REVIEW: ‘King in Black,’ Issue #5

Reading Time: 2 minutes

King in Black #5

King in Black #5 is written by Donny Cates, penciled by Ryan Stegman, inked by JP Mayer and Stegman, colored by Frank Martin and Jason Keith, and lettered by VC’s Clayton Cowles. It is published by Marvel Comics. Picking up after the events of the previous issue, Eddie Brock, empowered with the Enigma Force, takes on Knull in a final battle for the fate of the Earth!

This issue features everything I love in comics: stellar scripting, eye-popping artwork, and lush color. That it takes place in the Marvel Universe and centers on Venom is the cherry on top. Eddie Brock has come a long way from a vengeful monster to a cosmically-powered protector of mankind, and a large part of that is due to the work this creative team has done with the character.

Cates wisely puts the focus of the book on Venom’s battle with Knull, which has been brewing ever since he took over the main Venom title. I won’t spoil the details of the battle, but I will say the payoff is more than worth the build-up. Cates also places Venom on a whole new level that fundamentally changes the nature of the character, which is saying a lot given how cyclical the nature of superhero comics tends to be. Cates also doesn’t skimp on the emotional elements, writing a heartfelt reunion between Eddie and his son Dylan.

Also bringing things full circle is Stegman on art. When King in Black began, the heroes of the Marvel Universe were placed on the defensive, and Venom suffered a fatal injury. In the final issue, the heroes turn the tide, and Venom finally manages to break Knull’s hold over the Earth. Stegman crumbles buildings, shatters concrete, and breaks the sound barrier while drawing the issue; other scenes, such as Spider-Man riding a dragon or Blade fighting a horde of vampires, have just as much weight to them. This book is full of amazing images.

Finally, Martin and Keith bring a lighter touch to the book with their colors, which is rather fitting given that the issue is subtitled “Dawn.” Many of the characters in this book have a “light” theme. Using the Enigma Force makes Venom’s eyes and spider-symbol glow with cosmic fire. Light reflects off of the Silver Surfer’s trademark shell, and lightning crackles off of Thor’s body. Even Venom’s caption boxes feature light gray and pure blue, with the latter representing the Enigma Force.

King in Black #5 serves as the perfect conclusion to one of the best Marvel events ever and sets up a new status quo for Venom. Though Cates and Stegman’s time on Venom is coming to an end, the work they have done with the Lethal Protector is groundbreaking in every sense of the word.

King in Black #5 is available now wherever comics are sold.

 

 

King in Black #5
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TL;DR

King in Black #5 serves as the perfect conclusion to one of the best Marvel events ever and sets up a new status quo for Venom. Though Cates and Stegman’s time on Venom is coming to an end, the work they have done with the Lethal Protector is groundbreaking in every sense of the word.