The conclusion to Rick Remender's epic run!
The Story - Venom #19 - Savage Six Part 2: Family
Flash Thompson stands revealed as Venom before Betty Brant, who slaps him in the face. Flash is eventually able to get Betty to calm down and agree to stay with him until the danger passes. Swinging towards his sister Jesse's apartment, Flash tries to call his mom, who is unable to answer as she is being attacked by the Human Fly. Flash arrives at his sister's apartment, leaving Betty on the balcony. Flash finds that Jack O' Lantern has already murdered Jesse's husband and has taken her. He also finds several of Jack O' Lantern's devil baby dolls, all rigged to explode. Flash quickly grabs Betty and swings out the apartment before it explodes.
Landing on a nearby rooftop, Flash spots Jack O' Lantern flying overhead with his sister and leaves Betty to go after him. During the course of their battle, Jack is able to throw Jesse off a building. Flash is able to save her, but while he was doing so, Toxin was able to snatch Betty.
Venom #20 - Savage Six Part 3: The Truth
Flash arrives at his mother's apartment, only to find that she is gone. He is then ambushed by Death Adder and the two begin to fight throughout the apartment complex. After a hard fought battle, Flash is finally able to snap Death Adder's neck. Flash then finds the Human Fly with his mother (still alive) in the clock tower. After ripping the Fly's wings off, Flash gets him to reveal Betty's location.
At an abandoned shipyard on Staten Island, the Crime-Master reveals his true identity to Betty: Bennett Brant, Betty's once dead brother!
Venom #21 - Savage Six Part 4: Best Laid Plans...
Bennett Brant explains to his sister how he was resurrected to carry on the legacy of the Crime-Master and how much he wanted to reunite with her. He is then interrupted by one of his henchmen, who informs him that Venom has arrived.
Meanwhile, Flash battles Megtak in the Crime-Master's lair. Megatak is eventually devoured by Toxin, who wants Venom for himself. Flash is eventually able to set Toxin on fire and rescue Eddie Brock from the flames. However, the Toxin symbiote is able to pull Eddie back at the last moment, burning him alive.
Flash then finds Betty, Crime-Master and Jack O' Lantern. Jack attacks Flash, but is quickly knocked into a vat of chemicals. Flash then heads for Crime-Master, who blasts Flash with a sonic gun and then a flame thrower. As Crime-Master prepares to finish him off, he is shot in the back by Betty, and is instantly killed. Flash takes Betty out of Crime-Master's hideout to a nearby rooftop. There, Betty tells Flash that she loves and forgives him for all that's happened but that she never wants to see him again.
Later, at a Secret Avengers meeting at the Lighthouse Station, Flash prepares to tell the team about what has transpired.
Venom #22 - Father's Day
Following a series of murders committed by Jack O' Lantern, Flash sets out to take him down once and for all. Flash eventually finds Jack's hideout in the sewer, where he and Jack duke it out (Jack wants revenge on Flash for the death of the Crime-Master, his "father"). Flash defeats Jack and decides to let him live, refusing to give in to the rage that consumed his own father for so long.
With these last four issues Rick Remender completed the most successful run any creator has ever had on a solo Venom title. Remender made Flash Thompson a hero we could all root for, even as he screwed up royally at every turn. Cullen Bunn has some mighty big shoes to fill.
The Savage Six arc was one that definitely kept you on your toes. We're so used to seeing Venom fail that I genuinely wasn't sure whether any of Flash's friends or family would make it out of the story alive. Eddie Brock's fate came as a surprise; I liked his new role as a symbiote hunter and was disappointed by his apparent death. The revelation that Crime-Master was Betty's brother was a cool call back to the classic Amazing Spider-Man #11 and one I wasn't expecting. His death at the hands of his sister was dark and fitting.
Venom has always been a good looking book and these last four issues were no exception. Lan Medina did a great job on the Savage Six, both with dynamic fight scenes as well as smaller character moments. Venom's fight with Death Adder looked particularly impressive. Similarly, Declan Shelvey does a great job on issue #22; his artwork being a perfect fit for Venom's dark tone.
Remender ends his historic run on Venom exactly the way we wanted him too; with rich characterization and high stakes action. If you haven't yet checked out his run, it's definitely worth picking up in trades!