Written by Dan Slott
Art by John Romita Jr
There's something about getting these ASM comics "weekly" that I both like and dislike. The story wraps up pretty quickly, allowing you to get the entire thing with little to no wait, whereas you would typically take half a year for the full story, but, for those same reasons, it leaves very little time to 'digest' the stories, leaving no room to mull over or wonder what's coming next. You end up getting the story and then tossing it aside as you queue up the next one a week later, giving each issue an almost inconsequential feeling compared to monthlies, if that makes any sense.
As such, there's been very little time to really appreciate the last issue and contemplate or discuss Norman Osborn and the other Thunderbolts sitting on Peter's couch in his apartment as he comes home, as we saw for the cliffhanger last week. In fact, it just ended and we had previews up the very next day showing us some of the stuff from this issue, compounding the unimportance of the first setup issue and it's non-ending.
Basically, any tension or build up was thrown out the window the minute the last page came about and it was proven less than a week later that that cliffhanger was a fakeout and Norman knows nothing about Peter's secret identity. He merely connects Peter's photos with Spider-Man and wants him to show him how to find him. When Peter refuses, Venom eats some photos and tears up some couches and they leave.
Speaking of which, Venom doesn't seem like the Venom from Ellis' Thunderbolts run, but few can capture the insanity of Ellis, so this version is close enough. Also, Venom knows he comes from Spider-Man and that Spidey was his original host, but has no idea who Spider-Man is either.
Interestingly enough, Peter knows about his deal with the devil, Mephisto, and mentions how what he did still seems to be working when Norman and Venom show they don't know who Spider-Man really is.
The rest of the issue deals with Peter beating up cops and giving Norman some smack talk as Spider-Man while Venom attacks the Feist shelter, where he "felt" his former host, Eddie Brock, who he confused as being Spider-Man when he first felt the presence. As soon as Venom touches Brock, he feels immense pain and then Eddie begins turning white and we get the Anti-Venom preview shot from several months back to end the issue.
Verdict - Check It. Maybe if the whole Anti-Venom thing hadn't been spoiled months in advance, this might have been more interesting, but this entire story has been just going through the motions, hitting the beats you'd expect as it goes along with no real surprises along the way. Not bad at any point, but nothing 'amazing' either.