King in Black #5 Review

by Nick Devonald on April 07, 2021

Writer: Donny Cates
Pencils: Ryan Stegman
Inks: JP Mayer & Ryan Stegman
Colours: Frank Martin & Jason Keith
Letters: VC’s Clayton Cowles

King in Black #5 feels like Donny Cates swansong on Venom. This oversized conclusion to King in Black is the penultimate chapter in his Venom run, all that remains is a single issue of Venom, which will most likely take the form of an epilogue of sorts (Quick note, Venom #34 which also releases today is meant to be read before this issue). This issue is the real conclusion to everything that’s happened so far. He’s wrapping up storylines and plot threads which he introduced way back in his first Venom story arc, there has been real growth and change for Eddie Brock, changes which are sure to take the character in a brand-new direction in the future. And it all comes back to that question Cates asked early on, ‘Who is Eddie Brock?’, and Brock has his answer now.

With so much going on it would be easy for the ending to feel a little anti-climactic, but it doesn’t. Most of this issue focuses on the fight between Knull and Eddie, which it was always going to be. Despite the huge roster of heroes involved in this event it was never about the Avengers, or the X-Men, or Blade’s vampire army. It was always about Brock, who, after his recent encounter with the Enigma Force is back, changed, but still Brock.

Cates understands what fans want from a comic, and his work is filled with those little moments that are guaranteed to send the fans wild. Venom fashions himself a new weapon to take on Knull and All-Black, and it does not disappoint. As finales go it delivers everything readers could want, it’s epic and lives up to all of its promise. On a separate note, after seeing the time that Cates’ has managed to spare for Blade during this series, it would be great to see him doing a full Blade series at some point.

Ryan Stegmans art has been a highlight throughout Venom, his gorgeous pencils have brought the character to life in stunning detail, every symbiote infused panel has been spectacular. It’s only fitting that he’s the one to draw this final issue of King in Black, to conclude the story that he and Cates started so long ago. Throughout the event he’s had a massive roster of superheroes to include in his work and it’s been amazing getting to see his takes on the Avengers, X-Men, et al over the course of the series. With this issue being the finale he gets to include them taking on all manner of symbiote creatures while Brock secures the fate of the universe. There are so many panels to rave about throughout this issue, but it’s the final page that will linger in readers minds, it’s awesome, and if one image could sum up the ending of Cates and Stegmans run on Venom this is it.

This issue demonstrates two masters at the top of the game, crafting an ending to not only the King in Black event but also their years long run on Venom. A satisfying ending which ties up most, if not all, of the loose plot threads from their run. An ending to an event that felt truly universe threatening. This issue, along with the entire event, is not to be missed.

Our Score:


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