Comics : Venom: Funeral Pyre #2
This story is part of a Lookback Series: Filling Gaps
This review was first published on: 2006.
Previously, Venom received word of a reporter named Gray Russell who embedded himself into a gang called the Jadoo to find a secret laboratory where his father did work for Hydra. If Venom didn't pull him out soon, he would be forced to kill as a gang initiation. Meanwhile, Punisher's in town and looks to clean up some of the gang bangers; including the reporter. Punisher and Venom come to odds with Venom getting trapped with the Punisher's battle van blasting him with sonics, leaving the Punisher free to finish his mission.
Venom: Funeral Pyre #2
Sep 1993 : SM Spin-Off
Summary: Punisher, Introducing Pyre
Venom, through sheer force of will, snakes a tendril through the sewers to get inside the battle van and destroy the systems inside. Without the sonics, Venom reforms and takes his revenge out on it before remembering his mission and swinging off to find his innocent.
While both Venom and Punisher interrogate bangers for their own purposes, time runs out as Gray is forced to take part in a drive-by shooting. Eventually, Venom finds Punisher again and reluctantly projects his symbiote on him to save him from being shot from behind. This places Punisher in Venom's debt, but all Venom wants is the protection of his charge.
The Jadoos return to their base to regroup and redeploy, but Gray runs to hide inside lab he found. Venom and Punisher close in and storm on the Jadoos' base, prompting Gray to try and use the equipment Hydra was building to create their own super soldier to try and give himself powers as protection against the Punisher. Gray gains microwave energy powers and uses it to blast at Punisher and misses. He has better aim against one of the Jadoo and against Venom when he reveals he's there to save him. Venom was late, and now PYRE was gonna get his revenge.
The coloring was an improvement over the previous issue, but the origin for the newest villain, Pyre, was a tad ridiculous. Someone without a clear scientific background decides to take a chance using equipment that may or may not work in a process that may or may not work to gain superpowers for protection? And his motivation was because he was forced to kill undertaking a task to further his own career, he takes out his guilt on Venom. Not to mention his powers conveniently are able to hurt him. Also, one has to wonder why the information from Gray given to Venom wasn't more exact to allow him to find Gray faster than he was able to.
Two and a half webs out of generosity. There are some mistakes made in the execution but overall the story concept had some potential. The art mostly saves it from a lower grade.