Writer: Michael Avon Oeming
Artists: Mel Rubi, Brian Buccellato(c)
Eddie Brock becomes Venom. Spider-Man and Red Sonja renew their acquaintance with blades and webs. Khulan Gath covets even more power. J. Jonah Jameson does absolutely nothing, and Manhattan sinks deeper and deeper into Gath's spell-induced fantasy morass.
This mini-series could have been half-the-length had Oeming just allowed Red Sonja to remember her previous encounter with Spidey. Oh, but then we wouldn't get to see them fight. To what avail? Sonja and Spidey are not going to kill each other, and it's not amusing to see them duke it out. Rubi's and Buccellato's artwork during these scenes staggers one's vision, but honestly, why was the fight necessary?
The book would have read better had Sonja recognized Spidey and they immediately attacked Venom. That's the gist of the story. So get to it. The fight between Spidey and Sonja takes up eight pages. That's eight pages of Sonja and Spidey hitting each other for no good reason. It's not even a classic bout. It's not a fight that people have been considering. It's not like "I wonder who would win in a fight: Batman or Captain America?" Who besides Oeming ever wondered who would win in a fight: Spider-Man or Red Sonja?
When Venom does make his entrance and Spidey and Sonja do team up, the book pick ups speed immensely. Spidey makes with the quips. Sonja focuses on her true enemy, and she even gets in a couple of unwitting wisecracks at Spidey's expense. I was also pleased that Sonja treated Venom like the loser that he is, and Gath killing all the redheads is a nice little glimpse at his hatred and fear of Red Sonja. Now that the decompressed preliminaries are in the can, Spider-Man and Red Sonja just might turn out to be half-way decent.
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