When it comes to Venom, I’m a bit of a stickler for the classic setup. Give me Eddie Brock over Mac Gargan any day. So when it comes to a story staring Brock in his new guise as Anti-Venom, I’m immediately torn. I want to read about Eddie Brock, but I’m not really interested in Anti-Venom.
As legitimate as they are, the concerns quickly evaporate. This issue sees a better depiction of Brock as Anti-Venom than any previous appearance of the new anti-hero has managed to muster. Inverted colors aside, he’s immediately recognizable as the same “lethal protector” a generation of fans grew up with, and if you fondly remember the period when Brock has his own series-of-miniseries, you may be in for a treat.
Writer Zeb Wells seems to be the man behind the reversion of Brock’s characterization, which has fluctuated wildly over the last few years, and although this isn’t quite up to Wells’ “New Mutants” best, he still knocks out a decent first issue. The issue’s twist comes from the “strangely convenient team-up” school of thinking, which is a little disappointing — regardless of what colors he’s wearing, Eddie Brock can carry a book by himself, thank you very much. Since this is the character’s first chance to escape the shadow of Spider-Man, it’d be preferable to see him operating alone, at least for one issue.
Artist Paulo Siqueira was last seen filling in on “American Son,” and while there was nothing wrong with those issues, his work certainly receives a visual boost from an improved coloring job by Fabio D’Auria, which adds substantial nuance to the pencils. The comic is full of action scenes, and Siqueira does particularly well in keeping a lot of similar characters visually distinct from one another.
Against my preconceptions, “New Ways to Live” looks as though it’ll turn out to be an enjoyable series. I was prepared to be indifferent to it, and perhaps that what leaves me pleasantly surprised, but as an Eddie Brock fan, I feel genuinely entertained by the character for the first time in a while. A few more issues like this and I might actually come around to the idea of Anti-Venom.