Rick Remender’s final issue of Venom is just as good as the previous 21 and change have been, and it’s a fine way to bow out, focussing heavily on a fascinating central character and his inner demons. The plot here is simple, it’s Flash chasing down Jack O’Lantern one final time, but the thing that makes the story work is the narration from Flash and the, no pun intended, flashbacks to his childhood and how his father fucked him. These scenes were incredibly powerful, and you really feel for the character. I just can’t believe that Flash Thompson, the 1-dimensional bully from Stan Lee and Steve Ditko’s Spider-Man run has evolved into this, one of the most complex and interesting heroes in Marvel’s stables. It was a process that started before Remender, but he took the growth of the character, threw in a symbiote and against all odds, made a fantastic comic. I legitimately care what happens to Eugene Thompson now, and there aren’t many superheroes you can say that about, I like Batman, sure, but I don’t really care about his personal life as if he was real.
This issue was a summation really of everything this book has been about under Remender, a conflicted, deeply trouble man struggling with his past and the monsters both real and psychological within him. I’m sad to see Remender leave, but he’s going out on a high note, plus, he’ll still be writing the character in Secret Avengers, and the incoming Cullen Bunn has already demonstrated he can handle this book brilliantly in the previous arc. I’ve been praising this book for month’s now, and if you still haven’t been paying attention, this final Remender issue may ironically give you a great jumping-on point as to what Venom is about these days. If nothing else, the artwork from Declan Shalvey should appeal to everyone, but as I said, this was a great finale to a great run, well done Rick, now let’s see what Cullen has up his alien sleeves.