Although I had a few nice things to say about Gwenpool’s appearance in Edge of Venomverse, it’s safe to say that I haven’t been the biggest fan of these comics. Almost every issue I’ve picked up has led to me questioning the reason for this series, why I should care about the main event, and if I ever need to see Venom bond with anyone besides Flash Thompson or Eddie Brock again. While I would love to say that issue #5 is the exception to all of this, it’s honestly a perfect example of all the reasons why I’ve disliked this comic from the get-go. Clay McLeod Chapman crafts a story with little purpose and little humor, and while James Stokoe’s artwork is solid, it is not enough to save this issue from finding its way toward the end of my longbox.
My biggest gripe with this issue is that Venom has no discernable impact on our hero. Venom hasn’t had a huge impact on most of the characters featured throughout this series, but here I cannot find one thing that Venompool does that Deadpool wouldn’t do of his own accord. It’s just Deadpool in a black suit. Violence? I’ve seen more of that with Deadpool than any other comic I read. Black comedy? Marvel wants you to associate him with that. The urge to always choose the bad option? That’s in most of his comics as well. As Venompool devours bad guys infected with monstrous parasites, there is no struggle between our hero’s personality and that of the symbiote. They are on the same wavelength, which probably says a lot about Deadpool’s mental standing, but leads to a boring issue. The best part of Venom is that the symbiote brings out the rougher edges of most people, but I’m fairly confident after reading this that Deadpool is rough enough that Venom is useless to him. All that exists here is action and Deadpool making his own decisions, so I’m not sure how any of this is supposed to make me pick up Venomverse.
Even though I have problems with the lack of impact that Venom has in the lead up to an event about the symbiote, the classic Deadpool humor is disappointing here too. I will freely admit that bathroom humor is entirely lost on me, so even one panel of Deadpool on a toilet talking to body parts I’d rather not think about is one panel too many. Additionally, every joke Deadpool makes is a quip intended to make you realize just how hilarious he knows he is. It’s exhausting. The joke alleging Batman’s origin story is his own is not new, while all the STD jokes just seem forced in there to remind us all the Deadpool can be edgy and talk about sex in a Marvel comic book. I already know this, and these rote lines do nothing to boost the liveliness of this dull ending.
James Stokoe is a blessing in this shaky issue. None of the art is pretty, but it is perfect for a Venompool dealing with active parasites, flailing humans, glimpses at assumedly illegal surgeries. His art feels like caricature, but the animated quality does not take away from Deadpool’s fast sword moves or the gore of tons of tentacles bursting out of someone’s mouth. It’s very dymanic, colorful, and has just a hint of cuteness to it, which is visible when the symbiote becomes a big black heart to catch Deadpool’s eye early on. It’s not the kind of art that I usually go for, but it’s near perfect for #5, so there are no complaints from me.
Now that Edge of Venomverse is over, I still have no idea what the point of the event is and I’m not even recommending that you pick up the trade if that’s what you are holding out for. This lead up to the main event has just been a series of unconnected vignettes where Venom often plays a little role and no breadcrumbs are dropped as to why we should care about the upcoming war. If you’re a Venom fan, and presumably you are if you’re reading this, there is nothing here for you. I’ll keep my fingers crossed that the upcoming Venomverse issues are better. That’s all I can hope for at this point.
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Clay McLeod Chapman and James Stokoe team up here to complete Edge of Venomverse #5, but this final chapter of this series is a weak depiction of Venom where Deadpool isn't even at his peak performance.