I’ve been getting back into comics the last year or so, and I’ve been finding that my tastes have drastically changed in characters and stories in my nearly twenty year absence. As a kid, I loved Marvel comics, and didn’t ever pay attention to DC, now I’m definitely finding more in DC that I enjoy. I used to love Spider-Man and the Avengers, and now when I am reading Marvel stuff it tends to be stuff that isn’t too closely related to any of the MCU films or other Marvel films.
One of the characters that I used to love when I was about 12 or so, was Venom. He was so cool. I’m starting to think he may have been more of a ‘cool’ character, than a ‘good’ character.
I remember reading some of the ‘Venom’ series, and thinking that he was like an edgy broodier version of Spider-Man. I think I thought “Venom is what J. Jonah Jameson thinks Spider-Man is,” which I thought was incredibly cool. At this same time in my life, I was also collecting all the ‘alternatives’ that were coming out like A-Next which was the next generation Avengers, and J² which was Juggernaut’s son. I think I had crappy taste at the time. But Venom was a bad-ass, and I was convinced that was amazing.
Then, Spider-Man 3 was coming out, and it was announced that they’d be doing Venom as one of the villains, I was ecstatic. Even when they announced it was Topher Grace, who seemed so unlike Eddie Brock, but they explained that he was supposed to be Spider-Man’s mirror, so they sold me on it. Then I saw the movie and thought “oh they really fucked that up.” It was definitely the portrayal of the character, and not the character itself right?
So a couple months ago, the trailer for the new Venom movie was released, and I have to be honest, I think it looks like garbage. I like every single person in it (especially Jenny Slate) but the way she pronounces symbiote (Sim BY Oat) is obnoxious, and I’m sure this will be like when people were telling me that the correct way to pronounce Smaug was with each and every single vowel present, and I was like “it may be right, but it’s still annoying.” So there was strike one. Strike two is that the actual Venom suit/skin looks horrendous. Don’t get me wrong, it looks just like in the comics, but it looks awful when juxtaposed with non-animated characters. There isn’t a strike three yet. So hopefully, I’m wrong.
Then lastly, I started reading the Venom vs. Carnage trade paperback, and after a few pages of “I’m your father, you have to listen to me,” and “Perhaps if my host had any regard for his family, I’d respect you dear old daddy” a lightbulb went off in my head. What if Venom sucks? What if it isn’t that the character hasn’t been portrayed right, but what if it’s that the character isn’t good, or perhaps he’s only situationally good, like in small doses, when paired with the right characters?
Paul has talked a few times in articles and in the podcast about characters like Wolverine being best served in small doses, because they’re cool, and there is a tendency to over do them. Maybe that’s Venom’s problem. Or maybe unlike Wolverine who is cool, and has a great arc/background, Venom is just cool, and not ‘good’.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ll go see the Venom film and I’m going to finish reading this book, but I’m not sure anymore about Venom.
What do you think of Venom? Is he just cool? Am I missing some incredible story that does his character the most justice possible? Let me know in the comments below.
written by Michael Cole