Writing - 8.8/10
Art - 8/10
Overall - 8.5/10
Writer: Mike Costa
Pencilers: Mark Bagley, Ron Lim, Paco Diaz
Inkers: Andrew Hennessy, Paco Diaz, Scott Hanna
Colorist: Dono Sanchez-Almara
Letterer: VC Clayton Cowles
Maturity Rating: Teen
Release Date: September 19, 2018
With the series coming to end, the relationships are brought to the forefront of the issue.
Venom: First Host #4
It’s time for the penultimate issue of Venom: First Host. Besides revealing the origin of the symbiote everyone loves, this series has officially introduced a new symbiote; a new suit and new abilities that Eddie has to get accustomed to, all while teaming up with M’Lanz, the Skrull warrior, to stop Tel-Kar and get the Venom symbiote back.
It makes me sad that this series is reaching its end. Mike Costa has taken the relationship between the symbiote and host and made it into a beautiful and sacred bond. Both parties involved truly care for one another. Which makes it understandable why Eddie would chase after Tel-Kar into space: he needs to get his better half back. Eddie does this by teaming up with M’Lanz to stop the Kree from releasing a bio-weapon meant to target Skrulls, and we get to see it in effect.
This issue we also get to see more of the new symbiote, Sleeper. The confidence that Costa gives to the parasite is well placed. As it states in the comic, since infancy it was actually cared for; born on Earth, its parent symbiote cared for it, and it was nurtured by the humans that surrounded it. The rapport between Sleeper and Eddie plays off as a cool uncle figure, as they discuss which is better: the Stones or the Kinks.
The new powers are also really cool: the suit can camouflage itself to near invisibility, and can also secrete pheromones to match the individual that it is targeting. As M’Lanz points out after a demonstration, her biology is different than that of humans. The suit, however, still in its infancy does not present a match for Tel-Kar. So the young spawn has to attempt to appeal to its father for help. Another example of how Costa is bringing heart to these alien parasites.
The work done by Mark Bagley, Paco Diaz, and Ron Lim do blend well together. Not meaning to sound too surprised, but I do tend to get worried seeing multiple names in the art section. But this is not a too-many-cooks scenario. The exterior shots of space have a cosmic feel while the characters are still grounded and expressive; the transitions never come across as jarring. Sleeper’s design is epic; the black and gold make the costume somewhat heroic, instead of the black and white that Venom has which could go either way, hero or villain. The cosmetic choice to give Sleeper a Jonah Hex-style mouth is one I question. The holes seem to open randomly, so the point of them isn’t clear.
Venom: First Host #4 is signaling the end of the series. I’m going to miss this in-depth analysis into the relationships of the symbiotes. Once it’s over I’m sure we will all want more. Especially to see where the characters end up, the role Sleeper will play in the Universe now, and what will happen to Tel-Kar, who could become a serious threat to the life that Eddie has built for himself. Tel-Kar’s understanding of the Klyntars as the first host would make him a formidable nemesis.
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