Ladies and gentlemen, I have been away from reviewing comics for far too long. I think it is high time that I made my triumphant return, and what better way to do that than with one of my favorite Marvel character’s return to his own solo title. My friends, this is Venom Space Knight.

Much has happened with Flash Thompson, a.k.a. Venom since his solo title ended in 2013. He went into space, joined up with the Guardians of the Galaxy, had his symbiote purified on its home planet and is now an agent of the cosmos, dedicated to defending the innocent. (Summary and spoilers below the cut.)

Summary of “Venom Space Knight #1”

We open this issue (written by Robbie Thompson) with Venom running from some gunfire during an apparently botched operation. While flustered, Flash remains focused by comparing his predicament to his football days. Thinking quickly, Venom escapes the horrific tentacled space monster chasing him, webslings away from some armed gunmen and crashes into an office building where he borrows the computer of a friendly Owl-Woman to gather intel on his mission.

His mission, as it turns out, is to recover a chemical weapon from a space pirate. Thinking quickly, Venom attaches himself to the side of the ship as it blasts off, and, using the symbiotes power, finds his way inside. Once on board the ship, Venom encounters a suicidal robot who, in exchange for his own destruction, agrees to aid Venom in finding the chemical weapon. The robot, 803, shows Venom the source of the weapon, the blood of a small group of alien women and children. Knowing that children are being enslaves prompts Flash to give what is my favorite line of dialogue in the issue. “The suit I’m wearing, it was purged of all it’s rage, but I wasn’t.”

Pissed off beyond belief at the pirate’s cruelty, Venom storms the bridge eliminating all pirates, save for the captain, who hits Venom with a sonic weapon separating the symbiote from Flash. However, Flash, knowing that sound doesn’t travel in a vacuum, opens the airlock and saves the children, and his new robot buddy. The captain on the other had gets unceremoniously eaten by giant space piranhas.

Our issue ends with Venom dropping the aliens off at their home planet and recruiting 803 as his sidekick. Everything is coming up Venom, until he finds himself face to face with a warship big enough to make Spaceball-One blush right outside the planet’s orbit.

What Works

The artwork (by Ariel Olivetti) in this series is beautiful. It shoots for a pseudo realistic character design, despite the majority of the characters being alien creatures. While I preferred the old design of Flash as Venom, this new one opts for a compromise between that design and the classic. It has the stature of classic Venom without any of the monstrous features, i.e. sharp teeth, forked tongue etc. It works.

The action is also good; Venom shows that he is a smart and strategic thinker, attributed to his background as both an athlete and as a soldier, but is also not above brute force when it’s necessary.

803 is a welcome addition to the group, and in most likely an homage to Marvin, the chronically depressed robot from “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to The Galaxy,” which, as a fan of that book, I appreciate.

Finally there’s the ending, which works as both an effective dramatic cliffhanger and a humorous punch-line to a good set up.

What Doesn’t Work

The villains are pretty generic and save for the captain with the sound gun, do not present a significant enough threat, and even he’s taken out with relative ease. I think these guys are meant to be cannon fodder to establish our hero as a badass, and while it does work, I think the pirates, as well as their evil plans, could have stood to be a bit more fleshed out.

Rating: 4/5 Stars

I think the one thing that keeps this issue from getting a perfect score is the fact that, aside from the acquisition of 803, this particular adventure feels like it will ultimately be inconsequential to the ongoing story. Only time will tell mind you, but it’s clear that the big warship is going to be the real ongoing threat, and it’s only revealed at the tail end. Mind you, this is all speculation and I could be proven wrong.

My point is, our story has yet to fully take shape and until it does, things that could have significance later on will seem inconsequential. However, I am still labeling this a strong first issue and a series more than worth your time.

Have you read this issue? Let me know what you thought of Marvel’s “Venom Space Knight #1” in the comments below.

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