And now we'll take a gander at the first(of many...) issues of Venom being released this month. There's really not much more to say, so I'll just get down to business.
Summary: Flash Thompson(Venom) is still in Las Vegas having stolen the Venom symbiote and broken up with his longtime girlfriend, Betty. While Flash is getting himself good and drunk to dull the pain of his life, the Red Hulk is rapidly approaching Vegas with the express purpose of taking Flash down and recapturing the Venom symbiote on the orders of Captain America himself. Meanwhile, an evil casino owner is collecting souls, X-23's blood, the Toxin symbiote and needs Ghost Rider to come to Vegas to complete his evil plot. Since it was her blood that was stolen, X-23 is also stalking around Vegas searching for the casino owner. The casino owner heads out to a massive demonic-looking instrument and begins to recite a spell. Ghost Rider(that new female one) senses what was going on and takes off, leaving Johnny Blaze behind. Johnny races after her, but unfortunately, Ghost Rider showing up during the reciting of the spell was the final piece needed to open a gateway to Hell itself. Meanwhile, Red Hulk has discovered Flash's location, causing Flash to don the Venom symbiote and fight back. While the two are fighting, they rapidly realize something was very wrong, as the skies have turned red and the ground had set ablaze. After the two are attacked by a massive demon, they decide to put their differences aside for the moment to try to figure out just what the hell was going on. From there we head back to the smug casino owner and discover that he was actually Blackheart(!), and that he intended on bringing Hell to Earth, thus stealing the domain from his father, Mephisto. Unfortunately for Blackheart, Johnny had managed to place a magical pendant on the outskirts of Vegas, preventing Hell from seeping all the way across the globe. Johnny then heads to Ghost Rider and frees her from the trap Blackheart had placed her in, telling her to see what she could do to shut the hell-gate down. From there, Venom and Red Hulk, X-23(who was making her own way through Vegas after the demonic invasion) and Ghost Rider simultaneously arrive at Blackheart's base, and are soon confronted by demons that represented their evil inner reflections.
Thoughts: Okay, here's the thing... This WAS a good comic! It really was. However, it wasn't as good as the past few issues of this series have been. Add the bloated cover price and I have to say, I was a bit letdown here... Anyway, this was a good, but not great, start to the Venom event of February. Here's hoping it picks up some going forward.
Score: 7 1/2 out of 10.
Is it wrong to say that Mephisto was awesome here?