Writer: David Michelinie
Penciler: Mark Bagley
Inkers: DeLarosa & Milgram
Letterer: Richard Starkings
Colorist: Marie Javins
Editor: Danny Fingeroth
Editor in Chief: Tom DeFalco
Background: Venom was the runaway hit of the 90's. The character went from a Spider-man Villain to a cult phenomenon. The appeal of the character is simple. You take the most popular alternate Costume for a Superhero, ever, and give it to a character with an edge. The symbiote suit is still popular enough to carry his own solo series to this very day. Yet, at this point in the 90's Venom was largely a villain. He was a constant torment for Spider-man and they only would ever work together whenever Carnage was involved. Villain series rarely sell well in comic books. In order to get a Venom series to do great, they had to do a face-turn, sort of. Venom went from a cold villain into an edgy anti-hero, indicative of the 90's. Venom: Lethal Protector was one of the first attempts on making Venom a solid-solo character. Was it a success? Find out after the jump.
|Venom: Time's Arrow|
Plot Synopsis: Eddie Brock works out a deal with Spider-man agreeing to leave New York City and Parker alone only if Parker lets him be the Hero. Brock, like all Marvel Characters seemingly do, leaves New York City to go to San Francisco. There he becomes the champion of the weak and forgotten. When Venom's exploits gain national attention, this prompts Parker to visit San Francisco to make sure Venom is being a hero. This does not please Venom and through a series of convoluted events, Venom and a random thug in a machine end up in the distant past of the San Francisco. You know like that episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation.
Writing: I am not too familiar with Michelinie's work. I know he was the main Spider-man writer of the 90's, but I am not really big into that era of Spider-man. Lethal Protector does give me some reasons to check it out, though. Lethal Protector was not necessarily ground breaking comics. It doesn't do that much to the characters or create interesting situations, but it has promise.
Lethal Protector #1 does the wise thing and includes some backstory to the characters and does not expect to leave the reader scratching their head. It includes the origins of the Symbiote suit, Eddie Brock's vendetta against Parker, and the creation of Venom. Does so in rather short time, too. That is impressive. If this comic was made today it would have spent 2 issues on Venom's origin. Of course, it would have had more character development if it was made today.
|Years of stories in one nice page.|
The plot of Lethal Protector is one on the back burner. It focuses on Venom protecting people and in doing so he interferes in the operation of Roland Treece, who is attacking the homeless underground with mechanical monstrosities. Thing is that comes in the final pages. The comic is scattered brain in its focus. It jumps between scenes like a child on ADHD and spends no time developing the scenes. It gives the reader no reason to care when Venom fights the machines. Nothing has any impact and is frustrating to read.
The dialog isn't very good. Venom spends the issue talking in “We” but that is par for course. Taking that into account Venom is making declaritive statements of what has happened but does nothing to bring any insight into the character or does it work in conversation with other characters. Speaking of the other characters, They don't do fair much better in the dialog department. Peter is still guilt ridden but doesn't deliver any wit and he talks to everyone like they are a plank of Balsa wood.
The writing in Venom: Lethal Protector #1 is ultimately forgettable. The plot is nonexistent, the characters rarely do anything to affect the plot, and dialog offers no support. I give the writing a score of 6.0/10
|This is creepy on so many levels.|
The Art: Mark Bagley was definitely the best part of this issue. He draws a great looking Spider-man and illustrated some cool effects for Venom including a brutal death scene in which Venom drowns a man on the symbiote. The Venom in use here is closer to the original McFarlane design but it does show signs of the crazy look that Venom would take on later into the decade. The pencils are well done and very dynamic. With characters like Spider-man and Venom, you need a sense of the dynamic.
The inking (done by committee of DeLarosa & Milgram) are solid. In this era, the inks can often be overbearing on the pencils. In Venom: Lethal Protector #1, this is not true. There are no extraneous lines and they complement Bagley's pencils well.
I cannot comment on the colors of this issue. It was originally printed on newsprint-style paper. I am reviewing the comic based on a digital copy made available by Comixology. Typically when colors are transferred to digital from newsprint, they are often distorted from the original vision. For that reason I cannot review the coloring.
Given the quality of the pencils, inks, and the no comment on the colors, I can give the art a score of 7.5/10. It is a decent issue but it isn't anywhere near the greatest art of its era nor does it transcend the era.
Overall: Venom: Lethal Protector #1 is an interesting experiment that I found to have fallen flat. The dialog lacks a punch, the plot is scattered, and the characters are flat. The art is solid but nothing to rave about. With this all in consideration, I must give Venom: Lethal Protector #1 a score of 6.75/10. It is passing, check out only if curious.
That does it for this week's installment of the XTREME Corner! Next week, the subject will be Spawn #9.