Monday, September 3, 2018

Venom: First Host #1 Review - Marvel Monday

On the Previous Run of Venom ... 

Writer: Mike Costa
Art Team: Mark Bagley, Andrew Hennessy, Dono Sanchez-Almara
Marvel Comics
Release Date: August 26, 2018
Cover Price: $3.99

It's usually Deadpool who we find at the middle of the random side quest mini-series that Marvel puts out, but this week Venom takes center stage, with not one but two different efforts, but do they both supplement his current ongoing title? I got the honors of taking care of the First Host, which from the looks of it is a five-issue weekly mini-series, NOT written by Donny Cates,  picks up on threads from the end of the previous Venom series. So with the stage now set for you dear readers, if you're still interested, let's dig right in and see what we have here in issue one.

The beginning of this issue traces the origin of the symbiote we know as Venom. We see it being taken off its home planet of Klyntar for the first time, follow it years later in the middle of the Skrull vs Kree war raging throughout the galaxy, where a Kree soldier is seen wearing the symbiote named Tel-Kar. Tel-Kar seemingly sacrifices himself to free a group of Kree from the Skrull starship with his last wish that he leave the symbiote to those he freed. Our symbiote buddy has better plans though, taking off into the unknown of space, rather than be in the hands of either Skrull or Kree.

After so heavily going over the origins and beginnings of the symbiote in the ongoing Venom title I find this mini-series in a little bit of a weird place.  How this is being thrown out there right now conflicts a little with what we've been learning, or maybe this is just a super well-traveled symbiote, either way, I could see it putting some people off with them passing from this point forward. 

The story picks up with Venom on Earth, in 'present day', quickly introduced to the audience by stopping a robbery before heading off to talk with Liz Allen at Alcemax/Roxon, one of those two big bad Marvel corporations. In all honesty, I forgot, but this book helps nobody out along the way by introducing nothing, while it just throws things around all willy nilly. For a series that ended back in April, and I wasn't buying or following consistently to have at my disposal for review purposes, I felt like there are huge points in this story they eliminate readers throughout the issue because of how things are handled. The lack of introductions, or even name drops, throughout here besides the Skrull and Kree stuff is a lot to ask readers to just pick up and remember, especially if they've been following a new Fresh Start Venom title.

From what I was able to gather, and vaguely remember, Venom had a spawn awhile back and he pops up to take care of it and does so what seems like pretty frequently. Things go south when Eddie becomes pissed Liz wants to turn tests shes running on this spawn symbiote into a compensation package paying off Eddie to keep his mouth shut. Eddie takes off questioning his trust to Liz but before he can address this any further quickly runs into some opposition in the form of Skrulls.  Tel-Kar comes to aid of a now tongueless Venom in our cliffhanger but I'm not sure I care right now when I have another Venom book telling such a story I care more about at this point. 

Venom: First Host wasn't an awful story, but suffered in some areas that really stretched my interest going forward.  Events and character motivations are poorly explained, and if you read all of this teams previous run that may be fine to you, but dropping this as a mini-series with a new #1, at the same time another Venom tie-in to the main title comes out, is a bit of dirty pool on Marvel's part especially when this is not related to the Cates run in any way.  It kind of reeks of trying to slide one by the fans by Marvel's marketing department, but I cant fault the creative team for that, who do a decent job this issue for those who are invested, its just not for me.

The art by Bagley and company looks great, it gives this Venom title a more classic Venom look from the 90's, different from the horror feel the book currently sports now, and I love both personally. Bagley can draw the Spider family characters any day.

Bits and Pieces:

If you were super invested in the Costa and Bagley run before Cates and Stegmen took over, wondering how a few things may have been wrapped up, well well well do I have a book for you ... Venom: First Host! However, if you've moved on and are sticking with whats more current this feels safe to ignore and skip, although not offensive, it doesn't feel worth the investment right now.


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