When Flash Thompson/Venom heard a voice in his head appointing him an Agent of the Cosmos he accepted the position of carrying out missions without question. In Agent of the Cosmos he first acquired a spacecraft and a suicidal robot companion, then gradually built up a series of allies with a grudge against the pirate Mercurio. Unfortunately Mercurio escaped, but Flash now has a fully crewed craft. His problem is the rage of the Venom symbiote, that rage thought to have been discarded, but it’s manifested again. Writer Robbie Thompson ensures there’s no doubt about matters in the opening chapter, and while that’s a surprise, he’s reverting Venom to what we’ve seen over and over again throughout the years.

Originality also departs with Ariel Olivetti’s cultured digital art being replaced by Kim Jacinto’s far less accomplished pencils and inks. He’s fine with locations and the excesses of Venom, but when the requirement is for ordinary looking people the art looks strange (sample page). Gerardo Sandoval is an improvement on the final few chapters, especially when it comes to a rampaging Venom.

We see plenty of that as Thompson seems to be replaying Venom’s familiar hits over the final chapters. There’s a peek into Flash’s tortured psyche and another battle with Spider-Man before the conclusion looks back on someone else who’s hosted a Venom symbiote. It’s messy, and directionless, with the removal of almost everything that made the first volume fun. The supporting cast are still around, but in diminished roles, and the whole exercise seems to have been following instructions to return Flash to Earth. Very disappointing.