How do you take a well-known character that’s seen better days and make it fresh and exciting again?
Apparently, you put it in the hands of Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman. Over the last few years the duo have done a solid job of making comic readers care about Eddie Brock aka Venom in a way that hasn’t been felt for years now.
While I’ve always been a Spider-Man fan, I wasn’t reading his books when Venom became a thing way back in the ’90s. I knew the character, I knew Eddie’s name, and I knew that Venom was the result of Peter Parker’s symbiote bonding with a new host after being rejected by Pete. And while I know there have been other Venom’s over the decades (Flash Thompson is the name that sticks out to me the most), I’ve never been all that interested in the character.
That changed somewhat when Donny Cates took over the title; Cates is one of those writers who seems to have that innate ability to nail the tone of every character he writes, and he’s impressed readers with his Marvel work. Cates clearly had a vision when he took on the task of writing Venom, and his scope and ambition paid off handsomely with the King in Black storyline. It was a large crossover story that made significant changes to Eddie Brock and the symbiote mythos of Marvel.
In Venom #200, Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman wrap up their Venom journey, and set up lots of great opportunities for the incoming creative team of writers Al Ewing and Ram V, alongside artist Bryan Hitch – we’ll see the new Venom in the form of Eddie Brock’s son, Dylan. There’s a resurrected Flash Thompson to watch out for as well. And we’ll hopefully see how Old Man Eddie deals with his new role as the God of Symbiotes.
One of the things I’m appreciating about the Marvel books that I’m really invested in is that the creative teams have a solid vision that they’re being giving the opportunity to actually see through and deliver. You can see it in the X-Universe as managed by Jonathan Hickman; the same can be said for Al Ewing’s ongoing Immortal Hulk series, and you could see it in Donny Cates vision for Venom. If comics is about the illusion of change, as the late, great Stan Lee once said, these writers have excelled at delivering stories that read like they matter to the characters in question. Kudos to all of them, including Donny Cates, who ends his Venom run on a high note.