Feb 19, 2011

REVIEW: asm 654 & 654.1

The Story: The U.S. Government has chosen Corporal Flash Thompson to serve the military as the next Venom.  After two days of training, he is sent on his first mission.

The Good: Flash - I'll admit that I was skeptical when I first heard Flash was going to be the host, but after reading these first two stories I've grown to like him.  He reminds me a lot of Eddie Brock (wanting to do good with the symbiote, occasionally losing control) with a mix of Peter Parker (cracking jokes, keeping his 'day job' a secret).  'Venom-Out' - After the brief origin story in ASM 654 and making it half way through ASM 654.1 without seeing the Venom I've come to know and love (teeth, tongue, rage) I was scared that this character would never be the same.  So I was more than excited when the symbiote took control and Flash was allowed to 'Venom-Out' (not my favorite expression).

The Bad: The Symbiote - Not really the symbiote itself, but how the writers are handling it.  I did enjoy them using the camouflage feature (an underrated 'talent' the symbiote has) once again, but since when does Venom use webbing?  Spidey beat Venom the first time around because he had used all of his 'webbing' (symbiote) to tie Spidey to the bell and was now weak.  It also seems as though the symbiote no longer has a choice of who it bonds to.  When did it have a chance to accept Flash as a suitable host?  It left Fortunato high and dry because he was not worthy.  Although Flash does have chemicals to help him control the alien, I would think it would get really tired of the 'sonic purge' after every mission.  Pacing - There wasn't much of an origin story.  Unlike the Brock and Gargan Venom's, Flash was Venom after the first two pages of issue 654. He was trained and ready for deployment after five pages.  Then he burned through 2 of his 20 mission limit in 654.1.  I just thought that all of this seemed rushed.  Granted we now have the perfect setup for the ongoing series, but if he is going to have one to two missions an issue we are going to have a new host every year - I'm not cool with that.

The Overall: 3.5 Outta 5.  I am glad that they finally got the symbiote off of Gargan, but I'm still not completely sold on this Black Ops Venom.  I think it could work, if they didn't have so many rules - 20 mission limit, no losing control, no bonding.  I think these two stories did exactly what they were suppose to do; introduce us to Flash as Venom and lay the ground work for the upcoming series.  What are your thoughts after reading these issues?  Are you more or less excited for the ongoing series to start next month?