Venom #14: Ghost Hulk Symbiote Rider!
RED GHOST HULK VENOM RIDER. That's what you need to know to encourage you to pick up Venom #14, the conclusion of the "Circle of Four" arc that has seen Flash Thompson, Laura Kinney, Thaddeus Ross and Alejandra Blaze being sent to hell and forced to make a deal with Mephisto in order to survive and fight the devil's evil son Blackheart before he turns the world outside of Las Vegas into hell, too. As if all that crazy demon action wasn't enough already. But at the end of last issue, we saw some crazy monstrosity driving a motorcycle up the side of a building and we weren't entirely sure what it was.
Now we know. GHOST RED VENOM HULK RIDER. Buy it. See it. Make a Heroclix figure of it at once.
In a last ditch effort to put the kibosh on Blackheart's plans, Flash Thompson gave the symbiote over to the Red Hulk, who was also possessed by the Spirit of Vengeance, and he's riding a crazy big motorcycle and he proceeds to take the fight right to Blackheart's no-mouth-havin' face! Take that, you big spiky demon jerk! Sure, that leaves a legless Flash and a pissy Alejandra to find their way through Hell Vegas to try and help X-23 fight Blackheart's creepy demon lover Mama Oyle to save Johnny Blaze from being eaten alive and to try and flush all this nasty occult crap back down to Mephisto's realm where it belongs, but SYMBI-GHOST RULK RIDER! All my RULK RIDERS! Meet me outside! Y'all gon' make me lose my mind up in here!
Ahem. It seems perhaps I already have. The basic tenet I am attempting to impart in this critical analysis of the issue at hand is that it is quite enjoyable and entertaining to see the triumverate of iconic characters merging to form one unholy trinity, so to speak, and engage in perilous combat to determine the fate of existence. It is, indeed, time to party up.
Tony Moore's rendering of hell on earth is absolutely hellish. Nightmarishly hellish. Uncomfortable, creepy, nasty, skeevy, chaotic and hot – just like it should be. This entire story concocted by Rick Remender, Jeff Parker and Rob Williams has been chaotic and nightmarish as well, just like it should be when you're telling horror stories about hell. Venom #14 opens with a woman being eaten alive by demons. It features its heroes pointing guns at each other and finds defeat in the aftermath of victory, leaving the Circle of Four heroes doomed to owe Mephisto a favor at some point in the future – a doom only Daimon Hellstrom can detect. This whole arc seemed like a diversion at first, but really picked up intensity and is now this really dark, ugly chapter in the dark, ugly histories of all of these pseudo-heroes.
It's pretty cool stuff.
And RHOSTED GRYMBIULK! … okay, now I'm just reaching.