story. This issue really highlights that with so many pages devoted to Dylan and Eddie’s reaction to learning about Dylan’s parentage. In fact, I’m even more intrigued to find out where Dylan and Eddie’s story leads next than I am of Eddie and the symbiote’s.

Moody and Detailed Artwork

Joshua Cassara takes over for Ryan Stegman in VENOM #12. His style is relatively different from Stegman’s, but it’s no less stunning. That’s especially clear with the opening page of the book. Anne Weying stands fearful and desperate at Eddie’s father’s door. That fear and desperation is shown in many different ways through the art. Her awkward, nearly hunched over pose implies that she’s fidgeting and shifting around in anxiety. Tears stream down her already rain-soaked face, and she has a look of abject fear on her face. She’s afraid of what’ll happen if Eddie learns of his spawn. My favorite little detail is her shoes. She was clearly in so much of a desperate hurry that she put on two completely different styles of footwear: a sneaker and a sandal.

VENOM #12
VENOM #12 page 2. Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

That alone, especially with the extra detail of the sneaker being untied, conveys her desperation.

Final Thoughts: VENOM #12

VENOM #12 is another home run issue from Cates and Cassara. I really can’t wait to see what happens next. I’m not just giving a line; I truly am anxiously awaiting the next issue. I love this series!

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