Marvel are going heavy on the nostalgia-based mini-series at the moment – and Venom: Lethal Protector is the latest five issue series to lean on the power of old school comics charm to lure readers in.

What’s great about Venom: Lethal Protector #1 is that it takes away so many layers of convoluted crap that have built up in recent years; not just around Venom, but around the Symbiotes in general. All of this nonsense has dulled and complicated what should be a fairly straightforward character and species, to the point that it’s no longer fun to read Symbiote-based stories for the most part.

In this tale, Venom is attacked by some rival, Z-list supervillains who he makes short work of. This attracts the attention of a further low-rent bad guy – who might just be able to take down the Lethal Protector.

What’s good about this issue is that it really does take Venom back to basics – or at least as basic as it comes after he assumed the more anti-villain aspects of his personality. Though purporting to be set in the past, the anachronistic filming of one scene on a phone sort of pokes a hole in that angle – but it’s a necessary plot contrivance to move some pieces into place.

That aside, this is a surprisingly dense read with plenty going on; it’s nicely drawn and Venom co-creator David Michelinie seems to be having fun revisiting the spirit of his 90s work. It’s not exactly unmissable stuff, but it’s fun and a nicely nostalgic throwback to much simpler times.

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