Comics : Venom (Vol. 2) #19

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This story is part of an Arc: "Savage Six"
     Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3 / Part 4

This review was first published on: Aug 2013.

Background...

Crime Master has assembled a new supervillain team, which includes himself, Jack O' Lantern, Megatak, Death Adder, Human Fly, and Eddie Brock, the new host of Toxin. After a failed assassination plot to kill Crime Master, Venom was faced by the full rage of the Savage Six. Flash barely escaped with his life, but now all of his loved ones are in danger and he must reach them as quickly as possible.

Last issue, Venom found and rescued Betty from Jack, Megatak, and Toxin. Betty, though, doesn't trust our favorite villain-turned-anti-hero, so Flash revealed his secret identity to her at the end of last issue...

In Detail...

"Family"
Venom (Vol. 2) #19
Aug 2012 : SM Spin-Off
Arc: Part 2 of "Savage Six"
Writer:  Cullen Bunn, Rick Remender
Pencils:  Lan Medina
Inker:  Nelson DeCastro
Cover Art:  Edgar Delgado, Tony Moore
Lettering:  VC's Clayton Cowles
Colorist:  Chris Sotomayor
Executive Producer:  Alan Fine
Publisher:  Dan Buckley
Chief Creative Officer:  Joe Quesada
Editor In Chief:  Axel Alomso
Senior Editor:  Stephen Wacker
Editor:  Tom Brennan
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Articles: Jack O'Lantern VI

Immediately after Flash's reveal, Betty slaps his face and calls him a term I would rather not quote. She is obviously unhappy with the fact that Flash has been lying about his double life but Venom stops her. He tells Betty that he has to save Jesse and his mom and swings off with her, who is obviously still unhappy. Venom heads to Jesse's house first because it's closer but doesn't neglect his mom. Venom steals a random guy's phone (which hasn't been hacked by Megatak yet) but doesn't remember his mom's number. Betty does and calls.

Sadly, Flash's mom doesn't pick up her phone because she is lying on her floor, crying. The Human Fly has trashed her house and lets it go to voicemail, saying while salivating, "You and me are gonna be plenty busy. Back in on the streets, Flash asks Betty to call Jesse, but the phone is compromised by Megatak and they toss it. They land as Jesse's apartment and Flash leaves Betty on the fire escape while he goes in.

Venom walks around the apartment with his gun pointed in front of him until he opens the bedroom door. He drops his gun when he finds that Jesse's husband has received the Jack O' Lantern treatment. (See Venom (Vol. 2) #11.) Flash blames himself for not getting there earlier. When Flash hears a voice under some bed sheets, he pulls them away to find a swarm of Jack O' Lantern's devil dolls, mimicking Jesse's voice.

Flash gets pissed and tears through three of the little robots. He is about to take down the last one before it tells him to go "straight to hell" and turns into a bomb. Venom jumps out the window and grabs Betty, saving them both as the building explodes. He lands on a nearby rooftop and spots a trail of smoke bursting from a building.

Venom figures it's Jack and leaves Betty to kill him. When he finds Jesse alive on a rooftop, he swings to get her, but Jack slashes his back with a knife of some sort. Venom falls on the rooftop, grabs his pistol, and shoots Jack, missing until he wings his side. Jack falls off his flying broom but isn't finished. When Venom nears him, Jack lights his head on fire, telling him, "Ain't over til' daddy says it's over." Jack grabs Jesse by her hair, ranting, "I remember this story about how ol' web-head couldn't save some pretty girl from a terrible fall. If the real deal couldn't save some skirt...how could you?" Then, he throws Jesse off the building.

Venom jumps down and saves her, and Jack applauds him. But a few buildings away, Toxin picks up Betty and jumps away. Jack also flees, but before doing so he asks, "Have you visited Mom recently?" In the last panel, Fly is seen ripping some flesh off a ribcage.

In General...

Am I the only one who needed a few minutes to recover from this issue after reading it? This was one crazy, fast paced installment of Savage Six. It felt like I was watching the climax of a horror movie and the arc isn't even done! Of course, it was still well paced, kept me at the edge of my seat, and was mostly well-executed. Really, the pacing is what makes this issue terrific and the sheer emotional ride was wild. The scene in Jesse's apartment was wonderfully tense and mortifying.

I was also happy with a lot of little details of this story. Firstly, I was unsuprised by Betty's reaction in the beginning but I chuckled at how in-character it was when Flash didn't know his mother's number but Betty did. Second, I thought Flash's actual thoughts were well written. Remender a great grip on Flash's character. Third, I really enjoyed how well emotions were presented. I felt as guilty as Flash when Betty yelled at him, as torn as Flash when he had to leave Betty alone to save Jesse, as sickened when I saw Jesse's husband dead, and as pissed when the little devil robots imitated Jesse.

Sadly, with positives comes one, big negative. Jack totally imitated the Death of Gwen Stacy by throwing Jesse off a rooftop. The minute he did so, I was just so aggravated that I forgot about how tense the whole situation was. I know Remender has this whole "dark image of Spider-Man" thing going, but he just went too far with that part. I even predicted that would happen when I was talking to one of my friends about Venom. I think it's most agitating that Jack even referenced Gwen's death when he threw Jesse.

On the plus side, Medina's art certainly hasn't been compromised by Remender's demanding script. I seriously don't know how he is able to do it. One minute he's drawing a full-page splash, and the next he's drawing a really tense scene. Medina's realistic style fits the story well and the emotion and horror is captured masterfully. My only complaint is, sadly, the two panels with Toxin.

Overall Rating...

I would give it five webs if not for the part with Jack throwing Jesse off the building.