One of the biggest problems with revering “Legacy” is the potential interpretation that comics were only good in the past. While there are of course some truths to the adage “They don’t make ’em like they used to,” there are also many instances of comics that *couldn’t* have been made decades ago.
Marvel’s relaunch of Venom – technically five months prior to the actaul launch of Marvel Legacy – is a desperate grab at a nostalgia that may have long passed. Since Rick Remender and Tony Moore’s “Agent venom” relaunch of the symbiote suit in 2011, Venom has remained apart from his street-level, brain-eating ways. The Venom of the 2010’s has been a government agent, guardian of the galaxy, and space knight.
So no, if you grew up on Marvel Comics in the late 80’s and 90’s, this is not *your* Venom, but that doesn’t really change the fact that Agent venom was the most interesting take on the character since his introduction.
To me, restoring Venom to this menacing “Lethal Protector” with longtime host Eddie Brock back in black is everything we should reject about the Legacy initiative. There’s no two ways about it, giving Venom a preposterously long tongue drawn by 90’s Spider-Man staple Mark Bagley is not “restoring legacy.” It’s pandering to dated success. It’s like your dad and his friends playing in a Venom cover band and telling neighborhood kids about Dark Side of the Moon (ok, I’m mixing metaphors).
General approach aside, Venom #155 is a horrible place to start reading Venom comics, and says very little about the character’s history. Instead it’s a simple continuation of Mike Costa and Mark Bagley’s run to date, with Venom visiting the literal Sewer Dinosaurs he helped in the book’s first arc as they try to eat the Mole Man’s moloids without sparking all out war.
The best that can be said about Venom #155 is its absolute Marvel Comics insanity, and the worst is that I will never read another issue of this run. Honestly, I’m insanely invested in Marvel continuity, and I simply don’t care where this book is heading.
There are a lot of reasons “Agent Venom” was such a sucess, particularly the connections the series made to Spider-Man and the symbiote’s past while moving the villainous alien forward. Remender didn’t just create another take on anti-hero Venom, he put the suit on a legacy supporting character, and then developed Flash Thompson’s relationship with the symbiote in a way that felt completely unique from anything that came before.
Venom #155 doesn’t suggest any direction, or ask any new questions, or do anything other than look like my favorite action figure when I was a wee lad. Maybe this book can change course, but for now, I just don’t see it.
ESSENTIAL COMICS READING
Venom, Vol. 1 aka “Agent Venom”