***** (five of five stars)
Kowalski, one of the two S.H.I.E.L.D. agents on the scene of Dana's murder, tells Spidey to drop Dana's body; when he tries to put a hand on Spidey, Spidey swipes him with a talon, destroying his helmet. Kowalski screams at him, saying that Spidey could've killed him, but the other agent tells him to give Spidey space. Spidey asks where Venom is and the other agent says that he escaped; Spidey tells him that he's dead, wherever he is. Elsewhere, Conchata is watching the news that Dana is dead and apologizes to Gabriel when he enters her apartment. Gabe expresses confusion and Conchata realizes that he doesn't know. She begins to explain that Dana and Spider-Man were involved in a shoot-out with some creature at the Escher Club and Gabe sees the police taking away Dana's body on the vid-screen. He touches the image of her face and makes a fist at the image of Spidey's, smashing the TV set. He flees before Conchata can comfort him. On the streets, the Public Eye's announcement system tells citizens that Venom is on the loose as he watches from a rooftop.
At Alchemax, Miguel demands that his staff tell him what Venom is. He mentions the file that Winston had sent him, but the staff member tells Miguel that records from that era are sketchy. Miguel says that he just wants to know what its weakness is and the staff member tells Miguel that they found a piece of it in the foyer and it's regenerating itself. Downtown, something chasing Kasey finally manages to grab her, while, in Tyler's hospital room, he mutters Dana's name. The Punisher emerges from the shadows, telling Tyler that Doom has asked that he handle the investigation personally. He asks if Tyler recognized his assailant and Tyler said he didn't. When he asks for Dana, Gallows tells him that she's resting. At Alchemax, Miguel is in the lab, where a lab tech tells him that the symbiote has unparalleled mutative abilities. The tech says that the opportunities for study are endless and Miguel shouts that he doesn't want to study it, he wants it dead. The symbiote flinches at the sound and the tech mentions that they hadn't seen it respond to anything. He posits that it could be responsive to negative emotions, but Miguel notes that Venom has a lot of excess negativity. Miguel wonders if sound bothers it and screams at it again, suggesting the techs try concentrated sound-bursts of different frequencies. However, Xina arrives to talk and Miguel goes into the hallway to meet her, telling her that it's not a good time. She says that she knows, but she has a lot of emotions over the incident with the madman. Miguel says that it's not a man, but a xenomorph. Xina, noting that she spent her career studying extraterrestrial beings, asks how they're going to capture it and Miguel tells her that they're going to kill it. The tech calls him to the lab and Miguel asks Xina if they're finished, to which she responds, "Yes, I think we are." The tech confirms that sound in higher vibratory ranges made the symbiote lose cohesion.
Downtown, the Vulture is revealed to be Kasey's assailant, telling her that her refusal to cooperate has left him few options and noting that he likes to play with his food. However, as they're flying through the air, he's then struck by some sort of living-laser being, who then catches Kasey as she falls. The being then attacks the Vulture again, telling him that Kasey's off-limits. Elsewhere, on a rooftop, Venom decides that it's time to remove some players from the board, but, before he can finish the thought, he stumbles from a high-pitched sound emitted from the Public Eye's announcement system. He falls to the ground and tries to attack the source, but realizes that it's everywhere. He's then attacked by Spidey, who observes that Venom is no longer able to shape-shift to escape. Throughout the city, people are watching the fight on vid-screens, exhorting Spidey to kill Venom (except Xina, who looks concerned). Spidey tells him that he wants Venom to understand what he did to him before he kills him, but, then, the symbiote withdraws enough to reveal the human host underneath it (except the face). He begs for Spidey to turn off the sound and surrenders, making Spidey realize that Venom is a symbiote bonded with a human and that killing it would essentially be killing him in cold blood, since he's begging for his life. But, then Miguel remembers how Venom killed Dana and informs him that he's a monster who deserves to die. Then, the symbiote withdraws entirely, letting Spidey see the host's face.
In the back-up story, Tyler smacks a complaining Kron, telling him to pack his bags to leave the school. He then approaches Miguel in the hallway, who says that he understands why Kron's difficult given that Tyler is his father. Tyler asks if Miguel thinks that he's a lousy person to have as his father, but Miguel says that his own father isn't any "great shakes" so he's not one to criticize. Tyler tells him that "truer words were never spoken." He apologizes for Kron, shakes Miguel's hand, wishes him a nice life, and then says that he'll be keeping an eye on him, calling him "son." Miguel tells Xina, who sticks out her tongue, wondering what it would be like to have Tyler as a father. Miguel responds that he has enough problems.
As expected, Miguel isn't eating ice cream and watching sad movies to deal with Dana's death. I don't actually have a ton to say about this issue, because it progresses along the lines that you'd expect. A crazed Miguel seeks revenge against Venom and, just as he's going to deliver the coup de grace, gets a shock that somehow manages to make it all the worse. David makes it a crazy, emotional ride from start to finish.
The Really Good
David doesn't totally say it here, but he strongly hints in the "Young
Miguel O'Hara" story that Tyler really gives up hope with Kron at this
point and begins to see Miguel as his heir. Of course, Miguel doesn't
understand that moment, since he doesn't yet know about Tyler being his
father. But, it does actually really clarify a lot about Tyler's
approach to Miguel. Tyler's presence in his life so far has been
depicted as pretty malevolent. After all, Miguel became Spider-Man
because he thought that Tyler had hooked him on rapture to keep him at
Alchemax. But, what if Tyler wasn't just trying to hang onto a talented
employee, but desperately trying to keep his legacy at Alchemax alive
by keeping his talented son there? He does, after all, want Miguel to
run R&D at Alchemax after he accepts Doom's offer of a Cabinet
position. What if he didn't get with Dana to hurt Miguel but because he
thought that she wasn't good enough for Miguel (or was distracting him
from his work)? It's still all Machiavellian and selfish, but it adds
some nuance to Tyler's actions that makes him a bit more into a
1) I thought the opening scene was amazing. David made a great choice in using the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents to tease out Miguel's emotions, with the one provoking his anger and the other telling his colleague to give Spidey some room. It felt so real that I could hear the conversation in my head and the hush in the room.
2) Similarly, I thought the scene between Miguel and Xina further gave us a sense of where Miguel is. Xina clearly realizes what we do, that Miguel's not going to be able to be there for her emotionally. She seems a little angry about that, which, I have to be honest, seems a bit cold, given that Miguel's response to Dana's death seems perfectly reasonable (even if she doesn't know that Miguel was on hand as Spider-Man). But, it confirms my suspicions that, wherever they were before this arc, they aren't now, since everything just changed.
3) I also thought it was clever that David used Miguel's emotions in finding Venom's weakness. I'll buy that Miguel screamed in anger and that said scream provoked a response in the symbiote.
the shadow from last issue was the Vulture, not the Green Goblin. But, of course, Gabe does seem to have
now gotten the inspiration to hate Miguel, since he blames him (or, at
least, Spider-Man) for Dana's death. Plus, the "Next Issue" box says
Goblin 2099. Gabe + anger = Goblin. (Also, who the Hell was the "laser-light being?")
2) I'm still not really sure what I'm supposed to believe when it comes to Tyler and Dana. He mutters her name here, but am I really supposed to believe that he loves her? At first, I dismissed their relationship as just Tyler's way to hurt Miguel but, as I sad in "The Really Good" section, what if he was just trying to break up their relationship for Miguel's own good? Did he just happen to fall in love with her in the process? It makes you wonder what his response is going to be, particularly when he discovers that Kron (in all likelihood) killed her.
The art in the back-up story is terrible. Tyler looks nothing like himself and Miguel is suddenly blond. WTF?