Now that ‘Circle of Four’ is at an end, Flash Thompson (aka Venom) has to deal with the fallout of his decision to go AWOL from the US Government and to pick up the broken pieces of his personal life.

As the issue opens, Flash’s teammates in the Secret Avengers are discussing what to do with him in the wake of his recent history. Captain America says that you should never trust the symbiote. In Flash’s defense, Beast and Hank Pym discuss the idea that they could come up with a way to keep the symbiote dormant and unable to bond with Flash (even though it’s already too late for that… but the Avengers don’t know this). Eventually, Capt. America comes around and welcomes Venom back into the team.

Meanwhile, ex-Venom Eddie Brock has gone all Punisher and is hunting and killing other symbiotes. It’s a quest that he began while he was Anti-Venom. Now that his “healing” powers are gone (see my reviews of Spider-Island for the whole story), he’s taking a more practical approach that involves disabling the symbiotes and killing both the aliens and their hosts.

Back in his non-Avengers life, Flash is attempting to fix the mess he’s made of things since his father’s death. Flash meets his old pal Peter Parker but, before he can clear things up with Pete, Flash gets a call from his sister and rushes to his mother’s house. Flash even tries to touch base with his ex-girlfriend Betty. But, as the issue closes, things are just as broken (if not moreso) than they were before Flash started trying to fix things.

Now, with Flash hiding his bonding with the symbiote, his devastated personal life, and his working so closely with fellow Avenger Spider-Man, the Venom symbiote is a ticking time bomb that is sure to take down some of Flash’s friends when it explodes.

Rick Remender continues to deliver a Venom that I am absolute enamored with. I liked Venom as a villain back in his Todd McFarlane days but, when he started becoming an anti-hero and spawning all the other symbiotes, I started to despise the character. Now, with Flash being a real hero and Brock killing off symbiotes, Remender is readjusting the Venom paradigm into a much better spot and one that is ripe for a ton of great stories.

This issue, since it’s an interlude between one huge story and what’s sure to come next, is a great jumping-on spot for new ‘Venom’ readers. So, if you’ve been curious about the gun-toting military Venom, now’s your chance to get on board.

Verdict: Buy