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"Web of Venom: Empyre's End #1" Comic Review

Written by James Ferguson

Published by Marvel Comics

article-cover

Written by Clay McLeod Chapman
Illustrated by Guiu Villanova
Colored by Frank D'Armata
Lettered by Clayton Cowles
2020, 36 Pages, $4.99
Comic released on November 4th, 2020

Review:

As one major event wraps up in the Marvel Universe, another looms in the distance. Such is the way. Empyre recently changed the scope of the cosmic characters with the Skrull and Kree empires uniting under Emperor Hulkling and narrowly defeating the Cotati. Now we look further into space as Knull, the god of the symbiotes, is making his way towards Earth, laying waste to any and all who oppose him along the way...including a scout ship sent to investigate these strange occurrences.

Web of Venom: Empyre's End #1 serves as a nice reminder of Knull's power and his imminent arrival. We've known for some time that he was coming and it's clear that no one on Earth or beyond is ready. Writer Clay McLeod Chapman ushers in a nice horror prologue with this one-shot, showing one of several ways that Knull could dispatch with his opponents.

This one-shot loosely follows the plot of the 2017 film Life, starring Ryan Reynolds and Jake Gyllenhaal. There are quite a few parallels between the two, especially when it comes to the symbiotes as an invasive alien species. I love the quiet, creeping terror that permeates through every page as this crew unwittingly walks right into the trap.

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The kicker with this is that these folks are doing everything by the book. They hear a distress call and they look into it...only to find that the escape pods have more than just a survivor in them. The symbiotes swarm like a wave of black tar. Artist Guiu Villanova depicts them in a wonderfully frightening manner. It's like they engulf their victims, consuming every fiber of their being.

Then there are the dragons. Knull has these massive symbiote dragons as part of his army. Move over, Daenerys Targaryen. These things don't mess around. Knull himself is shown in his typical walking-corpse form, although he looks less sickly here and more like a mummy with razor sharp teeth. The face is what lost me a little in this one-shot as it's almost like a corpse prop than a menacing villain.

Letterer Clayton Cowles delivers the signature unsettling voice of Knull, shown in sharp red word balloons and rough font. It conveys a monstrous, yet slick tone.

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Colorist Frank D'Armata plays up the horror/sci-fi elements of Web of Venom: Empyre's End #1. The shadows loom large all around the crew as they run for their lives. The environment around them appears sterile and lifeless, offering no help or safety from the symbiote horde.

I was already excited for Knull's arrival in King in Black, but one-shots like this and Wraith further heighten that anticipation. If this is what Knull can do to the space-faring characters, what will he do to Earth's Mightiest Heroes? I cannot wait to find out.

Grades:

Story: fourstars Cover
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Art: threeandahalfstars
Overall: 4 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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