AVERAGE REVIEW SCORE:
2.5 out of 5
Bad Company II: The Bewilderness
(Art by Brett Ewins and Jim McCarthy)
The third book in the Bad Company series sees Danny Franks being tasked with rebuilding the decimated Bad Company (not the rock band) in order to hunt down a monster terrorising the Ghetto Worlds. However, his new recruits are far from trustworthy and the monster in none other than Kano, Bad Company's former leader.
Despite having read quite a bit of 2000AD over the years, this was my first experience with Bad Company. If you're unfamiliar with the setting, as I was, it's soon made clear that mankind is on the brink of extinction, holding onto a few squalid worlds as they're slowly defeated by the Krool Empire.
Now, some graphic novels can stand completely alone on their own merits, even if part of a larger series. Sadly, that isn't the case with this one and I felt that you'd have to already be invested in these characters to actually get much out of it. Since I'd never read about them before, for me this book didn't hold much interest. There's nothing wrong with it per se, it simply only really functions as part of a series that I've not read. If you have read some Bad Company, then you'll probably enjoy it.
2 out of 5
Venom vs. Carnage
(Art by Clayton Crain)
If you don't know the story of the symbiotes, here's a quick rundown; Venom was created when an alien symbiote, which had once been paired with Spiderman, joined with a man who hated Spiderman and Carnage was created when Venom spawned a new symbiote which joined with the demented serial killer Cletus Cassidy.
As this book begins Venom and Carnage are fighting (they don't like each other, by the way) over Carnage's immanent birthing of another symbiote. The baby monster is spawned in the police officer Pat Mulligan who then finds himself caught between Venom and Carnage. Ultimately, Pat's moral code and the support of Spiderman and the Black Cat allows him to control the symbiote's murderous urges, creating a new superhero called Toxin.
It's not all roses, mind you. Seeing Toxin's heroic nature causes Venom and Carnage to form an unlikely alliance against him. Perhaps the most poignant part of the story relates to Pat's life with his wife and newborn son, who he is forced to leave for fear of bringing his new enemies home to them.
The art in this book is stunning and what I enjoyed most about it was the combination of Crain's luscious artwork and Milligan's writing in creating some great sexual tension between Pat and the Black Cat. Good fun but not going to rock the foundations of the Marvel universe.
3 out of 5