Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Google+ Share on Reddit Share on Pinterest Share on Linkedin Share on Tumblr VENOM #6 BY DONNY CATES, RYAN STEGMAN, AND JP MAYER Art Characterization Plot Summary VENOM #6, plain and simple, is my favorite book of the month. It’s a perfect ending to an already sublime story arc. Donny Cates continues making this series into one of the most enjoyable books on the stands. Ryan Stegman makes this issue look as stunning as possible. 97 %Ferociously Fun FinaleVENOM #6 ends the book’s inaugural arc with a literal bang. Explosives and guns go off like crazy in this bombastic issue. The art takes center stage this issue, since most of the book is spent showing Venom’s fight with Knull. Ryan Stegman delivers one of the most kinetic, exciting-looking issues I’ve seen in a while. That’s not to say that Donny Cates doesn’t pull his own weight with VENOM #6. He made me feel complex emotions about a symbiotic organism that, at one time, was obsessed with eating brains. The final few pages of this issue are some of the most emotional pages of a Venom book since Rick Remender’s run on the title. Warning: this review contains spoilers, so be sure to read VENOM #6 before continuing!Armed and Ready in VENOM #6Last issue, we learned that Venom’s mysterious sorta-ally, Rex, never made it out of Vietnam alive. Instead, his symbiote took his place, and he joined up with Venom in order to help Eddie fight Knull. VENOM #6 opens with the Rex-infused Venom suiting up for battle. He picks up all sorts of weapons, from swords to cannons, and ends up looking like something out of a ‘90s Image title. I’ll discuss that more in depth later. Rex calls for Knull to come back to Earth, since he has a connection to Knull’s symbiote-dragon, Grendel. Shortly after, Grendel comes crashing down and Eddie begins fighting. He eventually destroys Grendel with some sonic grenades, and out comes Knull. The elder Symbiote god succeeds in separating the symbiote from Eddie. However, unbeknownst to Knull, the symbiote came booby trapped with loads of electric-looking grenades. VENOM #6 page 4. Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.Venom returns to his host, but without Rex. Knull reawakens, but Rex, now separated from Venom, puts up a fight. With Eddie’s help, Rex pulls Knull into a furnace. Eddie seals the door shut and, while the symbiote blocks his pain receptors, ensures that Knull’s good and dead. However, he can no longer hear his symbiote. What happens next? We’ll find out next month!A Heartrending Ending in VENOM #6Much of VENOM #6 relied on Ryan Stegman’s stupendous artwork, but Cates’s writing took center stage at the end. He fills the final pages with blow after blow to the gut, starting with Rex’s sacrifice. I’ll admit, I was ready to read more about Venom’s adventures with an armchair psychologist symbiote in the back seat of his brain, psychoanalyzing Eddie’s every move, which is what Rex did at the beginning of the issue. However, his noble sacrifice made up for that missed opportunity. It felt great to see a mysterious, seemingly altruistic character stay on the side of angels. So often, we get bait and switches where they end up double-crossing the main character. Not this time.The biggest emotional punch came after Rex’s sacrifice, though. Right before it disappears from Eddie’s mind, the Venom symbiote reveals its love for Eddie. It’s a surprisingly sweet, touching moment in this otherwise macho action-horror book. Cates succeeds in portraying the ending, which could very well have come across as goofy and even a bit sappy, in the correct emotional light. Not only did this leave me itching to find out what happens next, it also made me truly feel sad for both Eddie and the symbiote. Their relationship together as host and symbiote hasn’t really been explored much besides a bit of Mike Costa’s prior run. I’m happy to see Cates touch upon that, and I’m sure he’ll go back to it in future issues.Sublime Artwork in VENOM #6VENOM #6 may be my favorite issue of the series, art-wise. Ryan Stegman and JP Mayer go above and beyond this issue. It’s truly a sight to behold. It’s got page after page of beautiful splashes and nearly full-page spreads. The action in the book looks positively kinetic. Each fight scene looks as close to animation as you can possibly get with a still image. Your eyes can almost see the motion of each character on each page. Possibly my favorite page of the entire series is the first double splash page. First off, Venom’s ultra-‘90s attire looks so cool. I like how Stegman makes it almost look like something out of a David Cronenberg body horror film; symbiotic flesh looks melded together with various heavy weaponry. On top of that, the bricks flying everywhere gives the page amazing kinetic energy. All-in-all, VENOM #6 looks spectacular. VENOM #6 page 6. Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.Final Thoughts: VENOM #6VENOM #6 is a feast for the eyes. It looks absolutely beautiful. On top of that, Donny Cates’s writing, at the end of the issue especially, adds in that extra layer of fantastic talent. You need to pick up this series, if you haven’t already. It’s excellent.