This week’s entry is the thrilling conclusion of the “Venom 2099 Saga”, as I’ve deemed it, taking place in the pages of Spider-Man 2099. I’ve already reviewed issues 35, 36, and 37, and to catch you up: Venom is back, mostly liquid and secreting acid wherever he goes, he’s captured Xina and Dana, Miguel O’Hara’s dueling love interests, and in a horrible twist of fate, the SHIELD patrol’s bullets, meant for Venom, passed through his amorphous body and killed Dana!
So the climactic issue 38 of Spider-Man 2099 starts off with Spidey cradling Dana’s lifeless body, and I’m going to say right now before we get into the thick of things, Andrew Wildman’s pencils on this, while perhaps a bit “90’s” (in the Jim Lee/Rob Liefeld vein of intense, squinty features), are, to me, the definitive look to a Spider-Man 2099 story, and I’m glad to see he’s doing this issue after his absence in the previous issue. Spider-Man, in grieving, literally lashes out at a SHIELD agent, smashing his visor. Further demonstrating his rage, Spidey declares that “[Venom is] dead. Wherever he is, he’s dead.”
Elsewhere, Miguel O’Hara’s mom, who gave us a nice suicide fake, tells Gabriel (another party to the Miguel/Xina/Dana love triangle) that Dana is dead, and Gabriel punches out a TV screen, though in an unintentionally funny twist, him screaming “DANA!” is presented as a sound effect rather than dialogue. Gabriel exits, likely en route to his own revenge on Venom.
We next find Venom, posing all “Spider-Character”-like (unnecessarily deep squats), as a warning goes out about the threat he poses. In Miguel’s Alchemax office, he and some Alchemax scientists study a piece of Venom they found, and discover it reacts to sound, as well as historic references to the “Heroic Age” Venom, meaning this Venom and modern day Venom are ostensibly the same. Tyler Stone awakens from his coma (another plot extending beyond these issues), to be met by Jake Gallows (Punisher 2099), who doesn’t have the heart to tell him Dana is dead. In another plot thread that will likely set up the next few issues, Vulture 2099 captured some girl (Kasey Nash?) and meets up with Goblin 2099.
Miguel, learning of Venom’s weakness to sonic attacks, has the 1984-esque ubiquitous speaker system start playing high frequency noises (so high, in fact, only Venom can hear them). With Venom weakened, Spider-Man 2099 strikes, including severing the little spider shaped pouch that rests on the outside of Venom’s body. Venom begins to go all melty from the noise (doubly so because of his acidic secretion) and Spider-Man unleashes his rage, pummeling the prone Venom. Even as the person underneath (which makes little sense, we’ve seen Venom dissolve other bodies and be liquid himself) emerges and begs for mercy, Miguel, overcome by rage for Dana’s death, shockingly resolves to kill him any way. As Spider-Man goes to choke the life out of whoever is underneath the Venom symbiote, he stops and murmurs… “You?” and does that thing where a Spider-Man mask looks sad. Who is it?
I know I said I only got 35-38, but I had to know who, so issue 39, next week!