I’m torn on this issue of ‘Venom’. As a story, there’s really not much here. Venom (Flash Thompson) appeared this week in the pages of ‘Amazing Spider-Man’ #670 where he took down Anti-Venom before handing him over to Reed Richards and his team of scientists so that they could contrive a cure for the spider-mutations that have gripped New York City in the Spider-Island story.

Not much was really shown in Spidey’s title. We saw The Queen tell Venom to take down Anti-Venom and the military commanding Flash to bring Brock in. Then we get a scene where Richard’s team finds Anti-Venom webbed up in their lab. This issue of ‘Venom’ reveals to us what happened in between those scenes. In fact, those scenes are even in this book. Four pages of this issue are exact replicas of what happened in ‘Amazing Spider-Man’. It’s word-for-word with new art from Tom Fowler.

So what happened in between the Spider-Island scenes? Pretty much exactly what you would expect. Venom takes on Anti-Venom. The symbiote tries to bond to Brock before Flash convinces it to come back to him. Venom wins and Anti-Venom is handed over to the scientific authorities.

All things said, none of it really seems to add anything important to Spider-Island or Venom’s solo title. It’s only in the last couple of pages that Venom’s story begins to move forward again when Flash finally heads to the hospital to meet up with his girl Betty and seek to his dying father. This is really sad because I’ve loved Remender’s stories about Venom up to this point. As much as I’m absolutely enjoying Spider-Island, I’ll be glad when it’s over so that Venom’s tale can begin moving again.

The reason I’m so torn when this is obviously a throw-away side story is that Fowler’s inside art is amazing on this title! His chunky style is reminiscent of the horror and war comics of the late 70s and is a perfect fit for the new military agent Venom. Some of the pages in this issue would look brilliant framed and hung on an art house wall. The art extends to the cover where Tony Moore has given us a highly detailed slime-filled cover that I would pick as my second favorite of the week (my first favorite being Moritat’s cover on ‘All-Star Western’ #1).

Should you pick this one up? That depends. If you miss it, you’re not missing much in the way of plot points for Spider-Island. On the other hand if you like great art depicting two spider-symbiotes battling it out, it’ll make for a nice brisk read and give you something pretty to look at.