Comics : Spider-Man 3: The Black (Wal*Mart DVD Promo)

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This review was first published on: 2008.

Background...

This mini comic comes packaged with one of the two-disc versions of Spider-Man 3 on DVD (near as I can tell, there are three possible versions of the DVD). The comic gives us a little back story to Eddie Brock becoming engulfed by the Venom Symbiote, meeting up with Sandman, and kidnapping Mary Jane; sort of like a scene from the film that was left on the cutting room floor.

In Detail...

"The Black"
Spider-Man 3: The Black (Wal*Mart DVD Promo)
Nov 2007 : SM Title
Summary: Included in DVD Twin-Pack Boxed-Set of Spider-Man 3 from HMV
Writer:  Brian Michael Bendis, Jonathan Couper-Smartt
Pencils:  Mark Bagley
Inker:  Scott Hanna
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Review

The story opens up in the old church's bell tower were Brock gets slimed by the unformed (and recently rejected by [[Spider-Man'') symbiote. The bonding complete the new creature, Venom, goes out on the prowl and discovers an off-duty taxicab driver, and three hapless citizens who are trying to get him to go back on-duty to give them a ride to get out of the pouring rain. Thankfully he is stopped from meting out some horrid fate to them by NYC's finest who shoot venom down, momentarily reverting him back to his human self.

The respite is only momentary, though, as the symbiote recovers, regains dominance, and jumps us, scaring everyone away, before he, swings off. Once up on the roofs of Manhattan, Venom deludes himself into believing that Parker is responsible for all of his problems, and vows to go after him, after he realizes that the symbiote was once bonded with Parker and Parker is Spider-Man. Before heading off to take care of Peter, Venom stops in to visit Gwen, with whom he has deluded himself into thinking that he actually has a relationship with her and that she would still want him the way he currently is transmogrified. Venom slips in through an open window and while he is skulking around, he finds Captain Stacy's files on Flint Marko, and realizes that Marko also has a connection to Parker, and determines to seek him out first and make a pact to destroy their common enemy.

Venom tracks Marko to just outside Marko's wife's apartment, and strikes a bargain with him to destroy Spidey. Shortly thereafter Mary Jane flags down a cab from outside the theater where she is working only to have the cabby turn out to be Venom, who brings her to the construction site (form the film) where Sandman is waiting. It is there that the two villains prepare to meet up with Spidey who (on the final page of the story) is shown swinging his way towards them.

In General...

As stated, this entire 22-page, square-bound comic feels like an outtake from the film that was deleted simply because of pacing (of the overall film itself, not so much of the scene itself). Hence it forms (along with Target's Spider-Man 3 Movie Prequel a very nice backdrop for comicbook fans to the film itself.

Overall Rating...

It was a real treat to not only see (the real) (Gwen Stacy along with her father back in comicbook form, but to have Bendis, Bagley, and Hanna team up to show off their rendition of the classic characters for a change was also quite the cool thing to see. It is extra packaging items like this that truly make purchasing the DVD a real treat (although it did cause this reviewer some pause while he hovered over the display attempting to figure out what (other than the price) was different in the three versions of the DVD that were available.)

Footnote...

This comic is backed up by Marvel Universe entries on all of the film's primary Spider-characters (The Green Goblin, J. Jonah Jameson, Sandman, Spider-Man, Venom, Mary Jane Watson, as well as shots of Spidey's different costumes. The back cover of the square-bound comic is a Q&A with Stan and some Marvel staffers.