VENOM #13
VENOM #13 BY CULLEN BUNN AND IBAN COELLO
Story
Art
Characterization
Summary
VENOM #13 changes Eddie’s status quo in an exciting way. However, the poorly-paced plotting serves as a detriment for the issue, holding back its full potential as a superb issue. Iban Coello’s character designs are top notch.
86 %
Strangely Paced

Cullen Bunn takes over for Donny Cates for this book’s WAR OF THE REALMS tie-in arc, starting with VENOM #13. In this issue, Eddie Brock and his son, Dylan, get caught up with Dark Elves and trolls while trying to find their place in the world after the last issue. Eddie receives a mysterious gift from a shady source, as well.

Bunn delivers an enjoyable story that, while not quite on par with the other issues of the series, tells an intriguing story. However, it takes some time to get to the real interesting parts. Iban Coello continues his work on the series with this issue. He creates a new design which looks pretty nifty. If you’re already following VENOM, I’d say to pick this issue up, otherwise, maybe wait until ABSOLUTE CARNAGE to jump on.

A None-Too-Safe House in VENOM #13

Previously, Eddie Brock learned that he had a child, Dylan, whom the Venom symbiote purposefully hid from him. He also learned that the symbiote fabricated both Eddie’s cancer and the memories of multiple false family members. Feeling hurt and betrayed, Eddie parted ways with his symbiote. He decided to look after his son, since his father — who was raising Dylan — abused him. In VENOM #13, Eddie and Dylan are, presumably, back in New York City, just in time for Malekith’s forces to invade Midgard. On their way to Rex Strickland’s safe house, Eddie witnesses a group of Dark Elves accosting some innocents. The lethal protector in him is reawakened, and he confronts the elves, even though he no longer has a symbiote. They stab him and leave him for dead, but he gets up just in time to save Dylan from another elf.

VENOM #13
VENOM #13 page 9. Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

They make their way to the safe house, but Eddie is looking worse for wear with all of his wounds. At the safe house, a mysterious Dark Elf sorceress confronts Eddie. The sorceress has an ulterior motive, since she obeys Malekith. She tells him that she has an object, the Dreamstone, that can make dreams into reality. The sorceress hints that it can give him back the power he was missing from his symbiotic other. Without a moment’s hesitation, Eddie takes the stone. He then turns into a new, Ten Realms-infused Venom.

Does this mean Eddie will fight for Malekith? But what about Dylan? Pick up VENOM #13 to find out!

Some Slow Plotting in VENOM #13

The big twist in VENOM #13, Eddie becoming a sort of Venom again, is a really interesting development for the character. It gives Eddie powers without him already going back to his abusive symbiote former partner. Bunn does a great job piquing my interest with this plot detail. There’s a lot that can be mined from this premise.

However, it felt like it took a while to get to this point. While the first chunk of the issue was well written, to me, it served no real purpose. We don’t know how Eddie got to New York when he was last in San Francisco with Dylan, nor do we even know if it is New York. It presumably is, since according to the recap page, it takes place after WAR OF THE REALMS #1, not #2, so Malekith didn’t take over the rest of America yet. That’s a minor nitpick, though. My major issue is with the slow plotting.

The opening part of the issue just really serves to reinforce that Eddie doesn’t have a symbiote anymore, but is still heroic regardless. That could have taken maybe 2-3 pages; instead, it took 9 pages. When the old sorceress finally shows up, the pacing gets a bit quicker, but not long after the reveal, the issue ends. The pacing just did not feel right to me all issue. I’m hoping it picks up more next issue. Bunn is a Venom veteran, so he knows how to write a story with Eddie. I’m hoping this issue was just a fluke.

Neat New Design

VENOM #13 introduces Eddie’s new Dark Elf-powered suit. Iban Coello draws the suit for its first appearance, and it just looks so cool. I’m assuming Coello designed the suit, too. I love the design of it. It combines the old Venom design with something you would see invading Asgard. The textured designs around his chest and the glowing runes around his arms and legs make the suit stand enough apart from the original Venom design that it looks unique. The bone-like spikes growing from his body are a little extra, but since Eddie is a product of ‘90s comic book excess, the mixture works for the character. Bony protrusions make sense for a character that began as, essentially, an edgy, evil Spider-Man.

VENOM #13
VENOM #13 page 17. Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

Final Thoughts: VENOM #13

VENOM #13 is pretty bizarrely paced and plotted. However, I’m excited by Eddie’s new development, so I’m hopeful for the next installment of the series.

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