WEB OF VENOM: VE’NAM #1 isn’t for the faint of heart. It features some gruesome sequences. However, it’s also a beautiful book. Cates, once again, outdoes himself with this issue. You won’t want to miss this exciting new one-shot.
98 %
Frightening Fun

WEB OF VENOM: VE’NAM #1 isn’t exactly what you’d think it is from the previews. It is not, in fact, a story about symbiote-enhanced soldiers fighting in the Vietnam war. It’s an element of the story, but the main plot focuses on Nick Fury teaming up with pre-Wolverine Logan to capture and/or kill the symbiotes, which went rogue. While this isn’t the story I expected to get, it’s a damn fun story regardless. Donny Cates, as usual, writes a fantastically fun comic filled with awe-inspiring action scenes. Artist Juanan Ramírez makes the symbiotes and the carnage they inflict look suitably horrifying.

Symbiotes Invade Vietnam in this WEB OF VENOM: VE’NAM #1 Preview

Run Through the Jungle in WEB OF VENOM: VE’NAM #1

In prior issues of VENOM, we met Rex Strickland, a Vietnam vet who said that he and his platoon were the first humans to be bonded with symbiotes. During the war, S.H.I.E.L.D. discovered the symbiote dragon named Grendel, which was buried centuries before when Knull, the god of symbiotes, first came to Earth. They bonded the platoon to the dragon’s Klyntar offspring. In WEB OF VENOM: VE’NAM #1, we see the results of this little experiment. The book opens with the symbiotic soldiers viciously killing and devouring both Viet Cong soldiers and a normal human American platoon. As a result, Nick Fury decides that it’s time to put an end to the symbiotes before they cause more damage, or end up in enemy hands. He enlists the aid of Logan to help hunt them down. Together, they venture into Vietnam to find the slaughtering symbiotes.

WEB OF VENOM: VE’NAM #1 page 1. Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

There, they come across Rex Strickland, who uses a flamethrower to dispose of a symbiote. Together, the three of them fight the Klyntar to a standstill. They then learn that Fury was a Life Model Decoy all along, and that he has a contingency plan for if they fail. What is the plan? Pick up WEB OF VENOM: VE’NAM #1 to find out!

Cates Does it Again in WEB OF VENOM: VE’NAM #1

I’ve been singing Donny Cates’ praises since his time on THANOS, and for good reason. He’s one of Marvel’s best current writers. WEB OF VENOM: VE’NAM #1 continues his tradition. At first, I was a little disappointed in the book once I realized that it wasn’t going to just be a story about symbiote soldiers fighting in Vietnam. I thought it would have been a nice, darkly comedic lampoon of typical Vietnam War stories. However, Cates subverted my expectations by making it a Nick Fury/Logan team up book. Once I got into the idea of this, my disappointment went away. It was replaced with pure excitement. I had such a fun time reading this book.

The Symbiote Sprouts its Wings in VENOM #5

Much like the main VENOM book, it feels like something right out of the ‘90s, but with better quality writing and art. It’s an inherently over-the-top concept, Nick Fury and Logan fighting symbiote-bonded soldiers, but it doesn’t feel ridiculous in the least. Instead, it focused more on Fury and Logan’s love-hate relationship. Logan seems to look down upon Fury for his clandestine ways, and yet he still accepts Fury’s invitation to hunt the symbiotes. Fury seems to see Logan as not much more than a weapon, but he also understands just how valuable Logan is as an ally. Cates shows all this in the span of just one extra-sized issue. It makes me want Cates to write a whole series with Logan and Fury’s adventures through the years. This issue already felt like a pilot for that theoretical series.

Ramírez’s Haunting Art in WEB OF VENOM: VE’NAM #1

Ramírez really nails the tone of this issue quite well. He makes the horrific parts look, well, horrifying, but he also makes the more “boring” parts, where characters just sit and talk, look cinematic. My favorite page of the issue shows a soldier coming across a symbiote eating his platoon-mates. It looks absolutely disgusting and gut-wrenching. The symbiote’s pose makes it look like a feral animal. The strings of blood hanging from its mouth make it look all the more fear-inducing. Add in the half-eaten head, and it’s pure nightmare fuel.

WEB OF VENOM: VE’NAM #1 page 2. Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

Final Thoughts: WEB OF VENOM: VE’NAM #1

WEB OF VENOM: VE’NAM #1 is fun from front to back. Cates makes this issue stand up with its main series counterpart. I recommend it to anyone who’s interested in Venom, even if they don’t read the main series. You don’t need to read VENOM to enjoy this book.

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