REVIEW: ‘Extreme Venomverse,’ Issue #1

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Extreme Venomverse #1 — But Why Tho

Extreme Venomverse #1 is an anthology comic published by Marvel Comics. The first story is titled, “The Best Part of Him,” written by Ryan North, pencils by Paulo Siqueira, inks by JP Mayer, colours by Federico Blee, and letters by Joe Sabino. The second story is titled “All In The Family,” written by Mirka Andolfo, art by Nico Leon, colours by Erick Arciniega, and letters by Sabino. The third story is titled “Tip of the Blade,” written and penciled by Leonardo Romero, inks by Roberto Poggi, and colours by Ruth Redmond. Across the issue, three different versions of Venom are explored in separate realities.

These are three very individual plots. The first investigates what would have happened if Peter Parker had died before the Symbiote bonded with Eddie. It’s a dramatic and intense opening beat, before going down a route that is strangely positive for Brock and Venom, blending an extra personality into the pairing. But this is a comic that will never be able to shy away from violence as he is launched into a brutal brawl with Doc Ock. It’s a snippet of a much wider saga, as all of the tales are. The second is a whole family affected by Symbiotes, as Eddie, Anna, and Dylan all struggle with the parasite. This is again a really emotional chapter, depicting a broken family that is being torn apart in three separate ways.

The last story is a sci-fi samurai tale, a frantic fight on a train. It might be the most separate as a story concept, considering the characters aren’t recognisable, but that makes it the most interesting. And given the different plots, the pacing and the high energy can be found in all three. The spectrum of possible stories that could be told is well represented in Extreme Venomverse #1, showing that the idea of Symbiote and host can be spread incredibly far. Two of the stories end with a hint of what is to come in Death of Venomverse.

Some of the dialogue and the character development within this issue are fascinating. The writing for “The Best Part of Him” is beautifully poetic in the beginning, emulating the writing that was used in the original issue where Peter got rid of the black suit. There is grandiosity and eloquence to the captions and word balloons. But after that, it is a more rugged but still fantastic script. The family drama in the next story is also brilliantly written. The hostility of the old Venom comes through here, with some haunting manipulation leaking through the captions. It’s reminiscent of the conflicts between Carnage and Venom. The main character of the final story, the samurai, is very quiet in dialogue, although his narration becomes more present by the end of the comic. However, I never felt like there was a distinct voice there. Interestingly, two stories focus on the negative, difficult-to-control side of the Symbiote, whilst the first is quite sweet and loving.

The art is brilliant throughout the issue. In “The Best of Him,” the first couple of pages are direct samples from Web of Spider-Man #1, showing Spider-Man in the church tower as he sheds the suit. It’s nostalgic and just as effective in depicting the extremely loud noise as it was decades ago. But then it transitions into a more modern style, highlighting how easily the outcome could be different. There is a brilliant feeling of motion in this story, with Venom always bouncing and moving. “All in The Family” is a great example of adapting the design of Venom, with three different ideas for a combined parasite and host in one tale. “Tip of The Blade” has some unique designs as well. The speed is awesome here too, with swords and blades being slashed and twirled.

The colors can be gloomy and dark within all three stories, more reflective of the general tone of a Venom comic. But that doesn’t mean there can’t be moments of vibrancy, especially in the backgrounds. Sabino deserves a huge amount of praise for how much lettering needed to be done for this issue, and it is nearly always easy to read. 

Extreme Venomverse #1 is a great barometer of how a similar story can change with minor tweaks. All three are based on the same concept of Venom, yet they couldn’t be more varied in the execution. Sure, the black and white will always be there, but there are alternate hosts, settings, and eras in time. Perhaps it is important to remember that whilst “we are Venom”, the name will always follow the Symbiote itself.

Extreme Venomverse #1 is available where comics are sold.

Extreme Venomverse #1
4.5

TL;DR

Extreme Venomverse #1 is a great barometer of how a similar story can change with minor tweaks.

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