For those readers unable or unwilling to purchase the “Marvel Worldwide” one-shot “Amazing Spider-Man: Venom Inc. Alpha”, Dan Slott’s script to this second instalment of his “Venom Inc.” comic book event arguably must have proved a rather frustrating read, considering the twenty-page periodical disconcertingly begins just after “Peter’s best friend, Flash Thompson” was exposed to an experimental cure at Alchemax and inadvertently “transformed into the all-new Anti-Venom!” True, the Berkeley-born writer does at least provide this publication’s 61,994-strong audience with a brief summary of events at the start of the magazine, yet for those regular bibliophiles solely dedicated to buying just the New York City-based publisher’s “flagship series”, and resultantly perhaps having little recent exposure to the likes of Eddie Brock, Lee Price, the wheelchair-bound Doctor Steve and Norton Fester, the Eisner Award-winner’s narrative is a confusing, somewhat choppy piece of story-telling at best.
Happily however, that doesn’t mean that Issue Seven Hundred And Ninety Two of “Amazing Spider-Man” doesn’t have its good points. Felicity Hardy’s Black Cat Gang in particular provides plenty of pulse-pounding punches, courtesy of Maniac’s successful attempt to “make a move” on the Crime Lord’s territory being given plenty of ‘screen time’. Featuring the likes of Melter, the Brothers Grimm, Hammerhead and the Scorpion, this free-for-all is rather disappointingly one-sided, and also sadly shows some of the titular character’s foremost villains reduced to little more than impotent low-class minions. But it’s hard not to still enjoy watching Ryan Stegman’s dynamically-drawn former anvil-headed Maggia Enforcer in action once again, even if he is quickly overpowered by a symbiote and used to ‘beat down’ Mac Gargan; “Hey, Flat-Top! What’re you doing? We’re on the same si–”
Far less successful though, is Slott’s oft-times debatably pointless dialogue between Peter Parker’s alter-ego and Thompson, as well as their utterly meaningless movements. Just why Anti-Venom’s departs Alchemax Tower alongside “short, dark and slimy” with absolutely no idea as to where they’re going is incomprehensible, and somewhat smacks of simply being a contrived excuse for the American author to manufacture a motivation for Parker’s former classmate to suddenly accompany the wall-crawler back to Bobbi Morse’s empty apartment. Whilst the sheer speed with which Flash subsequently convinces Spidey to surprisingly turn away from his determined plan to finally destroy the “hostile alien organism” and bring an emotional end to “everything bad thing it’s ever done–or spawned” is staggeringly swift, especially when the web-slinger’s alternative to so drastic a course of action is to disconcertingly devise a “patent-pending symbiote tracker” instead..?