Venom’s thriving in the big leagues. As a Guardian of the Galaxy, Flash Thompson is living out his dream of becoming a big-time, A-List superhero. In many ways, he is even surpassing his former rival, current close friend, idol, and life peg Peter Parker. Because, while Peter Parker is down in Earth stressing about saving the planet from doom, Venom is preoccupied with keeping the entire galaxy intact. And like the intro of the Guardians of the Galaxy ongoing series says, the entire galaxy is a mess. Warring empires and cosmic terrorists plague every corner, and thus someone has to rise above it all and fight for those who have no one to fight for them. Venom is truly serving a higher cause now. While Flash Thompson began his heroic ways when he was a soldier fighting in the Middle East, now his career is culminating as he takes on terrorists of a universal scale. And in the first story arc of the latest volume, the Guardians of the Galaxy have their hands full with Hala. The first four issues, of which the latest one came out today, focus on Hala, the last surviving Kree Accuser, hunting down the main protagonists. Hala believes that the Guardians of the Galaxy are responsible for her homeworld dying. And this is the furthest thing from the truth. In fact, Peter Quill and his crew had nothing to do with the destruction of Hala’s planet. It was Star-Lord’s father who shocked the Marvel Universe by such a despicable act. There was no way for Peter to know about his father’s actions, nor was there any way for him to really put a stop to the plans and machinations of his father.
Issue 4 of Guardians of the Galaxy centers on Gamora taking on Hala, one-on-one in a Dragon Ball-style battle. While they fight, Venom and his teammates go through a long debate on whether to go back and help their friend or just leave her to her doom. Despite Rocket Raccoon arguing for them to just leave, we all know that the good guys always come back for their friends in their greatest time of need. So after an epic battle of throwing each other through buildings, smashing each other’s faces on the ground, and kicking each other in the guts, it seems that Hala finally gets the upper hand over Gamora, who provided the Guardians of the Galaxy a distraction for them to save Peter and leave. But as Hala is about to give the final blow, Venom and the rest of the Guardians appear. And they take down Hala quite easily, with the use of teamwork and expertise of their specific respective skillsets. Most of the work is done by the two newest members of the team. Kitty Pryde surprises Hala by phasing through the ground and trapping Hala to the floor. And while Hala and her legs are stuck to the ground, Ben Grimm, ak.a. The Thing comes crashing down from the sky delivering the ultimate one-punch knockout to the angry alien lady.
With Hala defeated, Peter Quill starts to blame himself again for the destruction of the planet, but his friends quickly remind him that he cannot be blamed for what happened. But their soft, warm moment of family love ends soon after because they are ambushed this time by Yotat, a murderous brute who looks pretty invincible to me. So so far, the Guardians of the Galaxy series has been a gauntlet of sorts for the motley crew of heroes. They were able to eliminate one threat, but a new, bigger one appears without giving them any time to breathe. One can only wonder what writer Brian Michael Bendis has in store for the team next, after they beat Yotat… if they even do indeed beat Yotat. Artist Valerio Schiti also does an excellent job of drawing clear, exciting, and action-packed fights. Bendis’ script and Valerio’s art are the very definition of blockbuster action. Not too much dialogue takes place, and the panels are big and spread out wide. This is a comic about action, and it knows that. So it plays to its strengths.
Venom is just a perfect fit for this team. Being half-symbiote, it only makes sense for Venom to thrive in space. He knows he is not wanted on earth, and in the end, that worked out for him very well. He found his place in the Marvel Universe. Venom is even making jokes now, something unheard of if you look back at the 90s. I have a feeling that Venom will be playing a major role in the team’s fight against Yotat, so be sure to grab a copy of the next issue when it comes out. Venom may have started out as one of Spider-Man’s greatest villains, but now he is one of Marvel’s greatest superheroes.