ADVANCE REVIEW: ‘King in Black: Captain America,’ Issue #1

Reading Time: 3 minutes

King in Black Captain America #1

King in Black: Captain America #1 is published by Marvel Comics. It comes from the creative team of writer Danny Lore, artists Mirko Colak, Stefano Landini, Roge Antonio, and Nico Leone. As well as  colorist Erick Arciniega, and letterer Joe Caramagna. The earth has nearly fallen to the symbiote god Knull. Captain America was recently freed and now fights to rescue civilians and hold back the symbiotes while the others fight Knull.

However, Knull’s presence has not been completely removed from his mind. As he joins the fight with his longtime companions Bucky and Falcon, he can still hear Knull’s oppressive voice. As he resists the god’s hold, he is shown visions of his monstrous self-killing and failing his stalwart friends. But will Cap’s famous iron will be enough to hold Knull at bay, or will he once more succumb to his dark influence?

I’m a massive Captain America fan and leaped at the opportunity to check out King in Black: Captain America #1. Thankfully, Lore does a great job of capturing Cap’s stoicism, heroism, and inspirational qualities. But even underneath a fairly standard tie-in story is a surprisingly deep rumination on redemption and trauma. Throughout the entire issue Cap is plagued by Knull’s voice and visions. He literally watches himself fail and betray those closest to him over and over again. But this influence is always at its strongest when he lies to himself about the help that he needs. It’s only in the moments when he admits that something is wrong when the voice subsides.

This was really striking to me as a longtime reader of Cap’s various series. It is by far not the first time he has needed help or even asked for it. But it does explore a more vulnerable side that doesn’t get enough attention. Too often Cap takes a “my way or the highway” approach and shoulders all of the burdens in front of him. Seeing his friends willingness to help and him actually lean on them felt profound.

The art is a bit of a mixed bag, if I’m honest. While it is not bad by any means, the fact that there are four separate artists is definitely noticeable—the style of drawing changes from page to page. On one page, the characters’ faces can appear somewhat cartoonish, then the next they look grittier and more realistic. While this isn’t necessarily whiplash-inducing, it can be distracting. That said, the art itself is well choreographed and the action is very easy to follow. There is a cinematic quality to the fighting that these artists bring that I really appreciate. Not to mention a silhouetted panel towards the end that I won’t spoil. Suffice to say it serves as a thesis statement for this comic and illustrates everything that can be great about all three of these heroes.

The colors manage to do a lot with a little. Considering the setting and location, there isn’t much room for a variance with the palette. Instead, Arciniega keeps the panels interesting by making sure that Cap’s iconic costume is bold and bright. Much like Cap himself standing as a beacon of hope, his blues, and whites, as well as Falcon’s reds, help keep every panel interesting to look at. The letters from Caramagna are clean and easy to follow. Not to mention the excellent work that they did with the dichotomy between Cap’s internal monologue and Knull’s influence. Despite Knull’s voice being in a unique font it is never difficult to read or follow.

Overall, I really enjoyed King in Black: Captain America #1. It did everything that a tie-in issue should do. It reinforced the themes and personalities of my favorite hero and his longtime companions. It had a clear and meaningful character arc, and it gave us some good-looking fight scenes. The artists’ differing styles were a little distracting, but it didn’t detract too much from the book’s overall quality. If you’re a fan of Cap, this one is worth a read, even if you haven’t been keeping up with the King in Black event.

King in Black: Captain America #1 will be available on March 3rd, wherever comics are sold.

 

 

King in Black: Captain America #1
4

TL;DR

It did everything that a tie-in issue should do. It reinforced the themes and personalities of my favorite hero and his longtime companions. It had a clear and meaningful character arc, and it gave us some good-looking fight scenes.