REVIEW: ‘King In Black,’ Issue #2

Reading Time: 3 minutes

King in Black #2 - But Why Tho?King in Black #2 is written by Donny Cates, penciled by Ryan Stegman, inked by JP Mayer, colored by Frank Martin, and lettered by VC’s Clayton Cowles. It is published by Marvel Comics. Following the events of the first issue, Eddie Brock lies at death’s door. Spider-Man quickly spirits him to safety, where Iron Man devises an insane plan to save Eddie’s life. Meanwhile, in order to combat Knull’s forces—which now include Symbiote-infected versions of several heroes—Blade and Namor forge dangerous alliances.

This story opened with our heroes being swallowed up by darkness and Eddie being flung to his death by an eldritch god. You’d think that would be as bad as it gets for our heroes, but you’d be wrong. Cates takes a bit of a breather with the script for this issue, letting the heroes come to terms with how truly outmatched they are. He also switches his focus to Spider-Man, and he nails the web-slinger’s characterization. Spidey risks his life to save Eddie and is genuinely worried about his condition. There’s a moment where he also goes to talk to Eddie’s son Dylan, and it’s utterly heart-wrenching to see Spidey struggle to find the right words to say. Peter Parker and Eddie Brock may have started out as enemies, but it’s a testament to how much their relationship has grown that Peter cares about Eddie’s well-being.

Cates also gets to write other characters, including Blade and Namor. Blade gets several moments to shine, which I loved: whether it’s doing what he does best (carving up vampires) or rightfully telling the X-Men that Knull doesn’t care about the mutant/human divide, it’s great to see the Daywalker as a big part of a massive crossover event. Namor is a rather surprising addition, as it turns out that he may have a way to defeat Knull. Considering that Namor has once again shifted into the role of antagonist toward the surface world, it helps to underline the severe threat that Knull poses when he comes to the surface to assist our heroes.

Stegman, Mayer, and Martin continue to deliver mind-melting images, with Stegman providing a new and horrifying design for the heroes under Knull’s control. The “Knullified” heroes have the God of the Symbiotes’ signature spiral on their foreheads, as well as razor-sharp claws and faces stretched into horrifying grins. This effect is especially disconcerting when applied to heroes like Cyclops and the Thing. And even though the action is relatively light this issue, Stegman gets to draw massive splash pages including Spidey swinging away from a massive explosion and Iron Man flying toward one of the symbiote dragons. My personal favorite image features Blade in the aftermath of fighting vampires. It has to be seen to be believed.

Martin’s colors change depending on the environment of the book, leading to some vibrant visuals. The aforementioned scene with Blade features blood-spattered walls and corpses, the bright red contrasting with his jet-black body armor. Cool blue is used for the oceans, and the skies remain the same fiery red that they were in the first issue. Color helps set mood and the red skies help add to that feeling of dread.

King in Black #2 pushes the heroes of the Marvel Universe to their limits, featuring stellar scripting and mind-melting artwork. In true Cates/Stegman fashion, the issue ends with a whopper of a cliffhanger that feels like it will fundamentally upend the Venom mythos. I can’t wait to see what issue #3 brings.

King in Black #2 is available wherever comics are sold.


King in Black #2
5

TL;DR

King in Black #2 pushes the heroes of the Marvel Universe to their limits, featuring stellar scripting and mind-melting artwork. In true Cates/Stegman fashion, the issue ends with a whopper of a cliffhanger that feels like it will fundamentally upend the Venom mythos. I can’t wait to see what issue #3 brings.