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King In Black 4 Main

"King in Black #4" Comic Review

Written by James Ferguson

Published by Dark Horse Comics

article-cover

Written by Donny Cates
Illustrated by Ryan Stegman
Inked by JP Mayer
Colored by Frank Martin
Lettered by Clayton Cowles
2021, 36 Pages, $4.99
Comic released on February 17th, 2021

Review:

Knull has taken over Earth with his symbiote army. The heroes have been battered, beaten, and in some cases, assimilated. After Eddie Brock's son, Dylan, uses his strange powers to strike a decisive blow against Knull, the heroes are finally able to fight back. Will it be enough to put down the symbiote god and save the planet? And what of Eddie Brock? The penultimate chapter of King in Black rages on and it's just as action-packed as ever.

Event books can be tricky, as they're a spectacle. They usually draw more eyeballs and the publisher wants to have that bleed over into more comics and other ongoing series to boost sales all around. This can get bloated and at times and lead to items that are revealed in other books and not in the main story, which causes some confusion. That's how I feel about King in Black #4.

I'm reading all the tie-ins, so I know that the Black Cat went to rescue Dr. Strange (although it happens in a completely different manner here) and that Namor went to find something out in the ocean to help in the fight. If you weren't, you would have no idea what was going on in these pivotal scenes. This thing has gotten too big.

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This is a shame, as we're finally starting to get some answers. Writer Donny Cates is showing expert precision in weaving Knull's history into that of the Marvel Universe as a whole. That moves forward by leaps and bounds in this chapter, particularly with the end as Knull is linked to one of the oldest and most mysterious elements in comics.

As an aside, it also feels a bit like Blackest Night, the DC event featuring the rise of the Black Lanterns and so many zombies.

Artist Ryan Stegman turns in some awesome work in King in Black #4. He really touches upon an all-star cast with everyone from Jean Grey to Thor and even a few Celestials. We're given a peek into Knull's mind and origin thanks to Marvel Girl and it's just as frightening as you'd imagine. This is the birth of darkness in the universe, so it cuts deep. Stegman gives this all the gravitas it deserves. It feels ancient and powerful.

It's fascinating to see how Knull evolves from this ancient idea in the infancy of the cosmos into this all-powerful villain commanding symbiotes with a thought. Despite all that power coursing through his veins, his appearance can look sickly at times, like his body could be blown apart at a moment's notice. This isn't to imply that he's weak. It's more than he's powered by hate and destruction and that shit is just not healthy.

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Inker JP Mayer brings this aspect to life in gruesome detail, capturing all the fine lines in Stegman's pencils and creating some great renders. Colorist Frank Martin creates an oppressive tone for this issue that's tinged with hope as the Silver Surfer comes down to lend a hand. The red skies are pierced with yellow energy, striking a decisive blow against Knull.

This is where my favorite panel of King in Black #4 comes in, as Knull screams out in anger and frustration at this new attack. Letterer Clayton Cowles adds symbiote tendrils to the villain's words which is an awesome touch.

This issue also features a prologue to Peach Momoko's Demon Days: X-Men. It's is absolutely gorgeous and just the right amount of horror. I was already looking forward to this book and it just shot up to the top of my list.

King in Black has grown to colossal proportions. It's a bombastic action horror story that has been intense since its very first page. After three issues of Knull beating the crap of of Earth's heroes, they're finally fighting back and that's a nice change. The fact that it's tied to an underutilized and intriguing element in the Marvel Universe is gravy. Now how the Hell is this thing going to wrap up in its next and final chapter?

Grades:

Story: threeandahalfstars Cover
Buy from Amazon US.
Cover
Buy from Amazon UK.
Cover
Tfaw Buy Button
Art: fourstars
Overall: 3.5 Star Rating

About The Author
James Ferguson
Lord of the Funny Books
James has a 2nd grade reading level and, as a result, only reads books with pictures. Horror is his 5th favorite genre right after romantic comedy and just before silent films. No one knows why he's here, but he won't leave.
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