Everything has been leading up to this moment. Eddie Brock has come face to face with his long-time nemesis Carnage, and let’s just say they’ve never been closer. Meanwhile, we finally get a glimpse of the true power that Eddie’s son Dylan has been holding in reserve. Venom #25 is packed full of twists and turns that do not disappoint in the slightest. Donny Cates has done a phenomenal job of bringing Venom back to heights that the character hasn’t ascended to in years. With their combined efforts, veteran artists Mark Begley, Andy Owens, and Frank Martin bring this visually stunning, epic confrontation to life.
The story begins with Eddie recollecting the events of his life up to this moment, since attaining the Venom symbiote. He is in a dark room, and appears to be speaking to a group of his peers. This goes on for several pages as Eddie reveals a more introspective side of himself, almost as if he is admitting that he can no longer face his demons alone. We see a visual montage of the struggles he’s endured over the last few years. We then get a flash back to the events immediately following Venom #24.
After becoming infected by the Carnage symbiote, Eddie is engaged in battle against the Venom symbiote, which has taken the form of a Tyrannosaurus-Rex while being controlled by Eddie’s son Dylan. Having finally tapped into his mysterious symbiotic powers, Dylan attempts to save his father. Dylan does manage to infiltrate the mental prison that Carnage has Eddie locked in, only to have the manifestation of Cletus Cassidy appear and trap Dylan within the cage as well. As Dylan struggles to regain control in the physical world, Carnage mocks Eddie and continues his assault on the “V-Rex.” However, with his father’s words of encouragement ringing in his head, Dylan regains control and manages to destroy the Carnage symbiote. Eddie awakens from the nightmare and is once again reunited with the Venom symbiote.
Flash forward to the present, and we find that Eddie has been speaking with Captain America and the Avengers. He tells them about Knull, the God of the symbiotes. He warns them that his “other” senses a looming menace that is both old and new, one which threatens all life. Eddie then questions whether anyone will survive it. A two-page montage accompanies his words. We catch a glimpse of things to come, including the first appearance of Marvel’s newest character “Virus.”
This book is an absolute must-have. From beginning to end, the story keeps the reader engaged. Donny Cates is truly one of the top-tier comic writers today. He has taken Venom to a whole new level and has made the character more relevant than he’s been since the 1990s. Cates is especially brilliant in his writing of Eddie Brock himself. Eddie has never before been written with such depth. His introspective monologue in the opening pages was spectacular. It is also exciting to see Dylan finally starting to come into his own with his powers. The cameo of Cletus Cassidy is very impactful, especially the scene where Carnage’s face emerges while Cassidy’s melts away in grotesque fashion. Mark Begley’s art is fantastic, and we get the added bonus of Ryan Stegman doing the final two-page montage at the end. As amazing as this book has been, one can’t help but feel that the best is truly yet to come.