Venom #18: Flash Comes Clean

Flash Thompson is an alcoholic addicted to a symbiote, but he finally makes headway into his girl problems.

Andy Hunsakerby Andy Hunsaker

Venom #18

Rick Remender got some help from Cullen Bunn with the writing of Venom #18, and the result is a pretty intense issue ending with something we've been waiting for since the beginning – Flash Thompson finally lets Betty Brant in on his secret.

Flash has never really been a guy who has had his life together, being a bully, an alcoholic, an amputee soldier and all, but lately, everything's gone ridiculously pear-shaped for him. He's off the wagon, he's also addicted to the power and mobility granted to him by an alien symbiote, his abusive father just died, he's being blackmailed by a nasty customer called The Crime-Master, and he's kept it all secret from the woman he loves – enough so that he even tried to break up with her to protect her from it. That pissed her off so much that she re-broke up with him with even more finality.

But now, a failed hit on the Crime-Master has resulted in the creep called Jack O'Lantern to target Betty in revenge – right after she's done complaining to Peter Parker about Flash's erratic behavior. And it's up to Venom to save her from the dogged pursuit of not only the ol' flamin' pumpkinhead, but a crazy awesome bad guy named Megatak – described as "a video game from the '80s come to life" and "a living boss-level baddie" – and Eddie Brock back in goo-monster form – this time, the Toxin symbiote.

It's a mad scramble around town with Betty caught in the crossfire, and the only way somebody with Venom's reputation can get a reporter like her to trust him is to come clean… and we're left to await the next issue to get her reaction – will she still be dead set on hating Flash, or will she understand?

It's a really cool issue to read, progressing the plot to a fevered pitch, and the art from Lan Medina is pretty snazzy in its madness. Venom remains one of the cooler books out there, about a fascinating train wreck of a hero.