Spider-Man: Birth of Venom

Spider-Man: Birth of Venom

by Tom DeFalco

Collects Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #252-259, #300 and #315-317, Web Of Spider-Man (1985) #1 and material from Secret Wars #8, Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #298-299, Fantastic Four #274, Amazing Spider-Man Annual #25.The Beyonder's Battleworld might seem a strange place to get new threads, but it's Spider-Man who becomes unraveled when his shape-changing costume attempts to darken his life as well as his fashion sense!

Mary Jane Watson's startling secret!

Guest-starring the Black Cat, the Fantastic Four and more!

What People Think about "Spider-Man: Birth of Venom"

Peter as Spider-man in black suit fights organized mafia, Jack O'Lantern (The Pumpkin head man), a resurrected Hobgoblin and Mind-controlled shape-shifting apes (No, I DID NOT just make that up). Characterization of Puma and the fight between him and Spidy was the high point of this collection. At halfway point of this 300+ pages collection, Peter finds the truth about his black suit with the help of fantastic four.

So much about comics and the way they're published has changed since these originally were printed, that their nuances and writing techniques can be bothersome to modern readers. Which is also sad because the story here is pretty dang entertaining. The main problem with Birth of Venom is that when it was originally written, collected editions of every issue of every comic series weren't made. This probably wasn't a problem back in the 80's, but when you're reading each issue back to back in a collection like this, the technique becomes incredibly annoying.

do not know to what extent this collection exemplifies superhero comics, multiple storylines, many nearly indestructible villains, comic book science as serves fantasy not logic, lots of explanatory monologues, identifiable, essential, consistent psychology... but then i have to think of the likely readers at least of superheroes comics, kids at least at first, then getting more adult over the years. i like the stories as they certainly sound like classical mythology, i read the synopses of things that happen but not shown then think of how fun it would be to just drop them out... on the other, maybe i will just watch the films, listen to riley, rather than look at more superhero comics...

Only later into the graphic novel do we finally see the separation of the symbiote and Spider-Man, which leads into the origin of Venom. I really liked these alien costume Spider-Man stories, but wasn't this a Venom collection? We expected Venom all along, and to treat his first appearance as some sort of unexpected arrival in Spider-Man's story doesn't work well in the context of this graphic novel. But I digress...I thought Eddie Brock was supposed to be a well-established character in the Spider-Man universe prior to bonding with the symbiote, but I guess I was wrong about that. The last 20% of Birth of Venom contain Venom's first encounter with Spider-Man, and these issues are pretty good better than most first encounters between Spidey and a new villain. I think this graphic novel would have been better off being titled something along the lines of The Alien Costume Saga (like the animated series of the '90s had named this story arc) rather than marketing it as solely Venom's origin. Although Venom's origin did not live up to my grandiose childhood expectations for his character, I did enjoy finally getting to see my favorite villain in action in his intended medium of comic books.

Ill start at the issue where Spider-Man figures its best he ditch the suit. Starts with Spider-Man breaking a fight with some criminals and then he and Black Cat knock out the rest of them. Spider-Man makes an early night. End of the comic, Puma's contract with the Rose is terminated and MJ has let Peter know that she knows he's Spider-Man. Oh yeah, and the Hobgoblin in shows up. Later Spider-Man decides to have his suit checked out by Reed Richards, and right as they're studying the symbiote, we cut to the Hobgoblin, who takes out a bunch of the Rose's men to prove he's the Hobgoblin. The issue ends with Peter putting on his Spider-Man outfit. Now, even though Spider-Man cast it out, it really wants to bond with this guy. Instead we skip to Eddie Brock saying something about how Spider-Man ruined his life. Next panel, this happens: Readers have whined about how Venom coming to MJ's apartment and trying to exploit Parker's position is so demeaning to MJ's character. Spider-Man forces Venom to use up what's left of his webbing. He heads to Peter's apartment.The Black Cat goes there, not knowing that a) Parker's left and b) married. I don't know, but this image below puts me in a really good mood: Anyway, Spider-Man freaks out and crushes Venom under a few machines and swings out, accidentally leaving his change of address forms behind. Yay for Spider-Man. To be fair, this book does exactly what it states: It offers background for the symbiote and its second host Eddie Brock to become Venom. Eddie Brock himself does not appear until his full development as Venom despite him being mentioned in previous issues. It's disappointing really, because a major part of the Spider-Man universe is its character development, and the symbiote is the only one we really have background and development with.

Its not particularly well written at times, but the way this collection is put together keeps this story coherent at least.