Previously on Venom, we’ve seen Flash Thompson become the host of the Venom symbiote. Fortunately for Flash, he is using a special serum it keeps the alien at bay instead of it being a true symbiosis and being taken over as a host. We’ve seen flashes of the sybmiote exert control as well as it defending Flash in a ‘muscle memory’ reflex on it’s on. Just how well it truly is under control we’re going to see.

This issue #32 of Venom is a great jumping in point on the comic if you were looking to pick it up. The last story arc has just come to a close and while there may be a few plot points that will carry over for the most part this is a fresh start in the life of Flash.

He’s moved from New York to Philadelphia and is cut off from most of his friends. Each person he could talks to has a reason to not. From his current flame Valkerye not owning a phone, to Peter (Doc Ock) Parker suddenly not returning his calls. We see Flash alone and restarting his life.

We also get to see that his new day job involves being an assistant coach at the local high school. First, he sees how he used to treat others when a Jock picks on other students. We also see a young girl named Andi whose a gothy punky girl that lives in his building. Alone she was fine but in a school setting she clearly has no interest in talking to him. Being too young to be a love interest for Flash I’m curious as to where they are going to grow her character since she’s clearly going to be a reoccurring one.

At night we see Flash taking on the role we would usually see Spider-Man as. He’s on patrol, swinging through the city and looking for wrongs to right. He really is living in the shoes of his once role model and this clearly is what is making him happy and keeping him going. This is also where the artwork on the comic really stands out as while regular interactions are well done the scenes with Venom are outstanding.

It’s not just Venom though as we transition to a powered Frankenstein mad-science inspired villain who appears to need to eat people to feed whatever it is implanted on his back. When he faces a room full of people he’s kidnapped to turn into food they are all quickly saved as Flash barges in and ushers them out the door.

The fight between the two is over before you know it as the monster escapes. He really feels more like a gimmick by the end of the issue though as Venom is annoyed that he saved people but let the monster get away. The monster though? Not so lucky. At the end of the issue he confronts a bum in an alley and bum that just happens to be Eddie Brock who is now bonded with the Toxin symbiote and looking to track Venom down whose smell is all over this unlucky creature.

As I said it’s a good transitional issue between story arc and a great jumping in point for new readers. Past that though it felt like a quick read that probably won’t be picked up again.

Writer: Cullen Bunn
Artist: Declan Shalvey