Spider-Man Vol. 2: Venomous

Spider-Man Vol. 2: Venomous
Spider-Man Venomous review
  • North American Publisher / ISBN: Marvel Knights - 0-7851-1675-3
  • Volume No.: 2
  • Release date: 2005
  • UPC: 9780785116752
  • Contains adult content?: no
  • Does this pass the Bechdel test?: no
  • Positive minority portrayal?: no
  • CATEGORIES: Superhero

Venomous presents the middle four chapters of Mark Millar and Terry Dodson’s twelve part twist on the perpetual battle between Spider-Man and Norman Osborn, the Green Goblin. Down Among the Dead Men revealed the imprisoned Osborn shared his knowledge of Spider-Man being Peter Parker. It resulted in Aunt May’s abduction, Spider-Man was badly injured, and a photograph of him was taken without his mask and offered to the Daily Bugle’s gadfly publisher J. Jonah Jameson.

As Peter Parker’s astonishing powers of recuperation pull him back from death’s door, many disparate strands slowly knit together in ‘Venomous’ (with additional art from Frank Cho). Deadly psychopath Eddie Brock returns to the Big Apple intent on auctioning off the alien Symbiote that enabled him to be a bigger, stronger, deadlier web-spinner.

Due to financial reversals Peter and Mary Jane are on the verge of bankruptcy, but young Mrs. Parker has bigger worries. Even with the ever-present threat to her life from May’s mysterious abductor, all she can think about is how much better-suited Black Cat Felicia Hardy is to a life with Spider-Man.

At least the photos of the arachnid hero in his hospital bed prove to be a huge flop since Peter’s face was so badly beaten as to be unrecognisable. However now the Daily Bugle is offering a $5 million reward to anyone who can positively identify the wall-crawler.

Venom isn’t the only super-villain problem. Doctor Octopus goes on a strangely mindless rampage, although Spider-Man suspects that someone has brainwashed his arch-enemy, but after the madman is finally subdued the police SWAT teams abruptly turn on the web-spinner, in a concerted effort to win the Bugle’s bounty.

Jameson meanwhile is plagued by a host of crazies claiming the reward with every stupid stunt imaginable, and another clandestine meeting with the incarcerated Osborn only makes Spider-Man more scared and desperate. With nothing left to lose, the arachnid visits the X-Men where their resident telepath Rachel Summers psi-scans for the missing widow and, unable to detect her, comes to the chilling conclusion that she must be dead.

This is no saggy middle section. It’s beautifully illustrated and so smartly written that any new or long-lost reader can extract the maximum enjoyment with the minimum confusion. Millar and Dodson end their saga in The Last Stand, or Spider-Man by Mark Millar: The Ultimate Collection contains the entire story.