Graphic Novel Review: Venom: Land Before Crime, Edge of Venomverse

Edge of Venomverse

Edge of Venomverse - Credit: Archant

The return of Eddie Brock...

Venom: Land Before Crime

Venom: Land Before Crime - Credit: Archant

(Panini Books)

Eddie Brock is back in the symbiote suit, and it’s like he’s never been away.

Re-numbered as part of the Marvel Legacy relaunch, the “new” Venom series shifts to issue #150 in what is presented as an ongoing saga of the alien costume dating back to his earliest solo appearances, including the recent space-faring run starring Flash Thompson in the role.

Undoubtedly one of the few truly great Marvel creations of the 1980s, Venom’s greatest popularity was undoubtedly during the following decade, when he starred in numerous mini-series in the anti-heroic role of “lethal protector”. It is that era which this new series is harking back to, but to begin with Eddie finds himself at odds with the direction of the symbiote after it displays increasingly violent tendencies, forcing him to seek advice from the scientists of dodgy bio-tech firm Alchemax.

Tasked by company boss Liz Allen with tracking down rogue supervillain Stegron, who has been mutating the inhabitants of Manhattan’s sewers into dinosaurs, Venom teams up with the young Inhuman Moon Girl to help her discover what has happened to her friend Devil Dinosaur, and ultimately establishes a new role as Alchemax’s black ops agent in exchange for drugs which will keep his alien partner in check.

Writer Mike Costa has distilled everything which made Venom such a great character to begin with, and cast aside the corrupted detritus imposed over the decades, ending up with a return to form which will hopefully restore the character to his rightful position as one of Marvel’s leading lights.

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This restored faith in the symbiote is perhaps the reason behind the major crossover series Venomverse, which takes its cue from the multiverse-spanning epic Spider-Verse. The Edge of… book sets things up by introducing assorted hosts of the suit across a variety of alternative dimensions, including Old Man Logan, Gwenpool, X-23, Ghost Rider, Deadpool and Captain America.

The exact nature of the threat which drives “Captain Venom” to recruit symbiotes from across parallel Earths is not explained, with the focus in this series specifically on the individual hosts and the events which led them to take on the mantle of Venom. In that respect, it follows the template of the Edge of Spider-Verse series, but hopefully that doesn’t mean the main title will merely be a rehash of the earlier Spidey saga.

Whether we are witnessing the start of the second golden age of Venom remains to be seen, but the signs are looking good.