What I Remember:
I remember not liking this book. I thought the art was weird and didn’t get the story. The 90s were a time where every book needed to have Ghost Rider, Punisher, Wolverine or Venom to sell a book. The anti-heroes were big in the 90s and I wasn’t a fan. I liked the traditional heroes. Now, I get nostalgic and defensive when people badmouth comics from the 90s, probably because I’m an old curmudgeon and enjoy arguing with people. But enough about me, let’s see how the book is.
Venom: The Madness #1 “Toxic Kisses"
Writer: Ann Nocenti
Penciler: Kelley Jones
Inker: John Beatty
Colorist: Tom Smith
Letterer: Richard Starkings
Editor: Danny Fingeroth
Editor-In_Chief: Tom DeFalco
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Publication Date: November 1993
Cover Price: $2.95
Re-Collection Price: original book
Eddie Brock is in San Francisco and Venom is trying out a new role, protector of the innocent.
As Brock and Venom sleep, outside, a man screams about radioactive waste, nail polish and how he was poisoned with experimental mercury. He’s attacked.
Venom springs into action and saves the man.
In the aftermath, he meets up with Beck, a local homeless activist and lawyer. She is representing his coworkers against the Scarmore (nothing good can happen at a company called Scarmore) corporation and their Mercury Project. We learn that the mercury is spliced with a virus making it amoeba-like.
Brock offers his services and to torture the thugs until they squeal on their bosses. We then cut to Scarmore where they’ve enlisted some hired muscle themselves, the unstoppable Juggernaut!
Beck and Brock start sharing secrets and they kiss, Venom gets in on the action as well.
But their make out session is interrupted by Abby who informs them that one of his codefendants has pulled out after he's put in the hospital by a man that hits like a truck. Eddie vows to hit them back, but his urged to scale back and use his brain rather than his brawn.
That night, we learn that Venom is trying to take control of Eddie all the time and restore him to his maniac ways. We also get a glimpse of where Scarmore is dumping all of their vile waste.
The CEO of Scarmore is served and the suit is announced to the press and the Juggernaut retaliates on behalf of his employer.
Juggernaut and Venom battle across San Francisco.
As Juggernaut gets the upper hand, Venom finds himself dealing with another symbiotic creature looking to bond with them, the mercury!
Continued After Ad:
I had no idea that this was a Kelley Jones book. I don’t remember having seen his art outside of Batman books, where he drew cover and even had a run on the main Batman title. While his style lends itself to Gotham City’s gothic feel it seems weird in a Venom story but I still enjoyed it. Jones’ art is unique and immediately identifiable. It’s certainly not photorealism.
The story itself could have been written by Sen. Elizabeth Warren. It’s the timeless comic book trope of the little guy versus the big corporation destroying the environment, similar to the Anarky story seen here.
It's a fun story and evil corporations often make a good villain because it's hard to just toss them in jail. This story in particular didn't do it for me. It’s an interesting read but I’m not that interested in finding the next issue.
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