VENOM: FIRST HOST # 5 BY MIKE COSTA, MARK BAGLEY, PACO DIAZ, ANDREW HENNESSY, DONO SANCHEZ-ALMARA
Art
Characterization
Plot
Summary
As if things couldn’t get any the first host, has set his sights on Earth! Though this Kree soldier may have been a war hero for his beloved homeworld, he has no such affections for Earth…and all that’s standing between him and the planet…IS VENOM!
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Everything that has a beginning, has an end. The final issue of VENOM: FIRST HOST #5 is here and believe me, it does not disappoint. Writer Mike Costa takes us on one hell of a cool run on this epic series and, of course, he saves the best for last. Costa leaves us with a great story, packing it with emotion, adventure, and a new symbiote. But you already knew that last part.

In the last issue, Venom and the Skrull war bride, M’Lanz, caught up to Tel-Kar in the D’karr Nebula where they were trying to stop him from unleashing a biological doomsday device that has the capability of wiping out the entire Skrull empire once and for all. Although they were able to stop him and break his control over the Venom symbiote, they were a bit too late to stop him from killing every Skrull aboard the Skrull military ship. (A moment of silence for the fallen Skrulls.) Just when it looked like they had Tel-Kar defeated, reinforcements showed up at the last second, allowing Tel-Kar to have the last laugh, or so he thought.

VENOM: FIRST HOST #5

In VENOM: FIRST HOST #5, the final battle commences pitting Venom, M’Lanz and yes, Tel-Kar against the Kree army. Venom and M’Lanz appear like they will bring Tel-Kar to justice inside of the Skrull military ship, but then the ultimate betrayal happens. The Kree army shows up not to help Tel-Kar, but to destroy him and anyone else aboard the Skrull vessel, including the biohazard weapon. They reveal the war is over and have no use for a biological weapon after the loss of Hala.

venom: first host #5
Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

The general makes it known that Tel-Kar is a traitor and a thief amongst their people. Then he bids him farewell before they annihilate his ship. While Tel-Kar is distracted talking on the monitor with the Kree general, Venom and M’Lanz manage to escape back to their ship just in the nick of time. The Kree delivers one final stream of phasers to the spacecraft erasing it and Tel-Kar from the galaxy.

The Joys Created in this Series

Now that VENOM: FIRST HOST #5 is over I want to go back and read it all over again from the beginning. I truly enjoyed this series so much. This issue amps me up for the new Venom movie and has me exploring other Mike Costa stories I have yet to read. This series brought together a symbiote and a Skrull bride and made them work together to save the universe.

venom: first host #5
Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

I also hope that Sleeper at some point down the line gets his own spin-off series. If that happens I’ll be first in line to grab my copy.

Unanswered Questions

The series may have come to an end, but there’s still some elements of the story that left me scratching my head. In issue two we learned that Tel-Kar was a deep cover agent under the fleet of the third spiral arm. He states that he was selected from a pool of hundreds of recruits and had to endure harsh training in order to bond with the symbiote. Although I know the third spiral arm division of the Kree conducted the experiments, who did they answer to?

We never find out who exactly helped him perfect his body so it could bond successfully with the symbiote. Earlier in the story, when M’lanz tells her side, she said he had been subjected to experiments but who conducted them? We never see any of these higher-level beings. Perhaps there’s room for another story that may include more detail involving the unidentified Kree that help make the symbiote experiments a success.

Another component of the story is the kiss between Eddie Brock and M’Lanz. The cover of issue three foreshadows a possible romance. The idea is never explored further. Finally, does Tel-Kar meets his demise or has the door been left open for another series down the line? If his fate has been sealed, then Costa gives him a fitting end. I don’t want to give away too much, but you can judge and make assumptions for yourself.  Interpreting the end is half the fun.

Visually Beautiful

Artists Mark Bagley and Paco Diaz really outdid themselves IN VENOM: FIRST HOST #5. They took the illustrations up a few notches in this one. The book plays easily like a 90’s space adventure. The Venom spawn Sleeper looks completely stunning in this issue as well. The action sequence that takes place at the end was my favorite of this issue. I also loved how they switch up locations every few pages.

venom: first host #5
Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

I wish that VENOM: FIRST HOST #5 was a double issue so we could have twice as much of their amazing brilliance. The inks were sensational as well by Andrew Hennessey and, doing double duty, Paco Diaz. The colors done by colorist Dono Sanchez-Almara are breathtaking, especially the space panels.

Final Exit

I had a blast reading VENOM: FIRST HOST #5. Costa is a genius writer and I can’t wait to see what his next project will be. Hopefully, we get a spin-off series with the Venom offspring Sleeper at some point. Whatever Costa decides to do, I hope he teams up with Mark Bagley as they make a great dynamic team. Overall the series had a few plot holes and could have gone a little longer with the action sequences. However, VENOM: FIRST HOST was a great series and if you haven’t read it yet I’d highly recommend it.

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