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Spider-Man: Birth of Venom (Graphic Novel) Paperback – 4 Apr 2007


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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Marvel Comics; Direct Ed edition (4 April 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0785124985
  • ISBN-13: 978-0785124986
  • Product Dimensions: 15.6 x 1.3 x 26 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 192,716 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mr Comix on 30 July 2009
Format: Paperback
This collection is hard to describe.
The book tries to show the birth of venom, into the world of marvel, including trying to show the influance the black suit had whilst on spidey. However this originally was done over a number of issues of "the amazing spider-man", and "spectacular spider-man". As such there are a great number of story lines, touched upon and confrontations not concluded properly.
Reading this you feel as though you are getting a small part of a large story, which of course you are, as such, getting to the end of the book leaves you feeling unsatisfied. Sure the battles with venom are fun, and venom is supposed to be the main focus of the book, but it is just too hard to get over the many incomplete stories touched upon.
If you are looking for a good venom story, I would recommend "Ultimate Venom", or "venom vs carnage". Alternativly for a more satisfying origin of venom, try "venom: dark origin".
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By S. Bentley VINE VOICE on 3 July 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
When I was a kid and Marvel UK was putting out reprints of the Spider-man comics, one of the subplots was Spidey's alien costume. Because I lived in the middle of nowhere and had only a limited amount of pocket money which would depending on my whims be spent on a variety of titles in rotation, from Transformers to Star Wars to the Beezer, I only read bits and pieces of the storyline and it remained one of those things that seemed very cool to me as a kid and that I really wanted to read in full.

Birth of Venom seemed like my chance. And to be fair, it's probably a fair representation. The story goes from the point in Secret Wars where Spidey replaces his tattered red and blue pyjamas with his living suit and then follows his return to Earth, his increasingly violent nature and discovery that there is more to the costume and then jumps to Eddie Brock and the birth of Venom. So it pretty well lays out the saga.

But.

It isn't comprehensive. We get selected issues from the time Spidey was wearing the costume and in the stories we get, there is a running subplot about the Hobgoblin, which is pretty compelling in itself but which is not the focus of the tale so is not resolved. We then jump forward to the period when Eddie Brock became Venom, there's a big shift in Peter's lifestyle, insofar as he is now married to MJ and this is only covered by a text page. Obviously Marvel couldn't put five or so years worth of comics into one book, but because of that the book isn't a smooth read.

It's a quibble, I know. Generally the quality of stories is rather good. The art style differs quite comprehensively with contributions by Ron Frenz, Rick Leonardi and Todd McFarlane, to name but three, but it is generally rather good too. And if you haven't read the saga of the alien costume, this does a pretty good job of giving you the history of this element in Spider-man's life.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mark J. L. Mariassy on 11 Aug 2007
Format: Paperback
The whole alien costume thing ran over a span of a good few years and therefore a good fiew issues and so it was inevitable that a telling of the storey that was going to be reasonably compact was going to be unsatisfying to a degree.
Don't get me wrong, it does what it says on the tin and, to be fair, you get more that I perhaps originally anticipated, but I guess it's how it's all brought together that means that the whole is not really the some of it's parts.
For instance, you get reprints of entire issues that involve a Spidey-Hobgoblin-Jack o Lanturn arc that just finishes because, I imagine, the latter parts have no connection to the alien costune saga. However, the inclusion of the issues of this arc that are reprinted here seem soley based on the fact that Spidey is wearing the alien costume. Apart from the odd panel where Peter comments on how tired he's feeling and how weird the properties of the costume are - that's it. Also there's the fact that Spidey gets rid of the Symbiote, puts on the old red and blues, and then we find that a bit later, he's back in a 'normal' version of the black costume without that decision ever being shown or explained.
So, it feels like the inclusion criteria are a bit unevenly administered and having pages or a couple of pages from issues here and there out of context does spoil it a bit - but most of the full issues that are included are great.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Cleric on 19 Oct 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I appreciated the fast delivery and the quality of the product.

Exactly what I anticipated - Thank you!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 18 reviews
40 of 42 people found the following review helpful
Excellent background for "Spider-Man 3" movie 31 Mar 2007
By Todd Grotenhuis - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book contains a wonderful history of Spider-Man's earliest dealings with the alien costume that eventually became Venom. What makes this book better than earlier trade-paperbacks is that it's so much more comprehensive: You don't only get the "Saga of the Alien Costume," but also the David Michelinie / Todd McFarlane stories introducing Venom -- plus a couple of extra issues, to boot! Prospective buyers be aware, though, that this compilation does not include *all* of the full issues listed in the Amazon description (also listed on the back cover of the book) -- some of the issues only have a page or two that dealt with the Alien Costume or Venom. Also, the storytelling and artwork is considerably more simplistic in the early issues (as comics tended to be, in the early 1980's), but they do tell the full background of one of Spidey's most popular villains. All in all, you get:

Marvel Secret Wars #8 (two-and-a-half pages + cover)
Amazing Spidey #252-259 (full issues + covers)
Fantastic Four #274 (two pages)
Spectacular Spider-Man #100 (4 pages: not listed on the back cover, but I don't think these pages are part of any of the other comics)
Web of Spider-Man #1 (full issue + cover)
Amazing Spidey #298 (one page), #299 (two pages),
Amazing Spidey #300, 315-317 (full issues + covers)
Amazing Spidey Annual #25 (ten pages)
"Venom" entry from "Who's Who in the Marvel Universe" (three pages)

As you can see, even with a few pages' excerpts from some comics, you still get an awful lot to read (350 pages!), and regardless of the quality of the early parts, they are all loads of fun. Anyone wanting to read the "birth" and early history of Venom will love this: Highest recommendation!
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
When Venom wasn't a joke 7 April 2007
By Babytoxie - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
The trade paperback SPIDER-MAN: BIRTH OF VENOM expands on the 1991 trade SPIDER-MAN: THE SAGA OF THE ALIEN COSTUME, collecting either complete or partial stories from Secret Wars #8, Amazing Spider-Man #252-259, 298-300, & 315-317; Fantastic Four #274; and Web of Spider-Man #1. Contained here is everything you need to know about how Peter Parker's black and white "costume" from the Beyonder's Battleworld became one of his greatest foes. From the brief initial appearance of the costume in Secret Wars through its evolution to a full-fledged villain, it's all here, plus appearances from Puma, Jack O'Lantern, Kingpin, the Rose, Black Cat, and the Fantastic Four. To me, these are the only Venom stories worth reading, as they came before the character's overexposure and inexplicable transformation into something of a "good guy".

The first half of the book follows Peter's discovery of the true nature of his costume, the majority of which is by writer Tom Defalco and artist Ron Frenz. Even though I have read these stories many times, the fun and suspense were still there. Defalco's use of expository dialogue and thought balloons are excessive, but the writing is no less solid for it. Frenz' art is superb, strongly resembling the work of Frank Miller at the time, while successfully incorporating Spidey's unique fighting style and general quirkiness as defined by Steve Ditko.

The second half of the book contains the Venom stories written by David Michelinie and illustrated by Todd McFarlane. This includes the introduction of Eddie Brock and the development of Venom as a major Spidey villain. These guys were certainly the most prominent creators during this period of Spider-Man's history, but I feel that more work is included from them than necessary. This collection could have easily ended with ASM #300, which features the initial battle with Venom and Spidey's return to the red and blue costume. The stories that follow aren't really what I'd call the "birth" of Venom - just more pages of battles.

For me, the best part of this collection is the work from Defalco and Frenz. But overall, the whole book works well - certainly a testament to the creative abilities of all involved.
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
A good source for info but not much else 9 Jun 2007
By Nicolas D. Jones - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Perhaps I had overly high hopes for this collection, and to be fair, the "Birth of Venom" does exactly what it states: it explains and presents the origins of the black suit symbiote and its merger with Eddie Brock to become Venom. But as thankful as I am for those inclusions, this collection suffers from an incredibly disjointed, thrown-together feeling and approach. As a few others have mentioned, some "issues" are only one or two pages thrown in there to move the story along. It's disappointing since it gives the reader of something bigger going on, but without knowing the full story. On that same subject, 1/2 of Venom himself, Eddie Brock, is not even mentioned until his full appearance as Venom, despite being in previous issues. Why they didn't just throw a page or two of him in there, like they did earlier on, is baffling and undermines a big part of who Venom is and why he does what he does. Sure, he explains it through flashbacks, but flashbacks aren't quite the same as reading it in "realtime." Another big problem with the collection, and probably one that just couldn't be worked around, was the inclusion of issues with no closure. The symbiote suit, much more than the character "Venom", was the focus here, but several issues throw in plenty of villains, such as Kingpin, the Rose, Jack O'Lanter, and Hobgoblin, but never reaches a conclusion with any of them really. The issues at the time weren't focused on Venom, so their inclusions and conclusions feel especially jarring. A big part of the Spider-man mythos is the development of these stories and its characters, so it's a tad frustrating wondering what happened to Hobgoblin, or why Hydro-man suddenly popped up. The inclusion of a few issues that don't even HAVE any developments of the symbiote suit undermines the inclusion of the ones that do, as they could have been exercised in favor of more plot and drama.

Speaking of which, while the collection doesn't exactly flow, it does have some great old-time Spider-man moments that were a wonderful reminder of a time long passed. In this volume, Spider-man dates The Black Cat, Mary Jane confesses her knowledge that Peter's Spider-man, and Peter and Aunt May have a spat over college. But, like the rest of the volume, these dramas never reach fruition, but they're interesting scenarios.

Also, the art, as some mentioned, is a mixed bag. It goes from rather poor (early on) to phenomenal (later on.) Having read up on Todd McFarlane, it's interesting to see how his style evolved. With issues jumping forward by months and years, it's shocking to see his Spider-man go from lackluster to the artistic Renaissance man that established McFarlane as a power player in comics. Some of the later issues have poses and action scenes that are almost frame worth, and it's absolutely jarring to compare that to the earlier issues in this volume.

But, even that has its problems. Venom himself has evolved artistically since his introduction, and the Venom in this collection is a very rough version of the character. While he went on to be really overexposed later, he wasn't quite developed enough in this collection either. Visually, he just starts off as a bigger version of the black Spider-man with a toothy grin. Later, his teeth get sharper, he gets more developed, and looks much better... but as good as Todd draws him, Venom truly reached his peak later on, sporting a bluish hue to his costume and getting his trademark tongue and green spit. Those later incarnations are not included in this collection, which would have been a nice touch to see how he developed.

In the end, this collection does its job, but I can't help but feel it could have been done better. I can understand that trying to cram almost 10 years of development into one volume can be daunting, and cuts had to be made, but some inclusions and omissions are baffling, and the complete story feels distinctively lacking. If you're a Venom fan, I can give this a recommendation, but you'd do better reading "Maximum Carnage" or "Venom: Lethal Protector".
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
The Venom flows 30 April 2007
By N. Durham - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
With Spider-Man 3 looming, fans will finally get to see Venom on the big screen. However, for those who have less experience with the old Spidey comics, this TPB serves a big purpose. Spider-Man: Birth of Venom showcases the original stories that have been condensed and adapted for the mega budget film, as this large TPB focuses on the seperation of Peter Parker and the black, alien costume that turns out to be a symbiote. Soon after, the symbiote bonds with the disgruntled Eddie Brock, and Venom is born. Like previous reviewers have stated, these issues were crafted before Venom was massively overexposed and re-written as a dark hero. This TPB showcases Venom as the best Spider-Man villain since the Green Goblin from the Lee and Conway days, and features a variety of talent including a pre-Spawn Todd MacFarlane, legendary John Byrne, and the great Mike Zeck. Some of the dialogue and writing, namely from Tom DeFalco, is a bit dated, but the good definitely outweighs the bad here. All in all, Birth of Venom is a significant chapter in the aching Spider-Man saga, and this TPB should definitely be given a look by Spidey and/or Venom fans new and old.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
A great collection of Venom's beginnings 29 Mar 2007
By Brian Reaves - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
If you're interested in preparing for the Spider-Man 3 movie with a little Venom history, this is the place to start. From the very first appearance of Spidey's black costume during the Secret War (the first and best) to a genuine knock-down-drag-out battle involving Venom and Spider-Man, this collection has a good start. Keep in mind though, it's only a start.

If you already own the collection "Spiderman Versus Venom", you don't really need this one. There are several crossover issues from both books. And Venom really doesn't play a strong part until about halfway through this collection. We do get a lot of backstory about how the symbiote costume started controlling Peter and how he ultimately rid himself of it before it joined with Eddie Brock. To me, though, Eddie Brock's Venom makes the whole thing worth it. This was before he became the tamer, good guy version of himself later in the comics. This was Eddie when all he wanted to do was eat Spider-Man's liver and such. He was a genuinely scary villain, and probably the best foe Spidey faced during the 90's.

I have no doubt there will be a volume 2 of this coming out later because of the abrupt end we have. Don't get me wrong, the story is finished, but there was a lot more history between these two later on.

Again, a great collection to get you the Venom backstory. Just remember you'll be flipping quite a few pages before he actually shows up.
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