After the Marvel Civil War ended, Tony Stark found himself in a situation where he couldn’t even trust his own Avengers teammates. The kind of thing will happen when you tear meat loaf-sized rift in the underwear and cape of the super hero community.
Because of his actions over the past few years, it’s safe to say that Iron Man won’t be invited to the New Avengers’ Rock Band party anytime soon.
However, what if the world was in need of Stark’s Avengers to work alongside the New Avengers? Or worse yet, what if Stark was forced to trust his own teammates?
This is the basic premise of “Venom Bomb,” a trade paperback that collects issues seven through 11 of the “Mighty Avengers.” From the cover however, you’d never think that story has more to do with Iron Man, Sentry and Doctor Doom.
This is probably the biggest problem that hurts the collections, throwing the reader a curveball before they even open up the book.
Once they do though, Brian Michael Bendis pens an incredibly witty story that feels like a sitcom. It seems that someone has launched a load of symbiote goo at New York, turning thousands of New Yorkers into symbiotes [imagine that Castrol GTX Oil commercial about the sludge times a thousand, but with teeth and considerably pissed off] that the Mighty Avengers can’t stop by themselves. Sadly, this encounter only lasts for a small section of the tale and is over rather quickly. A true shame considering how cool the concept was and what manages to transpire in just a few pages.
After that, the tale turns into something else, as Stark finds out who is responsible for the “terrorist” attack on his country. Soon after, the Avengers find their way abroad, fighting hordes of enemies in an effort to find out the truth. While this isn’t Bendis’ best work, it’s still funny and thanks to brilliant splash pages by Mark Bagley, the collection becomes an entertaining one, despite so much happening in such a small amount of time.
Seeing the back and forth banter between Stark and Doom is also hilarious, especially when you consider the world is in danger of ending. The same thing goes for the god-like Sentry, whose power is only equaled by his emotional instability. Watching Iron Man babysit him after they find themselves stuck in the mud is a treat as well. These are perhaps the high points of the tale as far as the writing is concerned, but they are bright enough to induce smirks of satisfaction throughout.
However, despite its glimpses of his trademark snark, anyone looking to find the next great Bendis trade will be somewhat disappointed when it comes to the overall depth in “Venom Bomb.” Nonetheless, anyone in the need of a quick diversion before they hop into something meatier will find this collection a moderately satisfying one. Even when missing the mark, Bendis’ B-game is better than most writers in the industry and when combined with sparkling visuals from Bagley, you can do a lot worse than this.