Death of the Venomverse #1 Review

Marvel’s “Summer of Symbiotes” ends in Carnage…

For quite some time, the symbiotes have been a very exciting part of the Marvel universe, and it’s been building up to Death of the Venomverse, which picks up threads left by the recent Carnage run by writers Ram V and Alex Paknadel and artists Francesco Manna and Roge Antonio. Written by Cullen Bunn with art by Gerardo Sandoval, Death of the Venomverse is a slasher film within the symbiote sector of Marvel, which is fine, but I wish there was more to it.

Carnage has spent the better part of the past year gathering power, and now he’s using all these new abilities to kill Venoms across the multiverse. It’s a big, loud, heavy metal concept, but the problem is the framing of this story. I’ve been following Carnage as he gathered power, and now he’s the big bad of this book. This should be the loud payoff to the story we’ve been following, not a check-in with multiverse Venoms that I have no basis for. I get the urge to seat the reader with a more straightforward protagonist, but it feels like we hit a bump (Carnage Reigns) and then landed on a totally different street.

However, there’s a lot to like here. It’s fast and cool and there are some outrageously fun eye candy layouts here. Quite a few times, I turned the page and was happily surprised by the inventive structure of the pages. It’s bright and violent, and I love the variety of lettering styles here. Clayton Cowles (the letterer) slithers in and really helps sell the quick slasher pace here. The breeze at which you speed through the pages is absolutely due to the lettering, even when things get cluttered with the various “Agent” symbiote characters towards the latter half of the issue.

The line work throughout the book is excellent and it’s exactly what I want a book like this to look like. The stand-out sequences are the back and forth exchanges where we see what Carange is doing in red stained panels and the Venoms investigating afterwards. The snapping back and forth is visceral and quite the sight to behold. I may not love the plot or the structure of the overall series, but I can’t deny that this creative team is firing on all cylinders. In that sense, it’s a joy to read.

I think this book is better for previous fans of Cullen Bunn’s Venomverse stories, and not someone like me coming in after the most recent Carnage run. Still, there are a lot of things for both kinds of readers to like about the book, and it’s possible there will be more payoff down the road. This series is locked and loaded for a quick-fire release, so we won’t have to wait too long for potential payoff.

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