Review by Frank Plowright
Venom is an alien symbiote who merges with humans, and gradually subverts them to its needs. An exception was Flash Thompson, Spider-Man’s old buddy, who managed to control the symbiote during a stint with the Guardians of the Galaxy, but back on Earth it left him to seek out its original host, Eddie Brock, a man with fewer moral scruples. Flash, however, wants the symbiote back.
That’s the starting point for Dan Slott and Mike Costa’s plot, which weaves all over the place like a drunken teenager. The writers throw in numerous old villains that you’ve not seen for a long time, pretty well anyone the primary Venom symbiote has bonded with over the years, and it turns out Spider-Man’s not the major heroic figure here. That said, there’s not a lot of variety when you’re dealing with numerous iterations of what are essentially the same limited character.
A further problem is the look. Gerardo Sandoval and Ryan Stegman are two very different artists, so every time there’s a chapter change there’s a sea change in the art. Sandoval works close-up in very stylised hyper-exaggeration, while Stegman is more the traditional superhero artist. Both styles work, with Sandoval’s vast overstatement perhaps appropriate for Venom, but ineffective on others. Notwithstanding that this story originally crossed over between two different series, a single artist would have been a better choice.
Choices are what people are left with at the end. Some have been personally changed, while the status quo for others has been removed. Venom Inc. has its fun moments, but it’s not the story for which Slott’s Spider-Man run will be remembered.