We may still be reeling from the epic Godzilla vs. Kong, but an even bigger battle between two titans takes place in King in Black. The finale lands today, and it features quite a lot of fighting. It’s recommended you read Venom #34 first — it leads directly into this issue — and make no mistake, Eddie Brock is due some vengeance. Or maybe it’s pure justice? Given his newfound abilities, it’s likely the latter.
If you’re looking for a knock-down, drag-out fight, you have come to the right place. Hell, there’s even an opener fight of sorts with Silver Surfer lining up to go toe to toe with Knull. Before Silver Surfer can drop a blade into Knull’s head, however, Eddie Brock shows up and he’s supercharged. Like out of your favorite kaiju film, this issue amps up Venom’s powers for the final showdown which adds a mystery element to what he can do and how the fight can play out. There are also fun nods to previous scenes in the event, like Eddie dropping Knull off a building, and plenty of jaw-dropping moments. You may never think of Mjolnir the same way again.
So what does this book do right? It effectively shows us how Eddie Brock is awesome at wielding some cosmic superpowers. He brings Knull down hard and relentlessly, which shows Eddie doesn’t hold back. He’s not pure good per se, but he can do great things when given the opportunity. This issue also sets up Eddie Brock for a brand new direction that we’ve never seen before. Typically downtrodden and an underdog looking for a scrap, it’ll be interesting to see how the character is used with a brand new chip on his shoulder.
This issue also wraps up Knull quite well. If you were wondering why he wasn’t getting more page time chewing up the scenery, this issue answers that and then some. He basically goes out like the chump that he is and while he was incredibly overpowered up until this issue, it suits the character’s lack of personality. He was evil incarnate. Simple and easily removed. At least for now.
The book looks fabulous and every bit event-worthy. Ryan Stegman, along with JP Mayer on inks and Frank Martin and Jason Keith on colors, brings page after page of poster-worthy material. Some of the best pages are thanks to good layout choices, with panels leading to a big attack by Venom midway through the page leading to a final panel to draw your eye from top left to the bottom right, or an epic page with Venom holding Knull over the edge of a building. The panels that got Venom to this spot draws your eye down each with a slight 3D effect.
Since the sky is covered by Symbiote, much of this book is somewhat surprisingly cast in red. It’s not so much dark as it is hellish. That gives the book an auburn hue that is distinctive, though it doesn’t vary much between scenes. It does help bring out the dark blacks and blues of Venom.
Many may think it was too easy to come to this conclusion. Certainly, Venom didn’t have to try all that hard to defeat Knull, but given the event’s simple and certain focus it makes a lot of sense. This is not the most complex or interesting event ever, but it never tried to be anything it wasn’t. For that, you have to respect its hyper-focus on a Knull vs. Venom showdown to end things, even if the advantages from either side weren’t earned. King in Black #5 ends by asking, “What if Venom could be the strongest there is?” and for that, it succeeds in showing off a hero’s very best day.
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