King in Black was one of the most anticipated stories in all of Marvel’s publication history. It was evident that Donny Cates was planning something massive for Eddie Brock and his symbiote, Venom, in the third issue of his iconic Venom series when he first introduced Knull, the God of the Void and creator of the symbiotes, whom I discussed in my previous review, “Carnage’s Ascension, A Review of Absolute Carnage.” We can see that Donny had massive plans for Knull simply by letting the readers know that Knull was the driving force behind Carnage’s most sinister rampage yet before and during Absolute Carnage which ends with Carnage cryptically letting Eddie know that Knull will wake up and come to Earth regardless of and because of whatever course of action Eddie chooses. During the year that takes place between these two epics, we see Eddie desperately planning and gathering forces for an invasion so great, that he doubts all the forces of good will ever be enough. What could be so deadly and terrifying that would make the events of Absolute Carnage pale in comparison? Perhaps a force so powerful that it was able to single handedly decapitate a Celestial?
It is revealed that Knull is so old in our universe that he predates light itself. He was content living alone in the darkness when the celestials entered his sector of the universe and began creating solar systems and planets populated with life. This intrusion greatly offended the dark god, causing him to lash out and behead one of the celestials which we learn later becomes the location known as Knowhere. Venom gathers many of earth’s greatest heroes from the Avengers, X-Men, Fantastic Four, and most notably, his former enemy, Spider-Man with whom Eddie has been forming a strong friendship. This mending between Spider-Man and Venom is critical to Venom fulfilling his character arc. The Venom symbiote is one of Knull’s oldest creations. However, it has been separated from the hive so long and has evolved so much from its time with both Peter and Eddie, that Knull cannot seemingly control it like he can all the other symbiotes. This seems to be insignificant at the time though, since Knull is easily able to best Venom. He even quickly and horrifically murders the powerhouse known as Sentry, corrupts many heroes, and succeeds in enveloping the entire planet in symbiote goo, blocking out light and communication attempts to other planetary systems. Although, it appears that there may not be much left to ask for help, since we learn that Knull has decimated every civilization he encountered on his way to earth including the vast Kree/ Skrull alliance. Much of this is told through renowned horror writer, Clay McCleod Chapman’s Web of Venom: Empyre’s End comic which is a must for any who enjoy the darker side of Marvel.
Besides learning that both Thor and the Silver Surfer have been able to hurt him and the symbiotes themselves were able to turn on him and imprison him for millennia, we also learn that another mysterious entity of light had once beaten him. This entity we have seen before but by a different name, the Captain Universe force. The Surfer brings the force to Earth with him and finds a way to get it through the symbiote shell encasing the earth. However, the Surfer is not who the light chooses as its avatar this time. Who will the Captain Universe force imbue to take on the darkness once more? How will the light beat the dark and can that which came from the dark turn to the light? Read this dark epic to find out. I also strongly recommend Donny Cate’s 5 issue tale, Silver Surfer Black. This was his ode to the death of Stan Lee and gives a lot of the back story to how and why the Surfer gets involved in the King in Black.