VENOM: FIRST HOST #3 BY MIKE COSTA, MARK BAGLEY, RON LIM, SCOTT HANNA, ANDREW HENNESSY, DONO SANCHEZ-ALMARA
Art
Characterization
Plot
Summary
After the extraterrestrial ambush of last issue, the Venom symbiote will have to choose between allowing its newborn offspring to die…or separate from Eddie Brock!
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In VENOM: FIRST HOST #3, writer Mike Costa reveals some shocking revelations that shed light on the real motives Tel-Kar had when he arrived on Earth and took the Venom symbiote away from Eddie Brock. Now, stronger than ever and his original plan back in play, what does Tel-Kar have in store for the Skrull empire? Does he plan to use the power of the Venom symbiote for good or does he have a much bigger agenda in mind? Whatever it is, it doesn’t look good for the Skrulls.

VENOM: FIRST HOST #3 Revelations

In the last two issues, the Kree warrior Tel-Kar arrived on Earth and hijacked the Venom symbiote. In VENOM: FIRST HOST #3 the Skrull war bride M’Lanz shows up and sheds some major light on the entire symbiote debacle from a Skrull perspective. Okay, yes, she really did try to kill Eddie Brock and Tel-Kar in the alleyway in the first issue. But her bigger goal was to keep the symbiote away from Tel-Kar.

venom: first host #3
Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

Eddie learns there is so much more he doesn’t know about his Venom symbiote. M’Lanz begins explaining Tel-Kar’s plan which helps give us readers some more detail on his backstory. For starters, decades before he came into contact with the symbiote, M’Lanz tells him that the symbiote helped Tel-Kar infiltrate the Skrull ranks, sabotage missions, and assassinate a large majority of her people. Eddie also learns that the symbiote couldn’t remember details about Tel-Kar because he didn’t want it to. Tel-Kar’s body and mind were subjected to intense training and gene therapies. This made him immune to the normal effects of the symbiote.

The Issue that Keeps on Giving

While VENOM: FIRST HOST #3 puts a lot of the symbiote drama into perspective, Costa also does a great job at foreshadowing a few things to come in the next issues. I’ll start with the most obvious one, a potential love affair. During their encounter when M’Lanz talks about leaving to go to the D’KARR Nebula, Eddie insists on going with her. M’Lanz puts her hand on Eddie’s chest and checks out his muscles in a flirtatious way. This coincides with artist Mark Bagley’s cover which shows Eddie and M’Lanz engaged in a kiss. Who knew this would be a space adventure and a love story?

The second thing we get from this issue is the creation of a brand-new Venom symbiote. Unlike other symbiotes of the past, this one looks entirely new. It even has a very different set of powers. The costume design is a lot different than the usual Venom incarnations that we’re used to seeing. His powers are still premature but what we know so far is that it can create confusion and bring on euphoria or sleep. I think the real question though is if it will have any effect on Tel-Kar and the Venom symbiote.

venom: first host #3
Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

Third I love how Costa flips the point of view and tell us what happened basically from a Skrull perspective. Since the second issue told us Tel-Kar’s Kree perspective, maybe we’ll even get some detail from the Venom symbiote itself at some point.

Art

VENOM: FIRST HOST #3 artists Mark Bagley and Ron Lim continue to do an incredible job with the artwork in this issue. I felt like a lot of the panel work was kind of in your face with a lot of different transformations. This felt like a space adventure that has just gotten started, so I’m excited to see what Bagley has in store for the next two issues. Because I’m a big fan of villains, my favorite page from this issue hands down is the last page.

We see a bunch of Skrull soldiers sprawled all over the place after a battle with Tel-Kar, and the last panel shot is him with a big evil grin holding the one thing M’Lanz doesn’t want him to get a hold of.

venom: first host #3
Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

Is Tel-Kar Indeed the First Host?

VENOM: FIRST HOST #3 raises some interesting questions including if Tel-Kar is indeed the first host. This was an early suspicion I had since the first issue. After reading VENOM: FIRST HOST #3 I’m not so sure. This is complete speculation, but if I remember the opening sequence of the first issue, we see two masked space travelers discovering the young symbiote.

I now believe that the masked men were most likely Kree warriors who found the symbiote during their explorations. But this doesn’t necessarily mean that it was Tel-Kar who found it. Since Tel-Kar was a test subject, who says he was the only one? For all we know, the Kree could have been experimenting on multiple Kree warriors.

After all, when Tel-Kar was aboard the Kree Vessel helping his people escape he did tell a Kree citizen when they arrive in Hala to show the symbiote to a senior officer and say it must be brought to an admiral. This would indicate that other Kree knew about the symbiote and his mission. Before Tel-Kar and the Kree citizens he helped escape come into contact with Skrull warriors, Tel-Kar was about to tell them who he had to report back to. Who could this unknown person be?

venom: first host #1
Image from VENOM: FIRST HOST #1, courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

Final Thoughts

VENOM: FIRST HOST #3 is my favorite issue in the series so far. Costa has continued to impress me with this new layer of story to the Venom legacy. The creative team of Mark Bagley and Ron Lim has been utterly brilliant. The new addition of yet another Venom symbiote was a nice touch as well. I’m starting to lose count with how many different symbiote variations there are between the universes.

Hopefully, the next issue will answer my question on as to who Tel-Kar is working for. Is M’Lanz telling the whole truth? It’s all leading up to one big showdown between Venom Tel-Kar and Offspring Eddie by the stories end.

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