Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
All images: Marvel Comics

Venom: The End is an early frontrunner for 2020’s wildest superhero comic

In a little less than two trillion years, Venom will become a god. As the last biological life in the universe faces extinction from technological Godminds, Venom’s symbiote will tap into its codex of hosts and create one last hope for survival. Venom: The End is a superhero sci-fi story that realizes the infinite potential of the tongue-slinging lethal protector, who becomes the great preserver of life after the A.I. apocalypse. For its latest crop of The End one-shots, Marvel is telling the final stories of heroes like Carol Danvers, Miles Morales, and Deadpool with creative teams who have different levels of familiarity with the lead characters. Venom: The End is the first Venom story by writer Adam Warren and artist Jeffrey “Chamba” Cruz, and it’s a doozy.

The plot twists and turns wildly as it amps up Venom’s power, but Warren maintains a strong emotional core by foregrounding the symbiote’s affection for his late human host, Eddie Brock. Venom: The End has a lot to offer fans of last year’s House Of X and Powers Of X, which take a similarly expansive look at the long-term conflict between biological and technological organisms. Mutant characters play a significant role in Venom’s power boost, and Warren takes advantage of the vast stable of characters who have bonded with the symbiote in the past to unlock new facets of Venom’s ability in the future.

The story is told entirely through narration, but the visual storytelling keeps the pace up, starting with an opening page that is all about accelerating the momentum with exciting action shots and big pink arrows signifying the rapid trip into the future. The ideas come fast, and the book wastes no time establishing cosmic-level stakes before jumping back to recount how the Marvel Universe reaches this point. The art has the crackling energy of Warren’s own work, and by thumbnailing the layouts himself, Warren maintains a tight grip on the book’s visuals. He taps into Marvel history in inspired ways, like replicating a John Buscema layout from How To Draw Comics The Marvel Way for a conversation between Venom and the Tony Stark A.I. that leads the Godminds.

Chamba’s art with colorist Guru-eFX has a retro digital vibe harkening back to the mid-’90s, and the visuals are often reminiscent of the vibrant digital illustrations found in old video game cutscenes. This creative team leans into the weirdness of a protagonist who is essentially living goo, using Venom’s malleability as both a source of humor and horror as it takes on different forms and tries to find new ways to keep its hosts alive. Venom: The End is a showcase for letterer Clayton Cowles, who maximizes the in-your-face quality of the artwork with big block letters presented from dynamic angles that work with the layout’s perspective. This dramatic incorporation of the lettering contributes to the book’s slick, striking aesthetic, and each member of the art team goes big to ensure the visuals match the scope of the story.

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