After last issue's gut-wrenching emotional darkness, Rick Remender has rewarded us with a fast-paced issue of completely crazy action in Venom #6, thanks to the Spider Island event where the Jackal has turned everybody in Manhattan into spider-powered folks, and a few special people into huge burly spider-monster goons. One of them is beating the snot out of Gravity and Firestar of the Young Allies, and our man Flash Thompson is ordered into the symbiote suit to go deal with it. Only trouble is that his father, whom we've just been reintroduced to as an alcoholic mess of a man dealing with liver failure, has taken a turn for the worse and is on death's door.
This issue is set up in two parts – one is the awesome fight on the bridge that ends with Flash's terse idea of how a superhero team-up should go, which certainly doesn't make him a Young Ally, and the second is more in the horror-monster movie vein, wherein the captured beast immediately barfs up a metric ton of disease-carrying spiders, and this time, Flash is stuck in the wheelchair, and the whole science team has to race around the compound and try to figure out how to stop it without a superhero around to save the day. All the while, Flash can't stop thinking about his awful father… and he seems to be learning that dealing with all that angst requires the development of a talent for quipping. Hence, we even get a Lionel Richie reference out of him. Hey, he's new at this. High school bullies didn't have to be clever in their insults.
Remender continues to prove he's great at both pulse-pounding action and dark personal turmoil (although I have yet to see if he can do a light-hearted romp, but judging by this and Uncanny X-Force, that doesn't seem to interest him much, and that's just fine), and Tom Fowler's art just feels right at home for this book, which is firing on all cylinders lately. Just in time to get its profile raised by this Spider-Man-centric crossover event, which is shaping up to actually be one of the few good ones of its ilk.
I never thought I'd be this interested in the life of Flash Thompson, and I also never thought I'd care that much about a symbiote, but here we are. The improbable is still possible, and Venom is just a really cool book you should all check out.
CRAVE ONLINE RATING: 9/10