King In Black kicked off with bang as Knull immediately made his presence known to Earth’s Mightiest Heroes with a massive invasion. With Knull already capturing major members of the Avengers, Fantastic Four, and X-Men there is already the question of who is left to stand against the Symbiote villain. Even Venom, the one who knows most about Knull, was shown to be taken out as Knull violently took away Eddie Brock’s symbiote and tossed him off a building. Add in how Knull was able to become even more powerful by absorbing Sentry’s Void powers there is no telling what else will happen in Marvel’s latest big event. Let’s find out what happens next with King In Black #2.
Writer: Donny Cates
Artist: Ryan Stegman
Inker: JP Mayer
Colorist: Frank Martin
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Eddie Brock crashes hard on top of a car after he was thrown off a building by Knull.
A beaten up Spider-Man (Peter Parker) appears to check up on Eddie. Seeing that Eddie is clinging to life Spider-Man calls out for medical help. Eddie musters all his strength to get Spider-Man to promise to protect Dylan.
Knull senses that Eddie is still alive. Frustrated, Knull decides sends the Symbiote controlled Cyclops, Captain America, Ms. Marvel, Thing, and Storm after Spider-Man and Eddie.
Human Torch shows up and tells Spider-Man to get Eddie to the Fantastic Four lab while he holds back the Symbiote controlled heroes. Spider-Man hesitates to leave Human Torch alone. Human Torch says he can use his Nova Blast to buy Spider-Man the time he needs to get Eddie and himself to safety.
Human Torch then starts powering up his Nova Blast attack as Spider-Man swings away with Eddie.
Later, inside the Fantastic Four lab, Valkyrie (Jane Foster) tells Spider-Man that Eddie has so many injuries that she is not sure how they can save him but whatever they need to do they have to do it fast. Spider-Man is not sure what to do. Valkyrie says that she cannot help him now as she is needed to usher Sentry’s soul to the afterlife.
Spider-Man then goes to the underground bunker that Dylan Brock is staying at. Dylan asks Spider-Man if his dad is dead. Spider-Man says Eddie is still alive and he needs Dylan to come with him.
Spider-Man brings Dylan to the Fantastic Four lab where Mr. Fantastic, Black Panther, Invisible Woman, and Valkyrie are discussing what to do next while Blade argues with Charles Xavier and Magneto about getting more help from Krakoa.
Spider-Man appears with Dylan and immediately asks for an update on Eddie’s condition. Mr. Fantastic says there is no change and there won’t be if they can’t get what is going on under control.
Black Panther and Valkyrie bring up what they have on hand to combat Knull and if they could use things like the Infinity Stones or Cosmic Cube.
Namor suddenly shows up and immediately calls out the Avengers, Fantastic Four, and X-Men for falling in the fight against Knull. Namor goes on to promise to bring the war straight to Knull. He then asks if any of them have an actual plan.
Iron Man speaks up to say he does. Iron Man says he is going to need one of the Symbiote Dragons to save Eddie, who is the only one that can get close enough to Knull to shut him down. Spider-Man wonders if they could use Dylan’s cat, which is a Symbiote. Dylan says that the Symbiote Dragons are stronger, bringing up how when Carnage bonded to one he was almost invulnerable. Iron Man says that is exactly his reasoning. He goes on to say he also has a few other ideas to fight against Knull.
Later, at the bottom of the Mariana Trench, Namor meets with the Black Tide to recruit them into an army to combat Knull.
In Chernobyl, Ukraine, Blade approaches Dracula to recruit him and the vampires.
Over in The Bar With No Name Kingpin approaches all the villains in the bar with a proposal to make some money.
Elsewhere Iron Man flies right into one of the larger Symbiote Dragons mouth. He then uses his Extremis tech begin merging with the Symbiote Dragon. As he does so Iron Man begins to feel all of the pain of those connected to the Symbiotes.
Later Iron Man, with his armor now made up of a combination of Extremis tech and Symbiote, shows up to Eddie’s room. Before they can begin Iron Man’s plan to Eddie’s vital suddenly start spiking. A Symbiote suddenly appears to attempt to kill Eddie. As Mr. Fantastic works to extract the Symbiote to stop it from killing Eddie, Dylan tells everyone to move. Dylan then uses his powers to destroy the Symbiote.
Mr. Fantastic is amazed over Dylan’s powers and says that the kid may be their secret weapon.
Eddie’s vital signs then suddenly start going off. Everyone is left in shock as it looks like Eddie has passed away. End of issue.
The Good: King In Black #2 is not the jaw dropping, fast-paced action comic book that the first issue of this event was. Given where we are at when we start King In Black #2 that is not a bad thing at all. With our heroes already suffering major losses we needed to see how those that remain pick themselves up to come up with a plan to combat Knull. That is exactly where King In Black #2 excels.
For how talking heavy King In Black #2 is the story moves at a brisk pace. At no point does the story come across as slow. Everything that Donny Cates writes moves with a purpose to get us to the next phase in this war against Knull. You feel how much urgency all our heroes feel from how they can counter Knull to saving Eddie Brock. There is always a clear vision given with everyone understanding the stakes.
In the middle of all the planning Cates delivers several emotionally heavy scenes in King In Black #2. The first one that stands out is the opening with Human Torch and Spider-Man. Cates does an excellent job in reminding the reader of the friendship between the two through the back-and-forth they have as Human Torch prepares to sacrifice himself. Its that back-and-forth that elevates the impressive show that Human Torch has as he used a full powered Nova Blast attack to buy Spider-Man the time needed to get Eddie Brock to safety. It is one of those moments that as a reader you will remember with Human Torch understanding the bigger picture while still acting like his cocky self in front of his best friend.
This sacrifice from Human Torch spotlighted how even with all the big names in the King In Black event Eddie Brock is the most important character on the heroes side. The near-death condition that Knull leaves Eddie in created a greater sense of urgency to the story. Cates did a great job reminding us enough about where Eddie’s condition is at that as the reader we were always aware of that. Those reminders helped make the final page of King In Black #2 hit the strong emotional note that Cates wanted to end on.
Adding in Dylan Brock immediately back into the story after he was placed in the bunker in King In Black #1 was a smart play. The previous issue established the deep father-son connection between Eddie and Dylan. That connection made Dylan’s worry about his dad enhance how concerned you are for Eddie and if he is going to make it out of this.
Which made Iron Man stepping up with a plan to save Eddie be an even cooler moment. This was Iron Man at his best as he was able to rally everyone around a plan, while risky, that was worth taking a shot on. Having this plan be multi-layered showed how well Iron Man can step up as a leader others rally around. Having the recruitment of anyone that could be a strong ally, including villains like Dracula, as part of the plan showed that everyone understood where they are at in this war against Knull.
This made the revelation from our heroes side that Dylan and his unique powers could be their secret weapon an interesting twist. While Eddie wanted to keep Dylan far away from this conflict against Knull the situation on Earth just does not make that something that can be avoided. Dylan’s show of force as he destroyed the symbiote that was attacking Eddie was a perfect display of his powers and why he will be a key character in King In Black moving forward.
Everything that we see our heroes do in King In Black #2 further elevated the threat that Knull is without the villain being in this issue very much. Cates does a great job making you feel Knull presences throughout this issue. It is a testament to how well Cates has built Knull up to be this larger than life presence that he does not need to star in an issue to maintain his threat level. There is already an understanding that its our heroes job right now to figure out how to get to a point that they can have some hope in defeating Knull.
Through all of this we had a lot of great character moments that made use of Marvel’s continuity without having to rely on the reader having previous knowledge. From the conversation between Spider-Man and Valkyrie to Namor showing up to act big without a plan all used where these characters are at when King In Black takes place. That includes how Charles Xavier makes it clear to the Avengers and Fantastic Four that he isn’t going to send any more Krakoan mutants as back-up after the X-Men fell to Knull. That is perfectly in line with where Charles Xavier’s character is at while not making Krakoa’s status quo a big focal point right now.
Ryan Stegman once again knocks it out of the park with his artwork throughout King In Black #2. Even though King In Black was a dialogue heavy issue you never lose sight that what is taking place is a big event. That is thanks to Stegman’s incredible artwork getting over how the remaining heroes were not wasting time in figuring out how to beat Knull. The way Stegman drew the Symbiote controlled New York City and the Symbiote Dragons added to how Knull does come across as unstoppable even when not on screen. There was also a coolness factor to the way Stegman drew the Iron Man Symbiote armor that was just great to see that combination happen.
The Bad: Nothing.
Overall: King In Black #2 picks up where the first issue left off and does not miss a beat. Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman do a great job throughout this issue getting over how the remaining Marvel heroes now have their backs against the wall. This situation led to a lot of character interactions and decisions that add greater interest in how things will turn out when all is said and done with King In Black.
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