Graphic Novel Review: Venom: Rex

Venom: Rex

Venom: Rex - Credit: Archant

Secrets of the symbiotes revealed...

(Panini Books)

Almost everything you knew about the Venom symbiote is wrong.

That is the ret-concept at the heart of this latest series relaunch, which builds on existing information about the creature known as Venom and then spins it in a completely new direction.

First and foremost comes the revelation that symbiotes came to Earth centuries before Spider-Man returned from the first Secret Wars wearing a new black and white costume which later turned out to be intelligent. Not only did they face the legendary hero Beowulf in 700AD, but were used by a crack team of soldiers during the Vietnam War.

Meanwhile current Venom host Eddie Brock appears to be losing control of his symbiote, which starts speaking in a strange alien language and sprouting red veins.

Subdued and abducted by the mysterious Rex Strickland, himself the only survivor of the Vietnam symbiotes project, Eddie learns the hidden secrets behind the alien Klyntar, and the ancient and primordial evil which once controlled them.

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This deadly deity is known as Knull, Lord of the Abyss and God of the Symbiotes, and he is coming back…

Following in the wake of the recent Venomized epic, which saw Eddie leading Earth’s heroes in tackling a planet-wide threat, this is a much more focused narrative, albeit with an adversary of similar scope.

Writer-artist team Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman have kicked off their Venom run in spectacular fashion, establishing a new history for the symbiotes which doesn’t contradict anything we’ve known previously, while bringing a rich depth to the aliens it might be argued was long overdue.

An exciting new era, which should continue Venom’s recent ascendance to a top tier Marvel character, it proves that the right amount of change can sometimes be a good thing.