Graphic Novel Review: Venom: The Abyss

Venom: The Abyss

Venom: The Abyss - Credit: Archant

(Panini Books)

Buried secrets from Eddie Brock's past continue to be unearthed from the graves of memory, as he continues to realise just how much of an influence his alien symbiote has had over his perceptions of yesteryear.

In the wake of his devastating encounter with Knull, which has left the Venom creature brain dead and unresponsive to communication, Eddie finds himself at the mercy of the Maker, the Ultimate Universe's twisted version of Mr Fantastic.

The Maker explains that the only way to restore Venom is to connect it to the symbiote hive mind using its remnants left in the deceased body of former host Flash Thompson, a man Brock considered to be the closest thing to a brother he has ever known, so the desecration of his final resting place is bound to leave a sour taste in his mouth.

During the course of a physically and mentally gruelling interrogation, Eddie also discovers that the symbiote has been proactively deleting his bad memories, so not only were the events of his childhood traumas dramatically different from how he had originally perceived, but he soon realises his father eventually remarried and had a young child named Dylan.

Eventually escaping from his brutal jailer, he realises his restored freedom doesn't bring any sense of salvation, so Brock returns to his family home in San Francisco and a reluctant reunion with his abusive father, where he discovers that blood runs much deeper between him and Dylan than he previously expected…

Effectively given carte blanche with the symbiote and its host, current writer Donny Cates is succeeding in crafting a renaissance for the character which strips away unnecessary baggage, adds multiple layers of newfound depth, and leaves the reader hungry for more. It's a tour de force the likes of which Venom has rarely experienced in his long history, and he comes away all the more entertaining as a result.