After forming an uneasy truce with Spider-Man in Amazing Spider-Man #375, Venom headed out West to find his own city to protect. Winding up in San Francisco, Venom ends up getting tangled in the plight of a group of homeless people being forced out of their underground home by Roland Treece. Meanwhile, Spider-Man, uneasy about leaving Venom free, heads west to find and capture his old foe. Venom ends up rescuing a group of homeless people who dwell in a buried part of old San Francisco and are being threatened by businessman Roland Treece. Despite saving their home from Treece, Venom is cast out by the ruling council and decides to earn their favor by stopping Treece permanently. However, Venom comes to find he has new enemies to contend with: The Jury.
The Jury’s weaponry, specially geared for Venom, keeps him down long enough for Orwell Taylor to explain the attack as vengeance for Venom killing his son Hugh when he escaped from The Vault (Amazing Spider-Man #315). Venom uses that time to recover and free himself from their clutches, making a break for it. Venom believes he put sufficient distance between them, but The Jury catches up and renews their attack atop the Golden Gate Bridge. Venom is knocked down to the street and uses his camouflage ability to hide. The Jury, looking to avoid the authorities, decide to withdraw—for now.
Meanwhile, Carl Brock dismisses Spider-Man, but his housekeeper, Sharon Dempsy, decides to talk to him in order to help Eddie. She explains how, after Eddie’s mother died in childbirth, Carl became distant and unaffectionate. No matter how hard Eddie worked or tried to please him, all efforts were dismissed. Eddie thought being a reporter would work, but then his Sin-Eater expose` (Amazing Spider-Man #300) ruined his career and stopped all contact between him and Carl. Spidey leaves the house, feeling more sorry for Eddie than ever. Elsewhere, Roland Treece surveys the damage from Venom’s break-in. Realizing Venom could threaten his park deal, and the millions of gold involved with it, Treece decides he’ll have to deal with Venom the hard way.
Later, Venom is spotted by one of The Jury’s ground units and engaged with a sonic grenade. Venom tries to appeal to his attacker with the plight of the homeless people underground, causing hesitation and allowing Venom to recover. Sentry, the only Jury member in range, attacks. But, the fight is cut short by Treece’s helicopter blasting Sentry down. Venom boards the helicopter where Treece offers him the position as head of security. Learning it includes the park project, Venom accepts.
Soon, the helicopter arrives at a bunker in the Mojave Desert. Venom is led inside where he’s imprisoned in a cage of fire by the Life Foundation. The head, Carlton Drake, explains to Venom Treece suggested Venom could be of use to the Foundation’s latest venture. Or, rather, Venom’s children.
The all-action issue! Which means the plot didn’t really advance forward all that much. This issue serves an introduction to Taylor’s Jury: Bomblast, Firearm, Ramshot, Screech and Sentry. The Jury was given a chance to appear formidable, so mission accomplished there. It also serves to try and rationalize Eddie’s behavior since his debut by revealing his tragic origin. Plus, a nice tie-in to a story from 4 years prior. However, with the addition of the Life Foundation on top of things, this book is starting to feel a little crowded in the enemy and subplot area. So much so that the homeless people (remember them? The reason Venom is after Treece?) are reduced to nothing more than a couple passing mentions in the dialogue between action scenes.
Three webs. The art and writing are consistently good, but the book is starting to become a bit crowded with villains and subplots. The main plot is in danger of being overshadowed and forgotten.