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"King in Black: Thunderbolts #1" Comic Review

Written by James Ferguson

Published by Marvel Comics


Written by Matthew Rosenberg
Illustrated by Juan Ferreyra
Lettered by Joe Sabino
2021, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on January 13th, 2021


With Knull engulfing the planet in a symbiote shell and most of Earth's heroes fallen, the bad guys have to step up. Assembled by the Kingpin, the current mayor of New York City, the likes of Star, Taskmaster, Mr. Fear, Rhino, and Batroc the Leaper are put together for the latest iteration of the Thunderbolts. They don't really have much of a choice in the matter. It's this or death. Their mission is to find someone in the city that has intimate knowledge of the symbiotes in an effort to stop Knull's invasion. That's easier said than done.

With all the doom and gloom surrounding King in Black, Thunderbolts comes in with some quirky humor and some fun dialogue. These are characters that would never even speak to each other, let alone be in the same room, all mashed together because of this mega event. The results are pretty great.

Click images to enlarge

That isn't to say this book is without scares. The Kingpin is frightening on his own early on, yet he pales in comparison to the symbiote-covered streets of New York and Knull's soldiers and dragons roaming around. There are quite a few shocking moments as attacks come out of nowhere, providing the closest thing you can get to a jump scare in comics. Writer Matthew Rosenberg shows how you can have both comedy and horror in the same book within the Marvel Universe.

The clash of personalities in King in Black: Thunderbolts #1 is a sight to see. I love how letterer Joe Sabino places their word balloons, almost on top of one another. It makes it look like they're taking over each other and arguing even if they're just having a regular conversation.

I've seen everyone from Luke Cage to Union Jack fight a dragon during this event. They're in every tie-in. No one has made them scarier than Juan Ferreyra. There are shades of his earlier work in books like Colder here, with a haunting setting and dark, ominous tones. The sky is a blood red creating a foreboding atmosphere that permeates through every scene.

Click images to enlarge

Since we're dealing with villains and not heroes, these characters have a grittier, less polished look to them. Some could pass for do-gooders, like Taskmaster, who I didn't recognize at first without his signature skull mask. Meanwhile, Mr. Fear is a conniving weasel of a man that would definitely kill you if you looked at him the wrong way.

Of all the King in Black tie-ins so far (and there have been many), Thunderbolts shows the most promise for something more. This is the one I most want to see turned into an ongoing series. It's too fun not to have this group of weirdos and B-list villains go on missions around the world. There's certainly a Suicide Squad vibe to this iteration and it works very well.


Story: fourandahalfstars Cover
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Art: fivestars
Overall: 4.5 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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