King in Black: Namor #1 is an interesting comic. If it were on its own, without being an event tie-in, it’d be a good start to a mini-series. But, as an event tie-in, its connection to the greater story going on feels tenuous at best. King in Black features Knull, the god of the symbiotes, marching across the universe enveloping it in darkness. This issue is about Namor’s past mostly and is supposed to tie in to current events but we currently don’t know how. It’s that lack of clear connection that makes things frustrating.
Writer Kurt Busiek weaves a story from Namor’s past as Kingdom’s attempt to unite during Namor’s childhood. That, and it’s impact on the present, would make for an interesting story on its own. But, we’re teased with a tie-in to an even that never materializes (yet). That left this reader frustrated.
So far, the tie-ins and main event have shown a world under siege where battles rage. That battle was expected to extend to Namor’s underwater world but we’re not presented with that at all. Instead, it’s a flashback mostly setting up future issues to come. Maybe the connection is there. But as far as King in Black: Namor #1 goes, there’s little to no indication it has anything to do with the current event. And that’s a bit frustrating.
The art by Benjamin Dewey and Jonas Scharf is hit and miss. Scharf’s “present day” artwork is top-notch with an almost Jae Lee quality about it. The few pages are solid to look at using the dark underwater world to its advantage. Dewey handles the majority of the issue taking place in the past. It’s a style that doesn’t quite work for me with some inconsistency in characters and a lack of detail at times. It’s a personal choice thing. But, the biggest issue is that Scharf and Dewey’s styles differ so greatly and the comic doesn’t feel like it takes advantage of those differences enough. One is a bit dourer and the other a bit more bright. Both feature the color of Tríona Farrell and there could have been something there in the storytelling.
King in Black: Namor #1 isn’t a bad comic but it also doesn’t feel like much of a tie-in. That will hopefully come later. As a mini-series on its own, it’s a good start with some interesting aspects to build off of. This will be an event mini-series that we’ll likely have to judge on the whole than individual parts. But, as a single issue it unfortunately falls a bit short.
Story: Kurt Busiek Art: Benjamin Dewey, Jonas Scharf
Color: Tríona Farrell Letterer: Joe Caramagna
Story: 6.75 Art: 6.75 Overall: 6.75 Recommendation: Read
Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review