Who is the new Venom?
Spider-Man swings through the city trying to get the hang of webslinging until he runs out of web fluid. Later at school, him and Ganke get into trouble for messaging each other during class.
That night, Venom destroys the Oscorp building where Peter Parker got bit by the genetically altered spider that gave him his powers. Meanwhile in their dorm, Ganke reveals to Miles that he used his Lego fund to buy Miles the ingredients he needs to make more web fluid.
At the DailyBugle.com offices, Detective Maria Hill questions J. Jonah Jameson and Robbie Robertson about the death of reporter Betty Brant. Jameson tells Hill the truth; that Betty told him she knew who Spider-Man was and wanted to sell the story to him, to which he refused. Jameson offers Hill his full cooperation.
As Miles Morales and his family are having dinner, they hear a knock on their door. Miles' father, Jefferson, answers it and is ambushed by a reporter and camera crew who want to interview him about how he took down a Hydra militia. Angered, Jefferson pushes the reporter out of his house and slams the door. Ganke enters the house soon after as Jefferson grabs his coat and heads outside. Jefferson confronts the reporter and asks her how she knew where he lived. They are all then attacked by Venom, who believes that Jefferson is Spider-Man.
Miles' Mom, Rio Morales, leaves her apartment to pursue her husband, telling Miles to stay put and Ganke to go home before she goes. After hearing a loud noise, Miles and Ganke look out the window and spot Venom attacking Jefferson. Miles changes into Spider-Man and, after being given some web fluid Ganke whipped up, attacks Venom, who is surprised to discover that Jefferson is not Spider-Man. During the fight, Jefferson helps Miles by hitting Venom with the T.V. crew's camera and is injured by Venom in the process. Spider-Man is eventually able to defeat Venom using his venom blast (irony!), causing Venom to retreat into the sewer. After fleeing the police Miles arrives just in time to say goodbye to his mom as she accompanies Jefferson in an ambulance. As she leaves, Miles breaks down into Ganke's arms, blaming himself for what happened.
Gwen Stacy runs into Mary Jane Watson, who to her surprise is working at a coffee shop. After the two spot Spider-Man fighting Venom on television, they quickly leave to help him.
Meanwhile, Ganke tries to console Miles by saying that what happened to his father was not his fault. They are eventually joined by Gwen and M.J. who offer their help. The four head back into Miles' apartment, unaware that they are being watched by Detective Hill. In another part of the city, Venom emerges from the sewer and starts killing civilians.
At Miles' apartment, Gwen and M.J. explain what Venom is and its connection to Peter Parker. They are then interrupted by Detective Hill, who has deduced that Miles is Spider-Man and pressures him to come clean. Before Miles can answer, Hill is driven out by Gwen and M.J.
Meanwhile, Venom attacks Brooklyn General looking for Miles' father...
On M.J.'s advice, Miles runs outside and tries to convince Hill that he is not Spider-Man, but the two are interrupted when a police officer informs Hill that Venom is attacking the hospital. Hill tells Miles to go and save as many people as he can.
Venom, confused, tears up the hospital demanding that he be given Spider-Man. Spider-Man eventually bursts in and attacks Venom, who is able to rip off one of Spidey's eye pieces right in front of Rio, who now knows that her son is Spider-Man. Rio attempts to help her son by shooting Venom, but is unable to prevent him from absorbing Spider-Man. As Rio pleads with Venom to release her son, Spider-Man is able to burst out of Venom using his venom blasts, dispersing the symbiote and revealing Venom to be Doctor Conrad Marcus. The police open fire on Marcus, shooting him dead. Unfortunately, one of the bullets hit Miles' mother, who dies in his arms. Her dying words are for Miles not to reveal his secret to his father.
At the Roxxon Corporation, Mr. Roxxon vows to find out what Marcus was doing with the Venom symbiote in the first place, who Spider-Man is, and why they cannot make a Spider-Man of their own.
The next morning Miles wakes up at Ganke's house, and, still groggy, walks into the kitchen expecting to find his mother. When he spots Ganke and Ganke's mom at the table, he runs back into his room and tears up his costume, declaring "no more!" repeatedly.
Although I have issues with the ending, Venom War was a good story. I liked the way Brian Michael Bendis is combining Miles' world with Peter Parker's by bringing in Mary Jane and Gwen Stacy to give him a few pointers. It's good to know we'll continue to see these two characters on a regular basis. The relationship between Miles and Ganke continues to be one of my favourite aspects of this book. Ganke's failed attempt at creating web fluid added some much needed levity to what was a pretty dark storyline. And as always, Sara Pichelli kicked ass on the artwork. Pichelli effectively captured the horror of Rio Morales' death, and her artwork was all that was needed to understand Miles' anguish on the last page of issue #22.
The biggest disappointment of Venom War was Venom himself. While the revelation that it was Conrad Marcus made sense, the reveal came off as underwhelming since we did not know the character all that well to begin with. And while the story was called "Venom War" there was not really any "war" to speak of. The death of Miles' mom caught me by surprise; while her death will certainly impact Miles' journey, her death may have had more of an impact on the reader had we gotten to know her a little better.