REVIEW: ‘King In Black,’ Issue #4

Reading Time: 3 minutes

King in Black #4 - But Why Tho?King in Black #4 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. The issue also features a prelude to the upcoming X-Men: Demon Days miniseries which is written, illustrated, and colored by Peach Momoko (with an English translation by Zack Davisson), and lettered by VC’s Ariana Maher.

After the events of King in Black #3, Dylan Brock comes face to face with Knull, who gives him an ultimatum; either Dylan pledges himself to the symbiote god, or Knull will burn the world to the ground. Meanwhile, Jean Grey launches a plan to free the heroes under Knull’s control, while the Silver Surfer brings the God of Light (Knull’s opposite number) to Earth.

I continue to be amazed at the way Cates blends heart-stopping spectacle and emotional weight in his scripts. When Dylan uses his powers against Knull, it feels satisfying as Knull took his father from him. Likewise, the sheer awe of seeing Jean Grey leading the heroes against the symbiote god is amazing. Not to mention immensely reliving, as recent years have shown that there’s more to Jean besides the Phoenix Force or her near-endless deaths and resurrections.) Cates also weaves in elements from his run on Doctor Strange and Silver Surfer: Black, and ties the identity of the God of Light to a surprising, yet well-known element from Marvel lore. It will all make sense to readers when they see it.

The artistic team continues to produce images that would be at home on the big screen. Whether it’s Spider-Man swinging away from a tidal wave or Storm and Thor combining their lightning to strike down Knull, Stegman goes all out with his artwork. He also favors closeup of characters, which is relieving in the heroes’ case and utterly horrifying in Knull’s case—especially with his permanent jagged grin and soulless black eyes. Martin begins to break up the perpetual darkness with splashes of light in various colors, the most prominent being the bright red of Cyclops’s optic blasts and the bright pink of Jean’s psychic energy.

The sneak peek at X-Men: Demon Days puts a wonderful manga-inspired twist on several X-Men characters, particularly Psylocke. Given Psylocke’s background in martial arts and her Japanese heritage, she’s the perfect fit for this series. Momoko also applies this approach to other beloved X-Men characters: Wolverine is an actual wolf, Emma Frost is a yuki-onna(snow witch), etc. Momoko is best known for her variant covers for various series, and now she gets to use that same manga style for a full story. The Demon Days story feels like a Japanese painting come to life, with waves of color surrounding characters and Psylocke moving with a deadly grace. I cannot wait to read the full series in March, as it combines two of my favorite things: X-Men and manga.

King in Black #4 features a jaw-dropping twist in Marvel history and begins to turn the tide for our heroes, setting the stage for a world-shaking finale. Cates and Stegman are aiming to end their Venom saga on a high note, and as someone who’s been there from day one, I can’t wait to see how it all pays off.

King in Black #4 is available wherever comics are sold.

5

TL;DR

King in Black #4 features a jaw-dropping twist in Marvel history and begins to turn the tide for our heroes, setting the stage for a world-shaking finale. Cates and Stegman are aiming to end their Venom saga on a high note, and as someone who’s been there from day one, I can’t wait to see how it all pays off.