Venom by Al Ewing & Ram V Vol. 1: Recursion review – a new take on symbiote lore.

Al Ewing – the mind behind The Immortal Hulk – teams up with rising star writer Ram V and superstar artist Bryan Hitch for a new take on Venom. Eddie and Dylan Brock have been pushed to their limits – and as everything Dylan has come to know and love unravels around him, he begins to realize the terrible truth about his new “other.” The Venom symbiote is not a harmless pet, no matter how much it pretends to be one. It’s an alien. A dangerous, violent, often bloodthirsty alien. Whatever bond it had with Dylan’s father, Eddie – as special as it may have been – is now gone. And Dylan might be gone soon too. Because the villainous Life Foundation is back, led by the insidious Carlton Drake – and they have the new Venom square in their sights!

Even with his ongoing popularity, Venom has been going through something of a renaissance in the last few years. This is thanks to the combination of his recent cinematic outings and Donny Cates acclaimed take on the character. Cates (along with artist Ryan Stegman) produced some of the most memorable symbiote comics ever that were both a fun call-back to 90’s Marvel and trying something new at the same time. With Cates and Stegman’s departure, big shoes were left to fill. However, Marvel has assembled an A-list team to take the character in an exciting new direction.

Al Ewing is responsible for some of the greatest Hulk comics ever written. His run on Immortal Hulk built on some of the psychological elements of the series whilst also introducing horror elements that had readers hooked. He brings those elements to this new Venom series alongside Ram V who has been making waves with comics such as the Eisner winning Blue in Green and Swamp Thing. On the art side, you have Bryan Hitch who is a long-established superstar artist for his work on The Ultimates, Fantastic Four, The Authority and JLA. This is his first big project for Marvel in a while after spending a few years at DC.

Ewing mainly handles the scenes featuring Eddie Brock who is now a god-like figure to the other symbiotes and can basically see every corner of the universe thanks to his hive mind connection. It makes for an interesting dynamic with the human Brock having to juggle his new role and power with his concern over his son back on Earth. Ewing uses his aforementioned horror elements to great effect not only for creating a tense moments and atmosphere but also for building further on the symbiote lore Cates helped establish.

Ram V meanwhile takes the lead with the Dylan parts on Earth which comes off as very natural. Dylan is a believable teenager who makes mistakes and gets into fights, but he has the added baggage of carrying around his father’s legacy in the form of the original Venom symbiote. The growth he goes through in this opening arc is substantial and has many exciting possibilities going forward.

Hitch continues to demonstrate why he is one of the best in the business with some truly memorable art. He is a natural fit for this series with the sections in space in particular playing to his strengths at depicting larger than life action and characters.

This new Venom series is bound to appeal to long-time fans and is a very encouraging sign of things to come. You can’t argue with a line-up of creators that strong.

Venom by Al Ewing & Ram V Vol. 1: Recursion is out now from Marvel  (9781302932558, p/b, £14.99)

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