Why I Chose this Book
So one day as I was walking into my office building, I saw a small postcard near the security desk which had the words Hoopla on it which also said that it was an app that provided access to a lot of different comics and graphic novels. I had recently begun getting more into graphic novels, possibly due to the influx of superhero movies and comic book TV show adaptations. So, I grabbed the card and later on looked up the information. Important to note, you have access to all of these graphic novels with your library card.
Unfortunately, though, my library system did not subscribe to this service. At the time, I didn’t think to ask someone I knew if I could their library card info, but I also didn’t think this one site would have been worth the hassle. Maybe half a year to a year later, my library system changed the online system they were using, but I just didn’t like it. That pushed me to ask a family member if I could use their library card information. Not only did I regain access to the old system, overdrive.com, but I also had newfound access to Hoopladigital.com!
There were many graphic novels offered. So many in fact, that I didn’t know where to start. One did start to stand out, though. I used to be fan of the 90s Spider-Man cartoon and one villain that always stood out was Venom. This was also around the time that Sony was promoting their first Venom movie. I had always known Venom as a villain, but it seemed like in the movie he was more of an antihero. On this website was a graphic all about and solely about Venom. These several conditions added up to an enticing read.
Venom is the story of Eugene Flash Thompson as the host of the symbiote Venom. Flash is a war veteran who lost his legs, I’m assuming in war, and has somehow bonded to the symbiote Venom. Venom though is bonded to Flash after already having bonded with Spider-Man sometime before this story took place. I didn’t really catch this or remember this from any of the old cartoons or whatever, but from one of the newer Spider-Man movies, Spider-Man Homecoming, I remember Flash and Peter Parker being old classmates. One interesting thing about this novel is that Peter Parker aka Spider-Man and Flash Thompson/ Venom are still friends, but neither one knows the other ones secret Identity.
At first, it seemed too convenient that Flash and Parker would have so much in common, but I guess having an alien symbiote around is kind of like having a virus. Those closest to you are the likeliest to also catch the same virus you have just by sheer proximity. I wonder why Venom liked Flash as a host. It might not be important, but I thought could potentially be an interesting story thread.
The main bad guy or bad guys seem to be your typical run-of-the-mill bad guys. They’re bad because they’re bad, they want power and yeah, they’re bad. They’re also some more minor villains that seem to be more interesting such as Kraven the Hunter and even Spider-Man, in a way.
Flash and Venom do fight bad guys, but the main conflict is internal. Thompson struggles with living the life of a masked hero while trying to maintain a romantic relationship. Your classic Spider-Man struggle, but Thompson also fights with the suit itself. If the two are bonded for too long then the symbiote takes permanent control so, Flash struggles with that conflict. Thompson is also a paraplegic war veteran, who also had and alcoholic abusive father, who he spent most of his childhood trying to please. So, Thompson has a lot to work through.
Overall, the novel was fine and I found it intriguing to look at an old character in a new way.
Joe Quesada (Cover Art)
Tony Moore (Artist)
Tom Fowler (Artist)
Stefano Caselli (Artist)
Lan Medina (Artist)
Shawn Moll (Artist)