Brenda Drago, a/k/a "Raptor," has agreed to marry Normie Osborn, grandson of the original Green Goblin and someone May Parker has been trying very hard to forget. But what will happen when his engagement party is crashed by someone May and Normie have tried hard to forget?
All is going as well as can be expected for Brenda and Normie's engagement party. The setting is lavish, the guests are "unique" (the Fantastic Five are among the partygoers, as is Reilly Tyne, a/k/a Darkdevil) and May's date, Chris Jarkoer, is getting the thousand yard stare from Peter Parker. May even gets dissed by Brenda, who does not know her secret identity and treats her like a little girl.
Suddenly, the party is crashed by Elan DeJunae on her Goblin glider. May starts to intervene, but realizes that she has forgotten her costume and is helpless to prevent Elan from throwing a vial of... something into Normie's face. As the horrified guests watch, Normie is consumed by the Venom symbiote. The Human Torch threatens to burn it off of him, but is clobbered by another trick of Elan's that puts out his fire. Elan and Venom escape through the window.
Torch's wife frees him and the two fly off in hot pursuit. Brenda and Reilly do the same. And May, upon her return home, suits up despite her parents' warnings and swings off into the night. After a few hours of searching, she is hit by a gas that deadens her reflexes. She barely manages to land, and then is attacked by Venom. He threatens her family, but as she starts to fight back, Venom opens his mouth and shows her Normie's face. Predictably, she hesitates and is levelled. Elan reveals herself and the two start tearing into her.
Her life is saved by the sudden appearance of Darkdevil, but after he delivers a swift kick to Elan's jaw, Venom rips his arm THROUGH Darkdevil's chest. He finds no organs, just fire, and the pain sends him into shock. Elan flies Venom off to safety while Darkdevil collapses, fire spewing out of his chest. May, not knowing what to do, covers the whole in Darkdevil's chest with her webbing. She asks for help in treating him, but he unconscious. Or... dead?
Wow, this storyline got off to a quick start. In one fell swoop we have the return of Venom, the possible death of Darkdevil (not likely, but ya never know) and Elan is actually acting like a legitimate supervillainess instead of her near laughable first appearance. Very good stuff.
Venom's undergoing a bit of a renaissance lately, what with this appearance and his portrayal in Marvel Knights Spider-Man. (We'll just try to ignore the Venom series.) For the first time in a while, Venom is becoming a major-league baddie again. I do wonder, however, if the symbiote can actually take complete control of his host as he does here. The symbiote and Eddie Brock worked together; is it capable of subverting a human host for its own ends? Well, no doubt this will be explored in the next two issues.
I liked that Peter didn't stupidly try to insist that May stayed out of the fight (he's obviously clued in to how well that has worked in the past) and is letting her do what needs to be done and protecting the rest of his family. I daresay May isn't the only one that has grown up since this series began.
Chris Jarkoer acted like a bit of a twerp this issue, although his reaction to Elan's attack was refreshing. I'd bet most of us would be just as scared, but people in comic books tend to be made of sterner stuff.
Good start, Mr. DeFalco. Let's see where you go from here.
Great start to the three-part storyline. I give this four webs and eagerly look forward to the next issue.