King in Black: Captain America #1

by Nick Devonald on March 03, 2021

Writer: Danny Lore
Artists: Mirko Colak, Stefano Landini, Rogê Antônio & Nico Leon
Colours: Erick Arciniega
Letters: VC’s Joe Caramagna

Readers of King in Black will know that Captain America was captured by Knull early on in the event and turned into part of his symbiote army, before being freed later by Dylan Brock. This one shot picks up not too long after this. The comic starts by focusing on Falcon and The Winter Soldier, long time companions of Captain America. Of course it’s not long before our titular hero swoops in to save the day and join them on the fringes of the battle against Knull.

Where this story differs from the usual fare is that Steve Rogers has been traumatised by his recent possession. While not the first time he’s been controlled by enemies this is the first time a God has been inside his head, and it’s left lasting scars on his psyche. Rogers can still hear Knull inside his head, exploring his doubts and weaknesses, making him question himself. It’s an interesting look inside the head of one of Marvels forefront heroes, and seeing a vulnerable side to him.

Most of the King in Black tie-ins have worked because they aren’t telling key parts of the event, rather they’re telling stories which just happen to be set against the backdrop of the event, and work in their own right. This issue differs because it’s a direct continuation of events from King in Black, and while a fascinating look into the lasting effects of being assimilated into Knulls army it feels less like a continuation of Captain America’s story and more like a traditional tie-in issue. This is both a strength and weakness of the story. This story also feels relatively self contained, it doesn’t look like it’s going to have any lasting effect on the characters, and as such isn’t essential reading for fans of either King in Black or Captain America. Of course fans of Captain America are bound to pick this issue up on the grounds that they like Captain America stories, but it’s hard to recommend a story that feels inconsequential. On the other hand it’s nice to get a story featuring the Winter Soldier and Falcon in their fight against Knull, and the timing coincides with their TV series debut on Disney+ coming up, and it makes sense that they would be on the sidelines rather than trying to take on Knull.

There are four artists working on this book, who each have a style quite clearly their own, while also being similar enough to the other artists that the transition is almost seamless between them. It’s quite likely that readers not looking for it might not even realise there is more than one artist drawing the story. Each of the artists do a great job of capturing the insanity that is fighting Knulls army, and the action flows thick and fast. By only having one colour artist, Erick Arciniega, it helps make the transition between the different artists subtle.

A tie-in that unfortunately suffers from being not essential reading to either King in Black or Captain America fans, this is one for die hards only. The story is entertaining in its own right. It’s an interesting concept of exploring the lasting damage of Knulls hold over Captain America, but ultimately feels like it doesn’t live up to the potential by being resolved in a one shot. It's there to flesh out King in Black and tells a self contained story which leaves it feeling a bit lacking when compared to some of the other tie-ins out there.

Our Score:


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