The next entry in the Spider Island story brings up a solo Venom story. The story revolves around Venom’s search for one of the creature’s The Jackal sets loose upon New York.
Flash Thompson was a bully at school. He’d goofed on plenty of kids in school including one Peter Parker. But as life would have it, the bully learns the error of his ways. Thanks to his worship of Spider-Man, he makes every effort to try and be a positive force in the world. He ends up joining the military where during the course of action he loses his legs. But the military isn’t done with him. They’ve captured the symbiote suit that Eddie Brock had used and want Flash to use the suit.
Everyone has dealt with bullies. Everyone. Sure, some folks dealings with bullies pales in comparison to others but we’ve all experienced the people who felt compelled to make our lives a living hell. What makes them tick? Most importantly, what makes them change? I remember this guy that I felt was a bully when I was a kid. Granted, all he did was goof on me, nothing compared to what kids have to experience today. Even with that I felt more annoyed than anything else. But it happened. So years past. When I was working at a gas station guess who walks in one day but the guy who goofed on me. He remembers me and strikes up conversation. I pretend for a bit that I was still pissed but end up laughing it off. We had a good conversation and that was that.
I thought of that guy when I read this comic. What would someone do if they felt that their actions as a bully demanded them to make penance somehow? When it comes to Flash Thompson, I never thought he was anything more than an insecure dumb jock. I never got the impression that he was even much of a nuisance to Peter. So it begs to question what the hell happened in Flash Thompson’s life that caused him to feel he needed to pay back life for the mistakes he made?
The story itself hints at such a back story. Flash’s father is in the hospital with kidney failure. The hospital is being evacuated due to the threat of everyone with spider powers but doctors don’t evacuate his father because the move will kill him. Flash’s girlfriend Betty Brant, the report who initially broke the story of the spider power people, decides to stay with his father. Flash goes from not caring about whether his father dies or not to wanting to be with his father to deciding that he has more important work to do. What the hell kind of tyrant was his father that caused him to act the way he did?
Later in the story we have Venom capture the creature The Jackal had set loose and brought him to a secret location to keep him prisoner. Once held captive, the creature spits up thousands of baby spiders that look to infect everyone in the building. Seems the reason the creature was allowed to be captured was because it would allow these baby spiders to infect everyone. But there’s a problem. It’s soon discovered by the folks that the creature is in fact Mr. Steve Rogers, Captain America himself. This was a confusing bit here because while we as the reader have already had it confirmed from the bad guy and from Peter Parker and his girlfriend that the evil cloner The Jackal is behind this, why should we believe that this creature is in fact the real Captain America? We’ve been given every reason to believe that this is a smoke screen of some sort. I don’t buy for a minute that with New York being quarantined that the authorities and the military would not be communicating with each other. Like I said in the last review, why would people just assume their hunch is correct?
The art work was quite sloppy. It comes off like the artist accidentally spilled a bottle of black ink on the page and ended up trying to work with the Rorschach ink blot on the page into something resembling a story. The final battle between Flash and the supposed Steve Rogers is incomprehensible. You don’t know what the hell is going on and that really kills any excitement you have with this story.
There is a good story in this issue somewhere. It’s not bad so I do recommend it but it leaves you wanting to know more but in a bad way. There is information that we as the reader should have known that could have made a pretty decent story turn into an amazing story. I want to know more about Flash Thompson. I’d only really seen him during his time with Peter Parker in school so seeing him years later with his legs missing was a bit of a shock. Based on the other issues in the story I was shocked when I got to this issue because Flash’s appearance in the story showed him walking around in the Venom suit just fine. What is the relationship between him and his father that caused him to be the type of person he was and became today?
The art work was just a mess. You couldn’t make heads or tails of what the hell was happening on the page. They also failed to give the scenes any depth. The rooms at the military establishment where the creature was kept seems as small as a crappy motel room. I am not asking for artistic perfection here, just a sense of sanity when it comes to what is on the page. I don’t ask for much. I just want to know who is fighting who on the page. By the end I just gave up trying to make sense of what was on the page. This was painful to watch.