The first volume of this series made a good case for following the ongoing adventures of Eddie Brock and his symbiote even though I’ve never really bothered with that before. This second volume furthers that case in a way that pushes the series into some dark and disturbing territory. It starts off with Eddie in the custody of The Maker (a.k.a. Ultimate Reed Richards) all because his symbiote’s mind has disappeared following its battle with Knull. Before he escapes The Maker’s custody, Eddie finds out that his symbiote was on the run for three weeks and was finally caught when he showed up at his dad’s house in San Francisco. So it’s time for Brock the younger to visit Brock the elder to get some answers and open up old wounds in the process. Maybe even get some new wounds as well as Eddie has to deal with his new younger brother Dylan who wants his help to kill their dad.
At Donny Cates’ spotlight panel at WonderCon earlier this year, he mentioned that he wrote the issues in this collection while he was going through a divorce. It really shows as much of this volume has to deal with the uncomfortable relationship that Eddie and his symbiote have found themselves in. It’s to the writer’s credit that he finds interesting ways of addressing this via interactions with The Maker, Dylan, and Eddie’s Dad. While the story is mainly about how much it sucks to be Eddie Brock at the moment it does so in a way that engages your sympathy for the character rather than simply club you over the head with that idea.
That’s thanks to the art as well which is really strong after the opening two issues from Iban Coello. No offence intended to the artist, as the first two issues are solid superhero fare. The work from Ryan Stegman and Joshua Cassara in the four issues which follow really do an impressive job of pushing the book into horror territory. From the scenes where Eddie loses control of his symbiote when he meets his dad, to the later conversations he has with it in his mind, there are scenes here which will likely make it difficult for you to sleep if you decide to read this before going to bed. This may be some real dark stuff here, but it still makes for a gripping read.