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Review: King in Black #4

King in Black #4

There are moments in film, comics, television, and books where the hero discovers their inner power and the tide begins to turn against evil. In Transformers: The Movie it was Hot Rod opening the Matrix and turning into Rodimus Prime. Those moments can bring tingles and excitement as good begins to triumph over evil. King in Black #4 delivers that moment multiple times in the penultimate issue of the event.

Written by Donny Cates, things look dire as the issue begins. Knull has dominated the world, killed Eddie Brock, and subjugated most of the world’s heroes. But Cates has been hinting at another who might defeat Knull. If Knull represents darkness, someone, or something, must be the light. It’s been pretty obvious for a while that we’d eventually find out who the who or what is in this event and this is the issue where that all becomes clearer.

King in Black #4 features a showdown between Dylan and Knull with Dylan being the clearest current threat to the wannabe god. It’s a solid showdown as Dylan takes his stand showing all it takes is a single individual to make a change. It being a kid feels all the more symbolic as it is so many kids over recent years that are leading the way. But Dylan is just a catalyst. The comic is full of “fuck yeah” moments as heroes begin to free themselves and make their attacks against Knull. We don’t get one “Rodimus” moment, we get multiple resulting in a crescendo of excitement of “hells yes” beats. All building to the issue’s finale with the big reveal Cates has been hinted at.

Cates is helped by Ryan Stegman who nails every beat. Along with JP Mayer on ink, Frank Martin on color, and Clayton Cowles on lettering, the crescendo is clear in the art. The battle goes from what feels like a “psychic landscape” to the physical world and it just ups the awe with every opportunity. There’s so many moments that are memorable, the art brings home Cates’ concepts with a blast. Cowles lettering is key as he depicts Knull giving him his own font. It emphasizes the character’s evil stance and without it, the character wouldn’t work as well. It’s a perfect combination and team.

The issue also features our first look and Peach Momoko‘s Demon Days. The short backup comic features an English Adaptation by Zack Davisson, and lettering by Ariana Maher. Momoko takes the X-Men into a fantasy world rooted in Japan and its mythology. The result is a story that’s beautiful to look at but the story itself doesn’t feel quite unique enough. Taking characters and just making them samurai and animals isn’t new or different. So, this is one to wait and see. As a teaser for the first issue and series, it doesn’t excite and quite land.

King in Black #4 is a hell of a comic that’ll get you pumped and excited. There’s just one more issue left and this could leave us with a hell of a change to the Marvel landscape. Marvel has stumbled with events in recent years but King in Black #4 has delivered with every issue and is their best in a long time. It brings popcorn excitement and this issue helps lights our darkest hour.

Story: Donny Cates, Peach Momoko Art: Ryan Stegman, Peach Momoko
Ink: JP Mayer Color: Frank Martin Letterer: Clayton Cowles, Ariana Maher

English Adaptation: Zack Davisson
Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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Review: King in Black #3

King in Black #3

King in Black #3 continues the entertaining Marvel event delivering hints as to what’s to come. Knull has taken over the world bringing darkness to everywhere. There’s a glimpse of hope though. Eddie Brock’s son, Dylan, is channeling an unknown power, the light to defeat the darkness of Knull.

This is the first stand as a small group of heroes need to band together and fight back. Writer Donny Cates delivers another solid issue as what the fight back begins. Though it’s realistically a losing battle, Cates infuses the fight with hope. The heroes feel like heroes doing battle against impossible odds.

Cates delivers that with an interesting narrative. The narrator is a mysterious character who doesn’t make their presence known until the end. But, what’s said is what’s really intriguing. There’s hints as to what’s to come. Dylan’s power is coming from something, someone. Knull is darkness which means there’s someone that’s the opposite. Who is that? Get your speculation going as it’s sure to be someone big and really shake things up post event.

The issue is also very cinematic with action sequences that deliver some emotional resonance. The arrival of Thor to battle, Iron Man’s actions, these are moments that deserve to be on the big screen. They’re larger than life and that’s due to the art of Ryan Stegman.

Stegman continues to be one of the most exciting artists out there. His work with Cates has been fantastic and the duo are just in sync with what they deliver on the page. The images are jaw dropping at times. The moments really deliver that punch as things begin to go south. Everything looks fantastic no matter how over the top it all is. Stegman is helped by the ink of JP Mayer, color of Frank Martin, and lettering by Clayton Cowles. In a story that involves a world engulfed in darkness, the team keeps things colorful. It never feels “dark” but definitely gives you the sense of that world. The lettering is fantastic with Cowles giving such personality to Knull and his controlled through the choice of lettering and styles.

King in Black #3 continues an epic story. While it foreshadows things a bit too much the end of the comic made me forgive that with a new player on the field. Things really feel epic but at the same time the issue and story stays focused on a small cast. There’s been a string of misses as far as major events in recent years but King in Black continues to impress and exceed expectations.

Story: Donny Cates Art: Ryan Stegman
Ink: JP Mayer Color: Frank Martin Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Story: 8.65 Art: 8.75 Overall: 8.65 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman’s Run on Venom Arrives in April

The final issue of Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman’s hit run on Venom will arrive in April. The all-star creative team will be saying farewell to a character they helped redefine in a special milestone issue: Venom #200. With the revolutionary work on the symbiote mythology, the team’s incredible run will leave a lasting impact not only on the character of Venom but on the Marvel Universe as a whole.

The landmark issue will pick up after the events of King in Black. Over the years, Cates and Stegman have torn Eddie Brock’s life asunder while introducing new villains and uncovering long-hidden mysteries about the nature of symbiotes.

Throughout their run, they’ve explored Venom’s very nature as a Marvel hero. This issue will reveal what Venom’s future holds. But in Knull’s wake, what even remains of Marvel’s Lethal Protector?

Venom #200 will also feature a who’s who of artists who contributed to Cates and Stegman’s incredible run. Pick up this historic end of an era when Venom #200 hits stands in April.

Venom #200

Preview: King in Black #3 (of 5)

King in Black #3 (of 5)

(W) Donny Cates (A/CA) Ryan Stegman
Rated T+
In Shops: Jan 20, 2021
SRP: $4.99

After last issue’s shocking finale, the heroes of the Marvel Universe are reeling. Outgunned and outmanned, but never outdone, they unite and face KNULL, God of the Abyss, as he ensnares the planet in the darkness of his reign! Superstars DONNY CATES and RYAN STEGMAN continue to raise the game – and the stakes for the Marvel Universe in this Earth-shattering epic!

King in Black #3 (of 5)

King in Black Comes to an End in March With One-Shots and a Final Issue!

Earlier this month, KING IN BLACK #1 hit stands, and fans finally saw masterminds Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman plunge the Marvel Universe into darkness with the long-dreaded arrival of Knull. With four issues left and multiple exciting tie-in issues, things are just getting started. It’s all leading up to the final showdown in KING IN BLACK #5, which will bring this epic event to a close. Be there when the very fate of all symbiotes is decided, and the future of the saga of Venom is revealed. Check out the haunting cover by Ryan Stegman below and ask yourself: what is a god to a non-believer?

Also out in March will be essential one-shots starring some of your favorite Marvel heroes. Spidey is in for the fight of his life when the city around him erupts into chaos under Knull’s influence. Find out if he has what it takes to turn the tide in the action-packed KING IN BLACK: SPIDER-MAN by writer Jed MacKay and artist Michele Bandini. The war for Hell’s throne meets the war against the God of Symbiotes when Johnny Blaze gets caught in the madness of King in Black in KING IN BLACK: GHOST RIDER by writer Ed Brisson and artist Juan Frigeri. Scream makes her highly-anticipated return in KING IN BLACK: SCREAM by writer Clay McLeod Chapman and artist Garry Brown. Will her return be short-lived or does she hold the key to putting a dent in Knull’s symbiotic armor? And newlywed Young Avengers Wiccan and Hulkling’s honeymoon is taken over by symbiotes in KING IN BLACK: HULKLING AND WICCAN by writer Tini Howard and artist Luciano Vecchio. Also spinning out of KING BLACK, everyone’s favorite Korbinite finds a new destiny in BETA RAY BILL, a new series written and drawn by Daniel Warren Johnson.

Don’t miss the pulse-pounding final chapters of KING IN BLACK when they arrive this March.

KING IN BLACK #5 (OF 5)

Written by DONNY CATES
Art and Cover by RYAN STEGMAN

KING IN BLACK #5 (OF 5)

KING IN BLACK: GHOST RIDER #1

Written by ED BRISSON
Art by JUAN FRIGERI
Cover by WILL SLINEY

KING IN BLACK: GHOST RIDER #1

KING IN BLACK: SPIDER-MAN #1

Written by JED MACKAY
Art by MICHELE BANDINI
Cover by CARLOS GOMEZ

KING IN BLACK: SPIDER-MAN #1

KING IN BLACK: SCREAM #1

Written by CLAY MCLEOD CHAPMAN
Art by GARRY BROWN
Cover by INKHYUK LEE

KING IN BLACK: SCREAM #1

KING IN BLACK: WICCAN AND HULKLING #1

Written by TINI HOWARD
Art by LUCIANO VECCHIO
Cover by JIM CHEUNG

KING IN BLACK: WICCAN AND HULKLING #1

BETA RAY BILL #1 (OF 5)

Written by DANIEL WARREN JOHNSON
Art and Cover by DANIEL WARREN JOHNSON

BETA RAY BILL #1 (OF 5)

Review: King in Black #2

King in Black #2

The first issue of King in Black delivered a big screen blockbuster on the comic page and King in Black #2 continues the action and ups the desperation. Knull has taken over the world subjugating its heroes and controlling them through symbiotes. A small group of heroes remains to take a stand and their hope rests in Eddie Brock who last issue was tossed from atop a building. As we saw in the recent issue of Venom, Eddie does indeed fall and this issue we see the crushing conclusion.

Writer Donny Cates delivers an issue that’s full of desperation and really sets up the uphill battle that’s ahead. Things look bleak and dark without it actually being bleak and dark. Cates does an excellent job of giving us hope. It’s the battle where Optimus shows up before falling against Megatron… queue music as he clings for life.

Cates delivers the desperation and the heart as he teases hope and solutions. The heroes are desperate and instead of dragging things out, we’re delivered a possible solution within the issue. There’s a lot packed in and that adds to the emotional punch of it all. Hope is served and quickly taken away. King in Black #2 is a hell of an emotional ride.

Things are helped by Ryan Stegman‘s art which is its usual amazing. Stegman is joined by JP Mayer on ink, Frank Martin on colors, and Clayton Cowles on lettering. Everyone nails it adding to the atmosphere. The brilliance of the art is delivering a dark horror comic without it being too dark and foreboding. The corrupted heroes are scary without being distracting. The color and ink create the darkness of Knull without making the art difficult to see. It’s a great balance and pulled off well. There’s also so much detail in the damage done, especially in Spider-Man’s tattered costume. And the lettering too adds to it all nailing Knull’s voice or emphasizing the emotion.

King in Black #2 is a hell of a second issue. It takes us on an emotional rollercoaster while also delivering big screen popcorn levels of visuals. It’s a great combination and what events should be. Two issues in and this is one of Marvel’s best events in many years.

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


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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: 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

DARKNESS REIGNS!

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)
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