Writer: Donny Cates
Art: Ryan Stegman, Frank Martin, JP Mayer, and VC’s Clayton Cowles
Publisher: MARVEL COMICS
Release Date: December 2nd, 2020
After a crusade across the universe, Knull’s extinction machine docks to Earth with an insane army at his disposal. With a battalion of symbiote dragons, the King in Black is an immovable entity the likes of which our heroes have never encountered before. Eddie Brock has seen this chaos firsthand. However, will he withstand a clash with the God of the Abyss himself? Let’s jump into the first installment of the event VENOM fans have been waiting a year for with the KING IN BLACK #1 by Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman.
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Readers diving into KING IN BLACK #1 with a fresh pair of eyes need to understand that this is the culmination of a two-year-long VENOM saga that’s transformed almost everything you believed you understood about symbiotes. So, if you’re arriving at this party for the first time, things may look a little different. The next item to touch on is the incredibly epic nature of this event immediately out of the gate. Readers intrigued by this event will instantly see that the scope and enormous nature of this opening installment of the KING IN BLACK has already dwarfed EMPYRE and frankly X OF SWORDS. And to anyone who has followed my reviews, I rather quite enjoyed X OF SWORDS. However, Cates has spent two years building this puppy up and it explodes out of the flood gates with an avalanche of dragons, as well as Knull himself.
VENOM fans will absolutely love this issue. And honestly, fans intrigued by the event should give it a try. As someone who’s read Cates’ series leading up to the event, it’s pretty straightforward for an opening issue to an event. Readers can enter this saga pretty dry, with little prior knowledge, and still be completely submerged within the story. Its volume is loud and the understanding isn’t too heavy or convoluted. With very minimal research, new readers could enter KING IN BLACK ready to fight alongside the AVENGERS, X-MEN, and FANTASTIC FOUR!
My only real knock on the issue is the sheer magnitude this opening anecdote initiates within the event. This sucker went nuclear fast. Maybe it’s because the build-up has been almost two years in the making? However, our heroes are backed into a rather large and aggressive corner without a trump card to be found in the deck. Cates sneaks in some big guns within the opener only for them to succumb almost immediately to Knull and his forces. Readers, I just don’t see how our heroes recover. That said, it makes for a fascinating story that I simply can’t wait to sink my teeth into each week!
Now, what would this review be without a moment to discuss Stegman’s artistic chops? As much as this idea may have been Cates’, Stegman is the man who brings this extra-large issue to life! The splash pages are beautifully timed, the layout is extraordinary, and the detailed work on Knull, the dragons, VENOM, and the individual characters’ facial expressions merely put the icing on the cake of this powerful opening issue. Stegman leads this art team with some dramatic illustrations that truly capture the conflict so well. Furthermore, it’s Stegman’s art that drew this reviewer deeper into the narrative. JP Mayer and Frank Martin added that extra layer to the story that expressed the severely dark mood and tone of the issue. It’s because of Stegman, Martin, and Mayer that I genuinely felt apart of the story.
If you’re a MARVEL COMICS fan, you need to read this. There is something for everyone in this story. If you’re a VENOM fan, it would be pure lunacy to not read KING IN BLACK #1. Cates has rewritten the mythos surrounding the Symbiotes and has anchored them deep within the entire Marvel Universe. The impact of this event will be felt throughout a variety of comics across all of Marvel, which is ultimately why this isn’t just a VENOM event. However, I found myself wondering how in the world our heroes will defeat this threat after only one installment. That not only intrigued me tremendously but it also worries me. I just hope the ending isn’t something quick and convoluted but warrants merit and reasoning while offering true ramifications to the Marvel Universe, which is what’s been lacking in almost all events from any company lately. It certainly has the potential to leave its mark and I hope Donny and his team can do just that. I highly recommend you pick this up. You won’t be disappointed!
If you’re interested in KING IN BLACK #1, click HERE to preorder a copy! Additionally , if you’re interested in the KING IN BLACK event, click HERE to get caught up on Donny Cates’ VENOM now with related comics and trades! And finally, if you’re looking for something else to read, check out my Amazon Online Comic Shop by clicking HERE. Thank you all for the read and continued support. Stay safe and stay healthy.
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