Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman have thus far delivered on the promise that comes with major blockbuster comic book events with their work on King In Black. The first four issues of this event have set the stage for the final confrontation between Knull and our heroes to be the biggest clash in the Marvel Universe. Adding in how Eddie Brock became the new Captain Universe after the Enigma Force was revealed to be the Light that counters Knull’s symbiote representation of Darkness things are sure to end in an epic way. Let’s not waste any more time and dive right into King In Black #5.
Writer: Donny Cates
Artist: Ryan Stegman
Inkers: JP Mayer and Ryan Stegman
Colorists: Frank Martin and Jason Keith
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: Silver Surfer faces off against Knull. Not backing to Knull’s power Silver Surfer transforms his surfboard into a sword. As Knull taunts Silver Surfer’s foolish last stand the Avengers, X-Men, Spider-Man, and other heroes appear ready to back up Silver Surfer against Knull.
As the heroes make their final charge Eddie Brock in his Venom form powered by the Enigma Force loudly lands in the middle of the battlefield. Venom says he will take things from here. He then proceeds to summon Thor’s Mjolnir and Silver Surfer’s surfboard to him. Venom then combines both weapons into a cosmic battle axe that is further augmented by the Enigma Force.
Knull makes a break for it. Venom immediately chases after Knull and destroys the Symbiote Dragons that try to attack him. Venom then grabs Knull and drives him hard through the ground into the underground tunnels.
Knull summons the Arishem the Judge Celestial he is controlling to attack Venom. Venom quickly responds by flying up and beheading Arishem the Judge.
Venom then goes back to Knull and overpowers the Symbiote God. Venom holds Knull like the Symbiote God once held him when his Symbiote was taken from Eddie Brock (see King In Black #1). Venom drives his cosmic battle axe into Knull’s chest and rips the Symbiote out of Knull. Venom then drops Knull several stories high.
Knull crashes down on to the ground hard but is able to recover in a bloody mess. Knull laughs and mocks Venom by saying Eddie can’t erase the darkness that lives in his son (Dylan Brock) even if he kills Knull.
Hearing this Venom agrees that there will always be darkness and flies Knull straight to the Sun. Venom then uses the Enigma Force to fully eliminate Knull.
The Enigma Force tells Eddie that the Symbiotes are free from Knull’s control.
Back on Earth, the vampires turn on the heroes and attack Blade. Before they can kill Blade the Symbiote that covered Earth disappears causing the Sun to shine once again, which kills the vampires attacking Blade.
Venom’s cosmic battle axe falls on the ground and splits back to its Mjolnir and cosmic surfboard forms as they go back to Thor and Silver Surfer, respectively.
Eddie then rejoins the heroes and Spider-Man asks if it is over. Eddie says it is not as he notices Dylan writhing in pain.
Eddie hugs his son while telling Dylan it will be okay. Eddie then uses his Enigma Force powers to take out the remaining power of Knull’s darkness that exists in Dylan. Eddie then proceeds to crush it.
The Enigma Force proclaims that it must leave but that Eddie has become something new.
The Venom Symbiote suddenly once again takes Eddie as its host. Eddie as Venom then tells his son that he is okay and he’ll eventually return to him.
As he flies up the Venom Symbiote reveals that Eddie has become the new Hive Mind as the God of the Symbiotes. As the Symbiotes all follow Eddie lead to leave Earth the Venom Symbiote declares Eddie the new King In Black. End of issue.
The Good: An ending for a big event does not get any better than what King In Black #5 delivered. Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman knew exactly what King In Black was all about and what audiences wanted to see with its conclusion. And that is a big, badass battle between Venom and Knull, which is exactly what we got.
There is really not much to King In Black #5 outside the big battle between Eddie Brock in his Captain Universe Venom form and Knull. That is what the majority of this final issue consists of and it is exactly what it needed to be. This entire event has been built around making this final battle come across as a clash between two titans of the Marvel Universe and that is what you felt.
The build to the final fight was nicely done with King In Black #5 starting out with the Avengers, X-Men, Spider-Man, Silver Surfer, and other heroes making the typical final charge expected from the finale of a big event. This opening made a statement similar to Avengers: Endgame’s “Avengers Assemble” moment that our heroes to get you right into how this is the big final fight of the story. It made Eddie’s big entrance as Captain Universe Venom come across as epic as possible. Adding in how Eddie used the Enigma Force to create a whole new cosmic weapon that combined Thor’s Mjolnir and Silver Surfer’s surfboard made the entire opening one giant spectacle that got you hyped for the end.
Even though Eddie as Captain Universe Venom completely dominated the fight Cates did a good job at putting over how powerful Knull was at this point. Knull had so much to throw at Eddie from his Symbiote Dragons to a Celestial that we still saw how powerful the villain was. It made the fact that Eddie was able to use Knull’s own overconfidence that the villain showed throughout King In Black to overcome his threats. It made the moments like how Eddie threw Knull off a building similar to how they were on opposite positions in King In Black #1 even more satisfying.
This all made the conclusion that much better. Because while the way Knull was taken out was all about non-stop action the heart of King In Black #5 came from the ending. Throughout King In Black we’ve seen how Cates has emphasized how important Eddie and Dylan’s father-son relationship is. Even if they had a rocky start at the end of the day they have both come to love each other as father and son. That shines through with how Eddie was determined to not let Dylan become the new Knull.
Eddie destroying the last part of Knull also helped to highlight how a major theme in King In Black was the balance between light and darkness. As we saw before Eddie destroyed Knull in the Sun, Eddie understood that darkness would never go away. Even if he took out the remaining part of Knull that resided in his son it does not mean darkness in the Marvel Universe would be wiped away.
Which all made the quick acceptance by Eddie that he must become the new God of the Symbiotes as Venom even more powerful. Cates did a wonderful job making this role for Eddie feel like the story had come full circle. This is what Eddie as Venom was born to do. It all made the visual of Eddie as Venom flying off with the Symbiotes following be a home run of an ending while also making you wonder what is next for the Symbiotes in the Marvel Universe.
As King In Black #5 was dominated by the fight between Venom and Knull, Ryan Stegman delivered huge with making everything look as epic as possible. This was big event level artwork as you really felt how Venom vs Knull was a battle between two God-like forces. Everything had a big impact and very much looked like we were getting a fight sequence you would get from Dragon Ball when Goku and Frieza would fight. The final splash page delivered on how we got an ending was satisfying while also setting up more questions for the future of Venom and the Symbiotes.
The Bad: The only thing that did not work in King In Black #5 was the addition of the Blade and vampire sub-plot. This was a sub-plot that was never developed in the King In Black main series outside of when Blade recruited the vampires in the second issue. So to suddenly have them become a focus for a few pages just came out of nowhere. It would’ve been better if we would have gotten more reaction from the Avengers, X-Men, and other heroes involved since they were a bigger part of combating Knull in this story. It just reminded you that after the final charge in the beginning of King In Black #5 we only really only saw Spider-Man afterwards.
Overall: Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman made sure that the final battle between Venom and Knull was as epic as possible. And that is exactly what we got as King In Black #5 delivered an action packed conclusion that had some good heart at the end. This will definitely go down as one of Marvel’s best big event. If you missed out on getting King In Black in single issues I highly recommend reading it when it comes out in hardcover or trade paperback form.
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