* * C
“Venom: Dark Origin” collects Zeb Wells’s five part origin story for Venom. I’m a fan of Venom. I like the idea of human/alien symbiosis. For example, star pilot Granger in Brian Stableford’s Hooded Swan books has a very cool relationship with his symbiote. I hadn’t seen an origin story for Venom, so I thought I’d give the book a try. Unfortunately, I found it mediocre at best.
The first chapter covers Eddie Brock’s childhood and college years, showing how he has always wanted to be important, and culminates with a visit from Spiderman. The second chapter tells the story of his rise from intern to reporter as he covers a serial killer. Chapter three deals with Eddie’s infection by the symbiote, and is dull.
Chapter four finally lifts the book out of the dolldrums. It begins with a brief story involving the symbiote surviving on a hostile alien planet, and ends with Venom attacking Mary Jane. In the fifth chapter, Venom battles Spiderman, predictably loses, and is trapped. Presumably, you are intended to wonder where the story will go next, and where Venom’s cage is.
I found Eddie’s origin story uninsipiring. Rather than being a good but flawed man who turns to evil, he is portrayed as weak, petty, and power hungry from the get go. The symbiote’s back story is good, but too short by far. It should have been interleaved in the first three issues. Finally, Eddie’s blaming all of his problems on Spiderman seems irrational, and is not well motivated. All in all, this book has little new to say about Venom.