To be fair, I had every expectation going into this new launch that it was going to be an ultra-violent action story made to somehow be a vehicle for an anti-hero who’s nowhere near as geeky as Peter Parker but manages to become attached to something exactly like Spider-Man’s symbiote costume and then end up looking just like Anti-Venom with the same powers. I knew Ryan Ottley would deliver solid, well-formed figures in his artwork and that it would have a glaze of Todd McFarlane’s rarely seen magic in an inspired variety of layouts thanks to Greg Capullo.
All of that appeared in this issue, and it provided a few sugar-rushes to the eyeballs, but where it came up short with me was Robert Kirkman’s story, because I go into any given Kirkman read hoping for a defiance toward expectation, and Haunt #1 was exactly what it promised to be — an all-star creative team delivering a mash-up of Spawn and Spider-Man with nothing that hasn’t been seen before. So as far as ’90s homages go, this was better than anything you’re going to find in a random artists alley, but there’s nothing groundbreaking or revolutionary going on.
In end, my reaction was something I’ve experienced on a number occasions in artists alleys when I pick up a book by a creator who obviously has some natural skill and a solid grasp of comics story telling, but just re-wrote Green Lantern for the billionth time in human history. It’s cool, but now that I’ve seen that it’s exactly that, I haven’t been given any reason to wonder what’s going to happen next, so I doubt I’m going to buy issue #2 — not because I particularly disliked issue #1, but because I don’t want to re-buy a less-developed Venom/Spider-Man/Spawn book with a less-developed story than his predecessors. I’m sure this book with connect with ’90s fans, and there’s an undeniable hook with McFarlane’s inking, but I just can’t justify another $3 for it at this point if it’s just going to be an homage title. And my one big fear at the end is that the whole thing is just going to be a Venom story with an origin ripped off of Preacher, which I don’t want to see happen. I’ll probably glance over some reviews when issue #2 comes out and see Kirkman throws out any surprises.