The King In Black #1 review – a lot of hype to live up to

December 4, 2020
Louie Fecou 0


With the stakes so high, and the premise so desperate, The King In Black arrives with so much hype that it runs the risk of being anticlimactic, but the first issue looks great and creates the appropriate feeling of dread.

This review of The King in Black #1 contains some minor spoilers.

Well, the latest epic Marvel comics crossover event from Donny Cates, The King in Black, has hit the (admittedly mostly closed) comic shop shelves, and it has a lot of hype to live up to. Knull. the big bad behind the symbiotes that have been so involved with the whole MCU for a long time, has arrived, and his plans for the Earth, and its heroes, are not for the squeamish.

Venom, Eddie Brock, has been there from the start and knows the horror that Knull will provide. With an army of monsters at his command, Knull prepares for chaos, and Earth’s mightiest champions will be stretched to their limits to stand against them.

The storyline will spread throughout the Marvel line up, as the company throws everything at its readers in what looks like another attempt to cash grab as much as they can from locked-down fans. The book itself hits the ground running, with everything louder than everything else, as Cates bombards the reader with set piece after set piece.

There’s quite a lot of exposition thrown around too; I guess readers that pick this up without following the previous event, Absolute Carnage, may have been left out in the cold. Things seem to be following on pretty much from there and I reckon to get a good view of the whole picture you should probably grab those issues too.

Art wise, Ryan Stegman and JP Meyer seem like old pros for this sort of storytelling. The King in Black #1 looks pretty good and creates the appropriate feeling of dread that Knull deserves. The whole thing feels like a final showdown and the next four issues look set to ramp up the drama as much as they possibly can.

Knull has been so hyped up that anything less than the utter and total annihilation of the whole universe will be anti-climactic, and therein lies the problem.

With the stakes so high, and the premise so desperate, I worry that the series may find itself in the same sort of territory as the Ultimatum storyline that brought Marvel’s Ultimate Universe to a shuddering halt.

Here’s hoping that it manages to balance itself out and find a way to address the action with the characters. There’s nothing worse than reading a story that relies on action sequence after action sequence, forgetting that without the reader being able to engage with the leads, there’s nothing underneath it all to hang on to.

I hope Cates nails the landing here, but I hope he also remembers the people on the plane that bought a ticket in the first place.

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