Donny Cates is one of the current Big Things in comics, and I generally like his work.
So, yeah, he’s writing Venom for Marvel right now. As such, I read the first trade, subtitled Rex.
Eddie Brock and the symbiote are united again, and the symbiote is, well, not sleeping very well. It’s been having very weird nightmares involving alien languages, and Eddie’s only way to get a good night’s sleep is with some powerful anti-psychotic pills that quiet the symbiote’s voice. But then the dreams seem to intrude into Eddie’s waking life, first when the symbiote goes a bit nuts on a petty crook/lesser supervillain, and then when he meets a former soldier who tells Eddie something he didn’t know: Venom is not the first symbiote to ever get to the Earth, and when he’s captured, the man he meets claims to be an earlier host for a symbiote. This fellow, named Rex Strictland, asks Eddie some pointed questions, forcing Eddie to realize that there’s a lot Eddie doesn’t know about his own symbiote.
And then, as a favor to Strictland of sorts, Eddie accidentally frees a giant, ancient symbiote that claims to be the god of symbiotes. This being has a lot of power, and since the Avengers are busy, the only people around to even try to stop it are Eddie and one Miles Morales.
Cates does some interesting things here, tying the symbiotes to Marvel history going back billions of years, particularly to Jason Aaron’s run on Thor. That said, I can’t say I’m much of a Venom fan. I’ve heard good things about this series, and while these initial six issues were fine, they also didn’t strike me as required reading. I can’t say why. I just can’t seem to really get into Venom as a protagonist. 8 out of 10 winged symbiotes.