This week Eddie Brock is back as Venom and looking for revenge, and Batgirl faces off with the Penguin’s son!
Venom #150 (Marvel Comics)
Now that Eddie Brock is back in the symbiote, it’s time for a super sized special. With Venom reaching 150 issues thanks to Marvel’s method of renumbering series but still counting them so long as they can charge an extra couple bucks when the time is right, the Mike Costa and Gerardo Sandoval series is poised to finally get on track after a few aimless opening issues. Ever since it was revealed that Eddie Brock would be returning as Venom, it seemed like the entire book just kind of came to halt. We all knew that Eddie Brock was coming back, so paying any attention on the new guy seemed like a waste of time.
With Brock back in control of the symbiote, Mike Costa’s script is invigorated with awesome throwback fun that will instantly appeal to readers who remember Venom’s 90’s anti-hero heyday. Much of the main story is just Eddie Brock reacclimating himself to the symbiote, and going out on a patrol that brings him into conflict with Mac Gargan, who’s back as the Scorpion and looking to settle a score. It’s not the most Earth shattering of plots, but it serves as a great way to set the stage for this (other) new direction for the character.
While Gerardo Sandoval typically handles the art duties for Venom, the main story is handled by The Strange Talent of Luther Strode’s Tradd Moore. While I’ve enjoyed Sandoval’s art on the title, Moore blows him out of the water with this issue. The exaggerated anatomy and crazy action that are Moore’s trademarks are perfectly suited here. You’ll be salivating over his take on Eddie Brock’s transformations into Venom. There’s not a bad panel in sight from Moore, and he’s so good that you’ll wish he would stay on for more than this one issue.
Venom #150 features two additional back up stories, and while only one of them is necessary, they’re both really fun and reflect on the character’s history. Even better, this comic will cost you only an additional $2, as opposed to the usual $10 “special issues” that Marvel has been pumping out lately (looking at you, Deadpool). For lapsed fans or new ones, Venom #150 is a worthy purchase.
Batgirl #11 (DC Comics)
It seems like Batgirl has been on the sidelines for much of DC’s Rebirth line. She hasn’t featured prominently in Batman, Detective Comics, or All Star Batman, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t big things happening in Barbara Gordon’s corner of the DC universe. With the finale of the “Son of the Penguin” storyline, Hope Larson and Chris Wildgoose bring us another solid issue for Babs.
With the Penguin’s son Ethan moving forward with his plan to kill his father, Barbara Gordon is at a crossroads. Does she let him kill The Penguin, or protect him? You can probably guess what option Babs takes, and while it would’ve been interesting to have a little more inner conflict, the issue needs to wrap things up, so it’s not all that surprising that Barbara Gordon ends up protecting Penguin. The final battle between Batgirl and Ethan is also a bit of a let down, but Hope Larson’s script does have some pretty excellent dialogue (even though some of it seems like it will be dated in about 2 years).
Chris Wildgoose’s art is perfectly suited for a book like Batgirl. His style is the right mix of cartoony and realistic, and he really excels at making Batgirl move with the style and grace that you’d expect from someone who’s been trained by Batman would. The one negative about Wildgoose’s art is that some of the characters tend to look the same at times, which can lead to some confusion if you’re not paying attention.
Batgirl’s “Son of Penguin” storyline started off pretty compelling, but ended up being over a little too quickly. That being said, it’s still a solid storyline that shows how great a character Barbara Gordon is, and is a great comic for the younger readers in your lives. As long as Batgirl stays consistent, it’ll remain one of the better sleeper hit books in DC’s stable.