VENOMIZED #5 by Cullen Bunn, Iban Coello, and Matt Yackey
VENOMIZED is not without fault, but Bunn helps the series' reputation by delivering a solid conclusion in VENOMIZED #5. By bringing in Jean Grey as the resolution for the series, Bunn pulls together multiple Venom arcs and gives the multi-series Venom comic event a suitable close.
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In recent months, Venom has transformed Marvel comics into a symbiote-haven, with the VENOMIZED miniseries taking center stage. With the last installment in the Venom-centric comic event, VENOMIZED #5, writer Cullen Bunn and artists Iban Coello, and Matt Yackey’s end the Poison problem and clean the slate for the next big crossover event in Marvel’s future. While the series has had some pitfalls, VEONOMIZED #5 is strikingly more successful than past installments. Though the conclusion could have been a lot better, this last issue definitely helps end VENOMIZED on a high note.

Image Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

Say Bye to Scragg

VENOMIZED #5 immediately jumps into the heated battle between Kid Kaiju’s sky-scraper sized monsters and the Poisoned Thanos. But, instead of battling it out — fist to fist — one of Thanos’ Poisoned goonies sinks a symbiote into Kaiju’s insectoid monster Scragg. Within seconds, a Poison latches on, making Scragg into the deadliest Poison yet — which was Thanos and Doom’s plan all along. But, their plan is appropriately shortlived. With Kaiju tearfully mourning, Anti-Venom quickly turns Poison Scragg into a pile of rubble.

In space, Cyclops, Iceman, Beast, Angel, Venom, and the other uninfected heroes manage to infiltrate the Poison’s ships. Immediately Poisons surrounded them, with Poison Carnage leading the group. While Venom, Spider-Man, Angel, and Iceman handle the Poisons, Cyclops and the other team members go searching for Jean. They find her right as she finally overpowers the “Queen Hive” of the Poisons. This, in turn, kills all of the parasitic aliens. Jean herself also survives the ordeal, with her body miraculously returning to its pre-Poison state.

With all (or most) of the Poisons taken care of, the world can return back to normal — or as normal as it can be. Since the death of the Queen Hive didn’t kill all of the already-bonded Poisons, there are still some out there. VENOMIZED Part 2 anyone?

Image Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

The Power of the Hive

The last issue in the VENOMIZED series had a lot to do. The past four VENOMIZED issues didn’t really build up to VENOMIZED #5 as much as they just sort of wasted panel time. There were some hints as to what might happen but nothing was fully explored. This meant that VENOMIZED #5 had to explain everything. I didn’t think Bunn would be able to wrap everything up, but he succeeded and it’s all thanks to Jean.

After being a soulless Poison for so long, Jean Grey makes her reentry into the world of the living with a bang. The way the Poison “Hive” works is simple: every Poison is connected to one another thanks to the all-seeing Hive Queen. They share practically everything, which is why Jean is able to tap into every Poison’s mind and use that telepathic power to destroy the Hive Queen. She then used the residual power she had to recreate her human body.

Jean has saved the day a lot in comics, so for some readers, the unoriginality of the series’ most climatic moment might be annoying. Still, I thought it was a great way to end a huge Venom crossover event that had such strong roots in the X-Men (check out the “Poison-X” Arc in X-MEN BLUE if you haven’t already!). It felt like Bunn was trying to tie up each and every loose end by pulling Jean back into the picture and having her be the world’s answer to the Poisons. Plus, having Jean’s telepathic – take down the Hive makes sense. The Poisons’ only weakness is how connected they are. Telepathy is one of the few super-powered abilities that can challenge such close bonds.

Image Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

Comedy or Tragedy?

VENOMIZED #4 really struggled with deciding what genre it wanted to be. Bunn added a lot of humorous elements but he also included some very serious topics that don’t mesh with a comedic setting. The issue felt like it was floating between the two genres without completely being either one.

In VENOMIZED #5, Bunn cuts the comedy and adds more tragic elements. Scragg’s death is surprisingly sobering, even if the character is technically a monster. Jean’s defeat of the Poisons is both realistic and awe-inspiring. This issue is meant to wow you — not to make you laugh.

Personally, I’m a little disappointed that Bunn went down this route instead of the other, more humorous one. The past issues are light and almost poke fun at how ridiculous the circumstances are. The heroes, the Poisons, and the storyline itself are a little over-the-top (both artistically and how they’re written). VENOMIZED could have easily fallen into the comedic category. But, by emphasizing the more serious elements, Bunn seems to want this series to be a bit darker, which may or may not be a good thing.

Image Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

Artistic Crescendo

If there is one reason why you should go pick up VENOMIZED #5, it’s for the art. Artist Iban Coello brings his most marvelous work yet and it shows. Like I’ve said in past reviews, Coello’s talent really shows itself in the renderings of slimy symbiotes and Poisons. However, in VENOMIZED #5, Coello pushes the bar, giving amazing landscapes and beautifully stylized human heroes.

By far the most creative and well-done panel in the issue is Jean’s transformation from Poison to human. The way Coello sets up the scene is hypnotic; Jean’s Poison skull cracks and releases a torrent of pink telepathic energy that molds into a humanoid form. Thanks to colorist Matt Yackey, the scene is both strikingly realistic and appropriately fantastical.

Final Thoughts on VENOMIZED #5

VENOMIZED, as a whole, had its problems but Bunn makes up for a lot of those shortcomings in VENOMIZED #5. This final issue neatly completes the story and offers some of the best artwork seen in the series so far. I don’t think VENOMIZED will leave much of a lasting impact on the Marvel comic universe in the future. But for Venom fans, this series is a fun, quick read that’ll bring you deeper into the world of Symbiotes and Poisons than any series before it.

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