Written by Rick Remender
Art by Tony Moore
Review by Bobby Shortle
Venom: Circle of Four has been both, a fantastic way for a new reader to jump into the story of everybody’s favorite symbiote, and a great roadmap for how to do an event that doesn’t overtake the entire comic universe. The idea of releasing a five part series every week for a month + has lead to a feeling of investment that is often lost, when these kind of stories are spread thin across many months. The first four parts, while not flawless, have been well crafted tales of some great dark Marvel characters. That is why it’s disappointing to say that writer Rick Remender and co. don’t nail the landing quite as well as I would have liked.
The main issue with Venom #14, is that it takes all the great build up of the past month and ties it up too neatly and too quickly. We’ve watched as these characters are dominated and destroyed when they try to use their usual means of battle and then we watched them literally climb out of Hell to save the world. So, you would think this would mean they would use these trials and tribulations to learn something, but instead their victory is achieved by old fashioned fisticuffs. Sorry, not just fisticuffs, they also come into possession of a “win button” which conveniently destroys their greatest adversary in less than a page. I find this type of conclusion to be sloppy and a story of this caliber deserves better.
The fact that the ending is so bad is a real shame, because all the action leading up to it is quite good. I enjoyed the clever take that Remender had on the behavior of the symbiote suit and it was fascinating to see the way that magic effects our heroes, and their more scientific powers. There is also something to be said for the way these over the top characters have endeared themselves to me. I’m genuinely excited to see the future stories of Flash Thompson as Venom and am increasingly curious about Thunderbolt Ross’s Red Hulk. I shouldn’t finish this review without mentioning Tony Moore’s art, which continues to straddle the line between 90’s craziness and modern design perfectly.
Maybe I’m being too harsh on the book. Maybe it’s unfair to presume that one issue can satisfyingly wrap up a whole mini series worth of story. Maybe, but I don’t think so. There was plenty of room in this issue to give us a satisfying conclusion to this great story. But, like a politician who stops governing and starts campaigning a year into office, Remender has more interest in setting up his next arc than finishing off his last. If you’ve been reading along thus far you owe it to yourself to see how the story ends, but don’t be surprised if you are left feeling as hollow as the Spirit of Vengeance.