They called it project rebirth 2.0, we call it Venom 2011 or Rick Remender’s Venom, yet the bonding of the symbiote to Corporal “Flash” Eugene Thompson represents more than just rebirth it is the initiative of marvel to reinvent and redefine the character for a new generation. It marks a new era in the Spiderverse. For the first time ever since his debut in 1963 as the egotistical bully of Peter Parker, Flash Thompson finally has his own series, and not a limited either. As for the symbiote, well we all know by now what its capable of, and if looking at it’s previous hosts is any indication the outcome doesn’t seem too positive.
After the symbiote was stripped from long time Spidey foe, Mac Gargan, we all wondered where ( or who ) it would bond to next. Flash being an unlikely candidate due to his recent amputations, benefited perhaps the most from merging with the alien as he was imbued with a not only a set of legs, but all the amazing spider powers he could ever dream of and more.
Now Venom: Flashpoint gives us this wonderful look back to the beginning, as it reprints the prelude to Spider-Man 654.1, 254.1 itself, and Venom # 1. With all the covers including the # 1 variant and even # 2, this is a nice collection in one bound copy for only $ 5.
Looking back, some things that stand out are, the fact that the previous un-named soldier who wore the suit, couldn’t control it, and was detonated by the government, and that, Flash only has 20 missions and is allowed approximately 48 hours in the suit, before they press the kill switch.
CastNow, any story wouldn’t be complete without it’s share of supporting characters and of course this series has several. New original characters are neatly introduced from head to toe including rank, such as the project leader General Dodge and his canine associate Sampson, Mackenzie the science guy, and Captain Katherine Glover Special Forces voice of command.
In my opinion the best art work you’ll find in this, is in the prelude by Paulo Siqueira & Ronan Olivera. The rest is drastically different and less refined for my taste, with work from Humberto Ramos and Tony Moore. Yet the coloring by Crimelab! Studios for issue #1, is what really spoils the art for me. Joe Quesada provides a lovely cover to #1 and Siqueira delivers two excellent but entirely misleading covers for Venom # 1 Variant, and Amazing Spider-Man 254.1. I still can’t get over why Spider-Man even appears on that cover. The Overall front cover is a great copy / paste from what I believe was part of a panel from Venom # 4.
Part Black Ops, part James Bond, Venom reads like a Jason Bourne novel, with less politics and more monsters. There’s also the mellow drama of his everyday life and failing relationships thrown in for good measure. Overall Dan Slott writes a great introduction and 1st run, followed by Remender digging into the details and inserting villains / drama. Together they really get the ball rolling, but was it enough to weaken the flames of fan outrage, when they realized their favorite Spidey villain / McFarlane creation, was getting a complete makeover, as a rip-off of Deadpool / Punisher? (No, at least not in my book.)
Only time will tell just how permanent or temporary this becomes, but my guess is that fans will clamor for more and more of the old brain eating, acid spewing, body builder physique Venom, which is probably opposite to what the creative team has in mind.