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Review: King in Black #1

King in Black #1

Marvel’s next event kicks off with King in Black #1, the culmination of years of build-up and teases throughout the Marvel Universe. This even sees Knull, the “god of the symbiotes” attack Earth with the heroes having to make a stand before he brings complete darkness to Earth and all of existence.

Marvel has had numerous events over the recent years and while many have had their moments, for the most part these events have fallen flat. They may start off with a bang but generally fizzle. King in Black #1 definitely launches with a hell of a start. It’s a disaster film in comic form. The heroes must scramble on a grand scale while the comic also focuses in on the micro scale as well.

Writer Donny Cates nails the opening with a little something for everyone. The heroes get their stand. There’s great moments like the X-Men swooping in. But, it’s the focus on Eddie Brock and his son that delivers heart for the series.

Eddie, also known as Venom, is directly tied to Knull and Cates has been building to this event through that series for years at this point. Cates has evolved Brock from the popular anti-hero to a father with concerns for his son. We see that here as he attempts to seek shelter and protect his kid. It’s a human detail that adds so much to this beginning. King in Black #1 could easily have just been battle after battle. But, this small part adds something we can relate to as parents and children. It adds a human aspect to the larger than life event and grounds it in some ways. It also allows us to connect and really care as to what happens.

Joining Cates is artist Ryan Stegman who has worked with Cates through so much of his Venom run. Stegman’s style is very much his with imagery that pops and comes off as larger than life. It’s a look I personally love and here it works so well with such grand-scale moments. Stegman’s style has a certain exaggeration and it helps emphasize the larger than life moments. Stegman is joined by JP Mayer on ink, Frank Martin on color, and Clayton Cowles with lettering. The art could easily fall into a space that’s too dark but despite the black and red, it never gets to a point it feels like a dirge. There’s still something that jumps from the page despite the “dark” nature of it all.

King in Black #1 kicks things off with jaw-dropping moments and unexpected twists. But, it’s the heart of it all where things succeed. Eddie Brock brings a touch to the story that we can all relate to. And, more importantly, he brings a character we can empathize with and feel sorry for. He’s likely sacrificing himself to save the world and his kid and knows it. Yet, he goes through with it. King in Black #1 is the shift of Eddie Brock from anti-hero to true hero willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for the greater good. It’s the start of an event but also the next step for the character that Cates and Stegman have been adding depth to for years.

Darkness might reign but King in Black #1 shines.

Story: Donny Cates Art: Ryan Stegman
Ink: JP Mayer Color: Frank Martin Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Purchase: comiXologyKindleZeus Comics

Preview: Thor #10

Thor #10

(W) Donny Cates (A) Nic Klein (CA) Olivier Coipel
Rated T+
In Shops: Dec 02, 2020
SRP: $3.99

For years Doctor Donald Blake has wandered a land far from Midgard, the place he once thought home. Now he has returned to the Ten Realms – but it is not the place it was, nor he the man who once shared a body with a god. New terrors await in what is perhaps Donny Cates’ darkest story yet!

Thor #10

Preview: King in Black #1 (of 5)

King in Black #1 (of 5)

(W) Donny Cates (A/CA) Ryan Stegman
Rated T+
In Shops: Dec 02, 2020
SRP: $5.99


After a campaign across the galaxy, Knull’s death march arrives to Earth and, worse yet, he hasn’t come alone! With an army of hundreds of thousands of symbiote dragons at his command, the King in Black is a force unlike any Earth’s heroes have ever faced. EDDIE BROCK, A.K.A. VENOM has seen firsthand the chaos that even one of Knull’s symbiotic monsters can wreak – will he survive an encounter with the God of the Abyss himself?

From Donny Cates, Ryan Stegman, JP Mayer, Frank Martin and VC’s Clayton Cowles comes the definitive chapter in their two-year-long VENOM saga that changed everything you thought you knew about symbiotes!

King in Black #1 (of 5)

Mark Knull’s Arrival in King in Black with Temporary Tattoos

King in Black, the highly-anticipated Marvel event that will serve as the epic next chapter in Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman’s groundbreaking run on Venom, arrives December 2nd. To celebrate the launch of this years-in-the-making saga, fans will also have an opportunity to take home a King in Black temporary tattoo, designed by Donny Cates’ very own tattoo artist, Ian Bederman! Matching the King in Black #1 Tattoo variant cover, the darkly mesmerizing artwork serves as a perfect symbol of the chaos and destruction that awaits the Marvel Universe when Knull’s reign begins.

In addition, Bederman has contributed four other unique designs that will grace the covers of each King in Black issue. Check out the brand-new tattoo variant cover for King in Black #2 and collect all five Ian Bederman Tattoo variant covers starting with King in Black #1 on December 2nd!

Preview: Venom #30

Venom #30

(W) Donny Cates (A) Luke Ross (CA) Geoff Shaw
32 PGS. /Rated T+
In Shops: Nov 18, 2020
SRP: $3.99

The face-melting finale to VENOM BEYOND, by Donny Cates and special guest illustrator LUKE ROSS! Trapped at the mercy of the dangerous new foe called CODEX, Eddie Brock will have to make an impossible choice!

Knull’s Darkness Overtakes the X-Men in King in Black #4

The war against Knull erupts on December 2nd in King in Black #1, the shocking new chapter in Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman’s game-changing run on Venom. In February, Knull’s influence continues to spread, ensnaring the entire planet in the darkness of his reign. Outgunned and outmanned, the heroes of the Marvel Universe will unite like never before. Will the combined force of Eddie Brock, the Avengers, the X-Men, the Fantastic Four, and more be enough to turn the tide of this devastating conflict? Find out in February’s King in Black #4 as well as newly announced King in Black one-shots and tie-ins coming your way!

Steve Rogers is joined by Winter Soldier and Falcon in a brutal brawl against Knull’s forces in the streets of New York City in writer Danny Lore and artist Mirko Colak’s King in Black: Captain America. Kate Pryde leads the Marauders in a dangerous rescue mission on the high seas in writer Gerry Duggan and artist Luke Ross’ King in Black: Marauders! Wakanda will need its king more than ever when Knull sets his sights on it in King in Black: Black Panther by writer Geoffrey Thorne and artist Germán Peralta. The Fantastic Four and the Unseen (AKA Nick Fury) enter the fray in Fantastic Four #29 by writer Dan Slott and artist Ze Carlos.

Check out the cover of King in Black #4 below and find out if the Marvel Universe has what it takes to repel Knull’s unrelenting darkness when the event kicks off next month!


Written by DONNY CATES
Art and Cover by RYAN STEGMAN




Written by DANNY LORE

Captain America is in a brutal battle to win the streets of Manhattan back from Knull’s forces, aided by the Winter Soldier and the Falcon…but there’s a darkness inside Steve that he’s struggling to shake. Can his closest friends help him through, or will he succumb to the shadows? Danny Lore (IRONHEART 2020) and Mirko Colak (DEADPOOL, PUNISHER) join forces for a twisted and terrifying story at the heart of the war against Knull!



Written by GERRY DUGGAN 


Red Queen Kate Pryde and her crew of Marauders set sail against the forces of Knull! Captain Kate has pledged to fight for the needy, and a global disaster like this one gives plenty of folks in need.





T’Challa’s most treasured allies are lost in a storm of Knull’s making in this wild one-shot! Critically acclaimed writer, actor and producer Geoffrey Thorne explores a Wakanda gone dark — invaded by Knull’s massive symbiote army. Wakanda needs its king. It needs the Black Panther. But once again, the hero must choose between his role as an Avenger, his role as a king…and the yearnings of his heart.



Written by DAN SLOTT


In the middle of the chaos that is KING IN BLACK…a symbiote bonds with a member of Marvel’s First Family!

Also in this issue, the Unseen is putting together a squadron for a secret mission in deep space.


Around the Tubes

Victor and Nora: A Gotham Love Story

It was new comic book day yesterday! What’d you all get? What’d you like? What’d you dislike? Sound off in the comments below! While you think about that, here’s some comic news and reviews from around the web in our morning roundup.

How to Love Comics – Donny Cates’ Venom Reading Order Guide – For those interested in getting caught up before King in Black, this will help.


Collected Editions – Batman Vol. 1 Their Dark Designs
Geek Tyrant – Power Rangers: Sins of the Future
The Geekiary – Victor and Nora: A Gotham Love Story

Review: Crossover #1

Crossover #1

Crossover #1 explodes in the land of Colorado where a superhero event has taken place. The superheroes just sorta pop up outta nowhere as they cross over into the real world. An invisible field keeps everything and everyone from the event contained. It’s had an effect on the real world, as Baptists are against comic books and get angry at cosplayers. It’s like the comic book version of Footloose, which took place not too far from Provo, UT, where Crossover takes place. Apparently, Utah County is not that cool of a place for comics and dancing. Anyway, our heroine of the story works at a shop, and lo and behold, they notice one of the comic book people has gotten into the shop and the unruly mob outside the shop isn’t one bit happy about this suddenly happening.

What’s written above is a bland statement describing the story of Crossover but being fair, the book is better than I describe it. Donny Cates does his best work at Image Comics and this book certainly falls into that category. If one opens Crossover looking for a Supes battle of good and evil, you’ll be a bit disappointed, as that’s not really the story. It’s more about how someone living the small-town life lives within the current aftermath of the event. I did hope to see a bit more of it, too, but what Crossover lacks in big, costumed fights, it makes up for with a more human story. Cates has a real knack for injecting humanity into his characters and making them feel real. The strongest part of Crossover is not the event but the aftermath.

Kind of a weird complaint about this but I live in Utah. I’m not far from Provo and I go there often. I worked there for a few years. It’s not a place that would have any kind of active Baptist community. It’s basically ground zero for the LDS Church and living here, there’s so much of it thrown in your face that it’s not funny. Not many who read Crossover will know that little detail but I thought it was odd to not be accurate to the location. I know, it’s a book about a superhero explosion crossing into a more realistic world, but still…

The story is cool and all but what stood out to me was the art. Geoff Shaw and Dee Cunniffe put to paper a really beautiful comic, full of creativity and detail. It’s a colorful book, which I love when an art team can really stretch the color spectrum to the fullest. How a person looks from the Crossover world is a bit interesting, too, so I thought that was true to the world of comics. John J. Hill’s letters work great in the story with a few different changes in emotion.

I came into Crossover #1 open-minded of what it was, did all I could to not read any spoilers. Story-wise, Crossover #1 is an entertaining read. The concept is tight and the art hits on so many levels. This issue helps get the world-building explained and set up and with that, I  am definitely interested in where this story goes and am excited for issue two.

Story: Donny Cates Art: Geoff Shaw
Colors: Dee Cunniffe Letters & Design: John J. Hill Story Edits: Mark Waid
Story: 8.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Purchase: comiXology – AmazonKindle – TFAWZeus Comics

Get Ready for the King in Black with this Trailer. Knull Arrives December 2nd

Brace yourself for a Homeric Marvel Universe event with neck-whipping twists and turns when Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman kick off King in Black on December 2nd!

Knull is here and nothing can prepare the Marvel Universe for the chaos and destruction he’s set to unleash. A saga years in the making, King in Black will be an event spanning all corners of the Marvel Universe as the Avengers, the X-Men, and more are forced to join Eddie Brock in his hopeless fight against Knull’s unrelenting darkness. Will the heroes prevail or will fans pay witness to the beginning of Knull’s reign? Behold the breathtaking upcoming battle with the Lord of the Abyss in this pulse-pounding trailer, featuring never before seen artwork from the upcoming event!

Don’t miss the start of the war against the god of symbiotes when King in Black #1 hits stands on December 2nd.

Todd Nauck and Rachelle Rosenberg’s King in Black #1 Cover Features Every Symbiote Ever!

On December 2nd, the god of symbiotes arrives in King in Black! The definitive chapter in Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman’s groundbreaking run on Venom, King in Black will drastically alter everything readers thought they knew about symbiotes.

In anticipation of this monumental event, every known symbiote in the Marvel Universe, many of which will play major roles in the upcoming saga, have all been brought together for the first time on an extraordinary variant cover by master artists Todd Nauck and Rachelle Rosenberg.

From the most popular like Venom and Carnage to fan favorites like Venomsaurus Rex and Anti-Venom to Knull himself, this legendary piece features each and every symbiote that’s made its mark on the Marvel Universe, making it a must-have for True Believers everywhere.

Don’t miss your chance to pick up this historic cover for yourself when King in Black #1 arrives at your local comic shop on December 2nd.

King in Black #1 Todd Nauck variant cover
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