Image: Marvel Comics

Now that the Venom movie has turned Eddie Brock and his slimy lover into global superstars, it’s the perfect time to jump into the fantastic Venom ongoing series, which has added new dimensions to symbiote mythology while delivering jaw-dropping action and tender emotional moments. Writer Donny Cates and the main art team of penciller Ryan Stegman, inker JP Mayer, and colorist Frank Martin have crafted one of the year’s wildest superhero comics, introducing a giant symbiote dragon, a symbiote god, and symbiote soldiers who fought in the Vietnam War. Cates delves deep into the legacy of Venom—the last two issues paid tribute to the late Flash Thompson—and this month’s Web Of Venom: Carnage Born one-shot revealed that any character who has ever been attached to a symbiote will eventually be making their way into the narrative.

This exclusive preview of next week’s Venom #9 dials down the craziness to focus on Eddie’s inner turmoil. Following the events of the series’ first story arc, the Venom symbiote has lost its personality and voice, and while it’s still bonded to Eddie, the alien organism no longer has any sort of emotional attachment. Eddie is grieving the loss of his loved one, and these pages showcase how well this team humanizes the central hero and makes his fantastic circumstances relatable to readers. By having black space between the panels rather than white, the art team reinforces the darkness that has taken over Eddie, and separating the narration from the panels gives extra emphasis to his sad thoughts. He’s in a rough place right now, but his trip back home to San Francisco could be just what he needs to work through his pain.

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