Title: Venom: Lethal Protector.
Writer(s): David Michelinie.
Illustrator(s): Mark Bagley & Ron Lim.
Colourist(s): Marie Javins.
Release Date: February 13th 2018 (first published July 1995).
Genre(s): Comics, Science-Fiction.
My Overall Rating: ★★★★☆.
If there’s one foe that comes to mind when you think about Spider-Man, it’s Venom. With his symbiote that allows him to take on a form similar to Spider-Man’s costume but with a much darker, sharper and deadlier edge, Venom has always been seen as an adversary that you simply did not want to go up against unless you were looking to meet Death far sooner than intended. Although the character saw its first live-action adaptation in Spider-Man 3, its reception was far from being as positive as it was for the Green Goblin. It’s only in 2018 that Venom receives its first live-action solo movie in Sony’s Universe of Marvel Characters, although it excludes our favourite friendly neighbourhood webslinger as a quintessential part of Venom’s origin story. With controversy accumulating with each appearance, it is at least a consolation to know that the latest live-action movie gives us a splendid CGI representation of the creepy villain. But the big surprise regarding Venom is that he isn’t just a psychopathic killer like his much more evil counterpart, Carnage. Venom is so much more.
Venom: Lethal Protector is a six-issue comic book limited series that follows Eddie Brock, also known as Venom, as he showcases the world that he can also be a hero. Struggling to belong anywhere in San Francisco and to anyone, Eddie Brock finds himself struggling with his place in the world as the population views him as a menace to society. It’s in his latest actions that he looks to protect the innocent, but things aren’t as easy as he wishes it to be when countless enemies look to put an end to Eddie Brock and Venom. In Lethal Protector, David Michelinie exposes our alien symbiote in a brand-new light that will challenge Spider-Man into acknowledging that the murderous Venom can change and keep his word. As the story explores Eddie Brock and Venom’s internal relationship, weaknesses and strengths, fans can rejoice in some of the most goofy dialogues and colourful action sequences in this classic story arc.
With this story arc marking Eddie Brock’s first apperance as the main character, David Michelinie offers quite the ride with Venom going from a villain to an anti-hero. His conflicted self trying to find a place he could call home and his new desire to help the innocent who are abused by those who are wealthy, powerful or strong, turns Venom into an unexpectedly zany character that can be quite hard to recognize at first but quickly grows on you. If you thought Spider-Man was the only character that would throw punches as well as punchlines as he effortlessly brings down his rivals within seconds, think again. Eddie Brock and Venom showcases quite a collection of snappy and corny lines to whip you around with. It’s even more funny to go through since they always speak to each other, considering that the alien symbiote has a personality of its own and is in constant interaction with Eddie Brock; the dialogue doesn’t however make it easy for the reader to know who is talking to who. But once you do accustom yourself to their interaction with themselves and with the world, you’ll grow to love the character’s insane and well-intentioned self.
It is however important to mention that it is a story arc that can get very over the top yet so amusing at the same time. While it may be expected from some comic book stories from the 90s, this one is no exception in its ability to jump from one plot twist to another in a spectacular fashion. In fact, each issue ends on a cliffhanger that introduces a new threat that no one will see coming. To top it off, even the dialogue has a tone that is typical of the era, from self-description of their actions to self-announcing their superhero or supervillain names out loud, you will be constantly reminded that this is a comic book story from an era that strives in its ability to be vibrant, eccentric and action-packed. The artwork is also iconic of its generation and often focuses on dramatic moments, whether it’s action sequences or facial expressions. The colour palette is also mainly primary colours and a heavy usage of the whole array at the colourist’s disposition. While Venom might be a deadly creature, the story arc is still exploding with colours as bright as the sun.
Venom: Lethal Protector is the idiosyncratic transformation of an iconic villain into an anti-hero through colourful and frenzied showdowns.
Did you know Venom (2018) is partially based on the Venom: Lethal Protector story arc? While a lot of viewers have ridiculed the movie, it has managed to set records in the box office as well! I personally had a good time watching this in theater! Did you see it?