Venom 22 – Flash Thompson’s catharsis

I feel I should leave it but I also feel it needs to be said. I have neglected Rick Remender’s work on Venom mainly because I have never been interested in Venom. I picked it up this week and realised that I have been missing out. Ive blogged about Remenders work and how much I love it and its too late. This was his final Venom issue and it was brilliant. Not only can he do team books well but his solo hero stories have depth and character. I will not be able to do the title justice but I need to tell you about it.

Flash Thompson is an amputee from his time in the armed forces and he has substance abuse issues together with a violent family upbringing. He has been combined with the symbiont and is now the new Venom. This arc has focused upon his father issues in contrast with Jack O’Lanterns father who Venom killed. The issue flashbacks to Flash’s childhood whilst Venom runs across the city pursuing his target. The flashbacks show classic abusive father circumstances and a particularly poignant one regarding his father being confrontational to a the father of a bully to Flash. Brilliant reversal of emotion as Flash looks like the bully because of his Dad. Venom’s monologue is fantastically written and reveals his coping strategies and justification of his father’s actions. He is a man constantly in pain.

The art by Declan Shalvey is simple and effective. There is no excessive background details only the character and their interactions. The colouring plays a large part of making the flashback scenes separate from the main plot. It works very well and the angry Dad scenes are particularly emotional, especially the physical beatings. The shots of venom traversing the rooftops are gorgeous, especially while being complemented by flashbacks and make them appear almost ethereal. Ultimately the main plot takes second stage to the inner turmoils of both antagonist and protagonist. Flash moves on no matter the past. Beautiful work.

Fantastic 10/10

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