Venom, a symbiotic alien, is one of Marvel's most popular and deadly villains, spun out of the Spider-Man franchise. This volume opens in the snowy far north, with Venom jumping from host to host, killing anyone it finds after destroying a military installation near the Arctic Circle. But Venom is not just a hunter-it's being hunted. First there's "The Suit," a "man in black" type who's always one step behind Venom. Then there are Vic and Frankie, agents of some shadowy organization that has technology that will allow the host to control Venom. In addition, the toughest X-Man, Wolverine, is on the scene, possibly by coincidence. Titanic battles and wanton property damage ensue as the characters chase after one another. A flashback reveals further complications involving the Fantastic Four and explaining what some of the hunters are after. The structure is clever, and the art reflects this ingenuity. The flashback section (drawn by Herrera) is angular and slightly abstract, while Medina's work in the first half is more rounded and three-dimensional. Both artists share a manga-ish, cartoony style, which perhaps makes this story's extreme violence somewhat easier to stomach and helps overcome a weak script. (Oct.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.