After a rescue attempt ends in tragedy, Batman becomes consumed by his failure which also disrupts his performance. His judgment comes under questioning when he insists to go out following a lead with a serious injury. This leads to another failure, which happens to be a swift defeat at the hands of two-bit hoods. By the recommendation of a scientist, Batman decides to try a performance enhancer called Venom. The drug increases his strength and stamina but it comes with a price.-summary
Batman is a costumed vigilante, a superhero who fights for justice. He's a regular man with no superpowers. However, he's capable of performing extraordinary feat. But this man also has flaws and one of them has to be his limitations as a human being. Writer Dennis O' Neil managed to capture one of the most human portrayals of the character. Batman: Venom is a dark tale which uses the hazards concerning drug abuse as its foundation. In this case, the drug of choice happens to be steroids. I don't think the timing could have been better in retrospect when given the time period the story takes place, because steroids was turning into an issue then. However, this story doesn't take place with a character determined to meet trivial goals; such as trying to bench press heavier weight, or hit more homeruns. Instead, it takes place with a man who is heavily guilt stricken. If only Batman had been stronger, he could have saved a young girls life, so he believes. I find nothing trivial about that.
Batman: Venom which was released in 1991 is a five part series that originally took place in Legends of the Dark Knight 16-20. For those who aren't aware, Legends of the Dark Knight was sometimes set during Batman's earlier crimefighting career. The series made its debut in the late 1980's.
The series comes out swinging and the storytelling is very gripping almost from the very beginning. The reader witnesses Batman venturing through the Gotham sewer system searching for a young girl, who had been kidnapped and tied up with the water steadily rising. The narrative is excellent describing the dank and putrid surroundings, to the point where I could've visualized the events without the use of pictures. The impressive artwork by Trevor Von Eeden not only manages to capture the tone of the setting, but it also describes the feelings and thoughts going on with Batman himself later. The Dark Knight truly appears to have demons, and the fight with his inner self can even be seen through the costume.
Batman seems to cover all of the emotions of an addict. Initially, he's over-confident and appears to be invincible. He also exhibits irrational behaviour. Later, he shows obvious signs of desperation and weakness. The character development is very strong. It's hard not to feel for him, and it actually kind of hurts to see him like that.
At times, the narrative forces one to think, "who is really the villain here?". Although Batman is fighting against crooks, his actions can be too reckless and he appears to revel in his victims fear. On one occasion, he even hurls a refrigerator through the wall, in an attempt to stop criminals from making a getaway, completely disregarding the possibility of killing them. The storytelling can feel all too real at times. The characterization is also strong for the villains. Even though their true motives follows an all too familiar formula, they also have some depth and they're perfect examples of wicked human beings.
The plot is excellent during the first three chapters, then it goes through a steady decline. The storytelling becomes quite melodramatic and uses cheap superhero techniques to push the plot. Many events really weren't needed and I felt the story was somewhat hurt. Alfred was used very well as a side character in the very beginning to help Batman with his recovery. Unfortunately, he was later given too much of a role, and he would eventually become a very cheap plot device.
There are plenty of action scenes that worked really well in helping the character development for both the protagonist and antagonist. Later on, the violence would begin to escalate, and it would become quite disturbing with the brutal murders of women and other innocents. But the action would soon lose its luster, and border towards being completely ludicrous.
In the end, Batman: Venom would prove to be a story worthwhile. Although it would suffer from small mishaps, it would still deliver a riveting experience with the well use of its themes. I consider it to be among the best of the stories in the Batman mythos. It stacks up really well with some of my favorites such as The Killing Joke and Batman Year One. I highly recommend this to both loyal and casual fans. The graphic novel is 125 pages.
Further proof on the Batman quite possibly being the most human of all superheroes. Batman: Venom feels like a character study at times, by examining one man's obsession with becoming the best, and the abuse of a performance enhancing drug. Highly recommended. See full review here.
Originally presented in a 5-part story arc in “Legends of the Dark Knight” in the late 80’s, BATMAN VENOM collects the stories by writer Dennis O’Neil and artist Trevor Von Eeden. Those familiar with the Batman stories know “venom” is the drug that gives a normal man near-superhuman strength used by Bane in “Knightfall”. O’Neil introduced the fictional drug in “Richard Dragon Kung Fu Fighter” in the early 70’s and recast it … more
These are all words that describe Batman: Venom. After Batman fails to save a little girl from drowning before his very eyes, he begins to question his abilities. The little girl's father has the perfect solution, a new designer steroid called Venom that will build Batman's muscles as he sits doing detective work. He begins taking it with strictly good intentions, but soon finds himself turning his back on everything and everyone he holds dear, turning into the type of monster he fights. Soon he's … more