Donny Cates has been on a tear over at Marvel, he’s had a few runs that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed in Cosmic Ghost Rider and Death of the Inhumans, but in my opinion neither of these titles are on par with the new Venom books that include Venom and Web of Venom Carnage Born. Cates writes to the occasion and can seamlessly jump from over the top raucous and boisterous characters like Cosmic Ghost Rider back to a more grounded and thoughtful character like Black Bolt. Cates understands the characters, or at least he understands what I think the characters should be like, and that’s a great thing for a writer to know, how to play to audience expectations.
Cates has done what no other writer has been able to do, he crafted an exciting back story for Venom and the symbiotes that doesn’t rewrite anything and only adds to the complexity of the symbiotes. For those that don’t know there has been an introduction of a god named Knull who is on the level of the celestials and he is a full on dark BA god that is not to be messed with. This dude is not only on the level of the celestials he cut one of their heads off and used it as a forge to make a symbiote sword. Seriously, this dude is so BA just killing a celestial wasn’t enough, he had to turn the head into a forge. I’m not sure what part of that scenario is more BA but I can say for sure that it screams formidable if nothing else.
I’ve always been a huge fan of symbiotes, not just Venom or Carnage, but all of them, and what Cates has done with their back story is nothing short of genius. Even though symbiotes have been popular I feel that they have lacked in character and depth so it’s really fun watching this new backstory unfold. The new backstory adds the depth that the symbiotes deserve and it opens up the pantheon of symbiotes for a deeper look at them and an extension of them as characters. Because of this new origin it makes sense to take a new look at all the new sons and daughters of Venom and there was no better place to start than Carnage. It’s not just the symbiotes either, it’s the hosts as well, Cates has helped to make Eddie Brock more than an anti hero and he has recently rejuvenated the evil of Kletus Cassidy. So what sort of awesomeness can we expect from the other symbiotes and what sort of new craziness can we expect from the hosts? Only Cates knows.
A large part of what has drawn me into the new Venomverse has been the art of Ryan Stegman and recently with Web of Venom Carnage Born Danilo S. Beyruth. Their styles are similar and their books look great together. I feel like Stegman is one of the best in the game period, his work on books like The amazing Spiderman and Superior Spiderman has groomed him up to be one of the best artists in the game and perfect for a character like Venom. Beyruth has a smaller resume, especially when it comes to Spidey characters but his work on the Robbie Reyes Ghost Rider has proven him to be a capable artist and he knocks Web of Venom Carnage Born out of the park. I truly hope that these guys stick with these books and if they do end up switching artists I hope that they stay with artists that have similar styles. At this point in his career Stegman is a top draw so I hope he’s enjoying drawing Venom as much as I enjoy reading it.
Between Cates’s writing and the excellent art of Stegman and Beyruth I’m probably more excited for Venom, Carnage, and the other symbiotes than I should be. I really want Cates to keep expanding on the characters that include the symbiotes, the hosts, and their relationships with each other. Imagine something like into the Spiderverse with the symbiotes with Cates at the helm, combining all the symbiotes into one group of mean symbiote platoon of awesome. If I wasn’t already all in on Venom and Cates I would be after thinking of this!