A Heroic Offer And a Devil Returned In Venom #21

by Josh Davison

Mild Spoilers Ahead

Eddie and Dylan Brock have been lodging with Liz Allen and Normie Osborn since the Carnage attack. Things have been tense between Eddie and Dylan since Eddie revealed that he’s Dylan’s father. Unfortunately, this can’t be hashed out yet, as Eddie has an invitation to meet up with the Avengers. Captain America has invited Eddie onto the team, but the meeting is interrupted by a new voice in Eddie’s head. It seems Carnage may not be as dead as Eddie hoped and Eddie vows to purge the monster from the world for good.

Venom #21 cover by Mark Bagley, Andy Owens, and Jason Keith
Venom #21 cover by Mark Bagley, Andy Owens, and Jason Keith

Venom #21 kicks off the “Venom Island” story that Marvel’s been advertising since about the midpoint of Absolute Carnage. It opens up with an unexpected invitation from the Avengers and ends with Eddie going to extreme measures to make sure Carnage is well and truly dead.

The “Island” part of “Venom Island” doesn’t arise until the end of the comic and it’s a surprising reference to some deep Venom history.

Much of the comic is the internal conflict of Eddie Brock. His son resents him for hiding their true relation and the return of Carnage has put the relationship between Eddie and Venom into new turmoil.

The Avengers invitation was quite a surprise too. Though Agent Venom was a member of the Secret Avengers, this is a different Venom and the headlining Avengers team. It’s kinda cool though and I do hope that leads to an eventual Venom membership in Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.

Mark Bagley returns to Venom with this tale. The great Bagley of course doesn’t need my endorsement, but his visuals are once again brilliant. His style is distinctive and gorgeous and he does an especially good job with the subtle emotional moments Eddie experiences. Andy Owens’ inking is spot-on and Frank Martin and Erick Arciniega give the book an explosive and well-contrasted color palette.

Venom #21 is a solid start for “Venom Island.” Eddie Brock is dealing with many new changes to his life, and not all of them are peaceful or good. The demons of Eddie’s past seem to be eternal, but he’ll do whatever it takes to stop them from ruining his life now. This book definitely earns a recommendation. Feel free to give it a read.

Venom #21 comes to us from writer Donny Cates, artist Mark Bagley, inker Andy Owens, color artists Frank Martin and Erick Arciniega, letterer VC’s Clayton Cowles, cover artist Mark Bagley with Andy Owens and Jason Keith, and variant cover artists Mark Bagley with John Dell and Jason Keith; Clayton Crain; Paolo Rivera; and Khary Randolph with Emilio Lopez.

Final Score: 8/10

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