King in Black #2 Review

by Harlan Ivester on December 23, 2020

Writer: Donny Cates
Penciler: Ryan Stegman
Inker: JP Mayer
Color Artist: Frank Martin
Publisher: Marvel Comics

                The second chapter of King in Black is much less focused on spectacle (though there is still plenty of that). Cates has dedicated most of this script to advancing and introducing new plot elements, which means that this issue has excellent pacing. There is never a dull moment. The dialogue is mostly spot on. There are some nice call-backs to Absolute Carnage that fans will appreciate, as well as some more heart-felt moments involving Spider-Man. I can’t help being a little annoyed by a certain character still being surprised or in disbelief of Knull’s power when the dude literally showed up with a handful of Celestials under his control in the last issue, but it’s thankfully a brief moment. Finally, the ending is a cliffhanger that nobody is going to buy, and so I’m left wondering why Cates would even bother with it.

                The cool thing about Venom’s story now involving the larger Marvel universe is that Stegman and Mayer get to really show their skill. Their ability to clearly communicate such a wide range of characters’ personality traits through their acting is nothing short of astounding. Stegman’s work feels very deliberate and in sync with the words provided by Cates, making for a very cohesive experience on every page. Finally, Frank Martin has more opportunity to direct his coloring effort towards emotional effect in this issue, and it pays off. Without getting into spoilers, his lighting choices significantly raised the stakes on more than one occasion in this issue.

Our Score:


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