In ‘Venom’ #8, Agent Venom played a key role in the events leading to the resolution of ‘Spider-Island’. In doing so, Venom (aka Flash Thompson) missed out on being where he should have been in his civilian life. His father had just died of liver failure and Flash left his girlfriend, Betty, alone in the hospital as he rushed off to save the day. This issue, Flash is attempting to pick up the pieces of his personal life while wrestling with his growing addiction to the Venom symbiote.

On his way to see Betty, Flash is delayed when he happens across a villain called the Hijacker. Hijacker, in his nuclear-powered tank has been on a bank-robbing spree and he’s in the midst of another when Venom appears. When Venom attempts to stop Hijacker, the villain panics and flees with his tank into the streets of New York City. When Hijacker accidentally harms some innocent bystanders, Flash’s built-up rage and frustration get the better of him and he loses control of the Venom symbiote.

In the aftermath of his showdown with the Hijacker, Flash finally makes it to Betty. He gives her yet another lame excuse for why he had to leave her at the most inopportune time and she reads to Flash the last letter that his father wrote.

Now that Spider-Island is over, Venom is finally free to move into his own as a character and I am overjoyed. In the first few issues of this series, writer Rick Remender delivered some great tales that made me really enjoy Flash and his complicated relationship with the Venom alien. Then, throughout Spider-Island, this series became a series of asides that could’ve been ignored if you were reading the main storyline over in ‘Amazing Spider-Man’. I can’t wait to see where Remender goes now that Venom’s story is now back in his hands. I hope to see some new villains and some more tales about Flash’s decent into addiction and anger as the symbiote preys on his weaknesses.

Art duties this issue have been picked up by Stefano Caselli. Over the past few issues, one of the highlights was Tom Fowler’s scratchy 70s-style artwork. Caselli’s pencils may not be as thick and grungy as Fowler’s but they still provide a retro feel that works extremely well will the new dark military vibe of the new Venom. And, while it’s not Caselli’s artwork, take a look at that cover! ‘Venom’ #9 gets my pick for best cover of my pulls this week. The split Agent Venom/symbiote face is a perfect tease for what happens within this month’s pages.

Be back in thirty when I review ‘Venom’ #10 and we find out where Venom goes post Spider-Island!

Verdict: Buy