Marvel Action: Spider-Man #11 throws readers a curve-ball when it introduces a surprise new villain to the story that brings the Spider Heroes together with Venom in an uneasy alliance.
I thought that I had ideas as to how the Venom story might go, but the first issue went in another direction than I thought, and changed my expectations; then this issue threw my expectations out all over again. Delilah S. Dawson has managed to create a story that is not only surprising, but seems to actively subvert expectations.
Venom has become something of an anti-hero in Marvel lately, but that was a journey that took years, and there was a point where he was considered one of Spider-Man‘s most iconic villains. For Marvel Action: Spider-Man to just jump straight to him being something of a good guy was quite a surprise, but it actually works really well.
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With the Spider-Heroes now knowing that Miles definitely isn’t the black clad Spider-Man beating people up, a suspicion that seemed to be quite a surprise accusation, the team go in search of Venom. When they track him down to a hidden lab (how many hidden labs are there in New York?) they try to stop him from hurting the scientist within.
This is where things take a surprise turn, however, as the scientist equips himself with robotic tentacles to fight back against Venom. Yep, Doctor Octopus suddenly turns up in the story. This was a twist that I genuinely didn’t see coming. Even when I first saw the scientist I didn’t make the connection as to who he was until he started to equip his gear.
Working alongside Venom, the heroes are able to defeat Doctor Octopus and he gets taken away by the police. Once he’s been taken out of the picture the heroes get the chance to finally talk to Venom for the first time and realise that Eddie Brock isn’t a bad guy at all, just someone who fell victim to shady scientists and caused him to be bonded to the symbiote. With his evidence of the shady experiments stolen he’s just out to try and get it back to bring the real bad guys to light; a task that the Spider-Heroes have decided to join him on.
The team-up between Venom and the heroes works really well here, and I think that it’s a great new take on the origin, bringing in portions of the Venom movie that make the character more interesting. Plus it’s kind of cool to see Gwen just sitting on Venom’s shoulders like a kid getting a piggyback because they’re allies now. It was kind of cute.
The big question raised by this issue, however, is who is the big boss behind things? Could it be the Kingpin, as he’s been mentioned in the past, or someone else entirely such as Norman Osborne? Also, Doc Oc mentioned ‘symbiotes’, plural. Could we be getting hints at other symbiote characters like Carnage, Frenzy, and Anti-Venom? I’m really eager to find out what’s going to happen next.
Marvel Action: Spider-Man continues to be one of the more interesting and well written books in the IDW imprint, creating the middle part of a story that raises a number of questions that raise excitement for the conclusion in the next issue. However the story goes, and whatever happens next, I’m sure that it’s going to be excellent.
Marvel Action: Spider-Man #11 is out now from IDW Publishing.