Writer: Donny Cates
Art: Ryan Stegman, JP Mayer, Frank Martin, Jason Keith, and VC’s Clayton Cowles
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Release Date: April 7th, 2021
Eddie’s back was against the wall. He’s been beaten, physically and mentally broken, has lost limbs, shamed, and even killed throughout Donny Cates’ entire run. But somehow, as KING IN BLACK #4 ended, the Enigma Force flew across the cosmos and chose Eddie Brock to be the Lethal Enforcer of Light, otherwise known as Captain Universe. And, who better to deliver this force than the SILVER SURFER? Let’s dive into the final issue of KING IN BLACK #5 by Donny Cates to see how this event that’s been building since Fresh Start concludes.
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READ VENOM #34 PRIOR TO THIS ISSUE
This issue was exciting, explosive, action-packed, and cluttered with pomp and circumstance. Cates painted himself into a corner and relied on a hidden force that hasn’t been seen since MILES MORALES back in SPIDER-GEDDON (2018), as well as a thrown-in ability by his son, in order to escape the all-powerful KING IN BLACK. No clues dropped along the way. No setup. Just an all-powerful Eddie Brock verse the God of Darkness. That’s the finale my friends. VENOM verse Knull… and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out who wins. Sure, the last page may surprise some readers but not most VENOM fans, especially those that have been along for the ride since Cates began.
TOO MUCH POWER?
Readers, every last hero was taken over by symbiotes. The entire world was encased in a Bio-Dome of black alien goo. No one could get in or out. But somehow, the “partially” dead corpse of Eddie Brock was chosen to rise by the Enigma Force to defeat Knull. It didn’t choose SPIDER-MAN. It didn’t choose Dylan Brock or even the BLACK PANTHER who fought off and saved Wakanda from the invasion. It chose the true light of this story (sarcasm) who was already dead… Eddie Brock.
And can I add, gave Eddie abilities stronger than THOR and the SILVER SURFER. Heck, did you know the Enigma Force is more powerful than the Power Cosmic AND the All-Father of Asgard combined? It’s strong enough to command Mjoliner and the Surfer’s board simultaneously. Could this supercharged VENOM defeat even the Infinity Gems?
This begs the question, where has this force been? Why wasn’t Captain Universe summoned during WAR OF THE REALMS? Or EMPYRE? Or SECRET WARS? Oh, I know why. Because it’s a silly plot device used to weasel your way out of a no-win situation. I genuinely think Donny Cates has just shown us one of the most powerful beings in the Marvel Universe: The Enigma Force VENOM. Or should we call him Captain VENOM? Or VENOMVERSE? Oh wait.. that one already happen in 2017.
WHAT WAS MISSING?
From street-level lethal protector to a universal God-like being of light, Eddie Brock has come a long way. That said, there are just some things I can’t shake. How can the darkness of VENOM and the light of the Enigma Force work in conjunction? That feels counterproductive. However, if DEADPOOL can use the force, I guess anyone can.
Furthermore, did anyone else notice that THOR and SILVER SURFER (both currently/ recently written by Cates) both made essential cameos in the KING IN BLACK event? Readers, these premises just seemed too forced with characters written solely by the author of the event. It felt like he was plugging his own books, his own stories, and his own characters. Doesn’t that feel a bit shameless?
I would be lying if I said the story wasn’t interesting. It certainly had my attention. However, as comics go, it was missing logical sequences as well as a chain of events that fit. Cates practically made Eddie Brock a “Messiah”. And might I add, there are many characters I can think of that fit those credentials more than him. Heck, this VENOM is so dang powerful he can literally stand in the sun! Really?!?! It can burn away the God of the Symbiotes but not a guy wearing something that very God created… I’m sorry, but the story just felt like it was skipping key essential components.
Truthfully, I’m thankful this event is done. I’ve felt like this massively sluggish weight has been hanging over MARVEL for almost three months with our stories held hostage. I’m excited to see where we go from here, as well as what direction VENOM will take in the future. Simply read the end of VENOM #34 to see what I mean. However, as line-wide stories go, I think this missed the mark, was cluttered with plot holes and showed that Cates doesn’t play well with others (i.e. THOR and SILVER SURFER). All this event was missing was the COSMIC GHOST RIDER!
If you’ve been following along to this point, you have to finish VENOM and the KING IN BLACK event. If you’re simply picking up the issue to see how things end, it really won’t make a ton of sense for you either. Nevertheless, my biggest takeaway is that I’m losing more faith in any large event at any company, which is very upsetting. We always return to the status quo with very little repercussions. Will anyone reference the fact that the entire globe was covered in alien goo? Will anyone discuss the fact that almost every human was possessed by an alien symbiote? Did no one die at all? It remains to be seen. I’m sure my opinion unpopular with the masses. Nevertheless, this is where I stand as the event comes to a close. Let me know what you think, have a great week, and God bless.