King In Black #4 Review: A Kind Of Awkward Poetry

King In Black #4
In a story so large, the possible key to victory might have been easier to find if one were thinking small (historically speaking) as Knull finally gets slightly less uninteresting. 

As this mega-crossover comes to a climax, things look pretty dire for the citizens of planet Earth. Dylan Brock, son of longtime symbiote partner Eddie Brock (doing business as Venom or Anti-Venom most of the time), has been captured by Knull, the ancient interstellar god of symbiotes and being boring. It is at this time in King in Black #4 that, at long last, the long con that lay waiting in the center of this "story" finally becomes apparent and ties things together in a way that almost makes sense.

King In Black #4 Review: A Kind Of Awkward Poetry
King In Black #4 Cover. Credit: Marvel

There's no use spoiling the reveal here, but long-time Marvel fans will recognize the Hail Mary play that comes into the narrative (whether envisioned by writer Donny Cates or merely executed by him) and recognize what this means. In a way, oddly enough, it echoes the words of meaty sock puppet Snoke, who said, "darkness rises, and the light to meet it." What's funniest about it, in many ways, is how much sturm und drang is put into freeing the likes of Thor or Storm from the grasp of Knull to recognize that even gods are pawns in this game and somewhat inconsequential in the end analysis. Admittedly, if the aforementioned Hail Mary were heralded as the big play early on, there's no way the sales would stand up to scrutiny, but making it the ultimate endgame (no pun intended) for Eddie Brock's twisted saga has a kind of awkward poetry to it.

For all the vast tableaus of goop with teeth, Ryan Stegman, J.P. Mayer, Frank Martin, and Clayton Cowles do admirable work in showing facial expressions and making two big moments (for a man and a woman, separately) stick the landing.  A lengthy flashback is meant to reveal the one thing Knull might be worried about (and if he had Google, he'd realize this planet is a terrible place to avoid it), and it's a bit overwrought (especially with a Geoff Johns riff some might recognize at the end) but serviceable in the way a Michael Bay film would be.

As boring as the crossover has been, by and large, this issue gingerly stepped towards adequacy. Is that enough? If you love Venom and big-scale smash-em-ups, sure. However, this is not a tale that will leave its shadow across the continuity (like, say, Age of Apocalypse) or deeply influence things for years to come (like, say, Heroes Reborn), for ill or naught. Historically, the Hail Mary has never left much of an impression, or Reed Richards might have been a little less surprised to see it coming. RATING: MEH.

King In Black #4
By Donny Cates, Ryan Stegman

About Hannibal Tabu

Hannibal Tabu is a writer, journalist, DJ, poet and designer living in south Los Angeles with his wife and children. He's a winner of the 2012 Top Cow Talent Hunt, winner of the 2018-2019 Cultural Trailblazer award from the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, his weekly comic book review column THE BUY PILE can be found on iHeartRadio's Nerd-O-Rama podcast, his reviews can be found on, and more information can be found at his website,
Plus, get free weekly web comics on the Operative Network at

twitter   facebook square   instagram   globe