Review – King in Black #2 (Marvel Comics)

  • Writing - 8.8/10
  • Art - 9.2/10
  • Overall - 9/10

King in Black #2

Writer: Donny Cates
Pencils: Ryan Stegman
Inks: JP Mayer
Colorist: Frank Martin
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Maturity Rating: Teen+
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Release Date: December 23, 2020

The King in Black begins his reign over the Marvel Universe, but our heroes are not done fighting yet. But what can they possibly do, with their ranks quickly dwindling? 

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“Reign of Darkness” King in Black #2

In case you were wondering, Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman didn’t come to play! King in Black #1 started off with a bang and King in Black #2 brings the fury. After literally ripping The Sentry in half Marvel’s heroes are scrambling. Knull, the king of the Symbiotes, has come and wrapped the Earth in darkness. His dragon symbiotes and minions run all over the world. He has taken down Earth’s heaviest hitters and has even taken over some of our heroes’ bodies!

King in Black #2 (Marvel Comics) tattoo variant cover by Ian Bederman
King in Black #2 (Marvel Comics) tattoo variant cover by Ian Bederman

In King in Black #2 our remaining heroes struggle to keep Eddie Brock alive. He is the only person with a connection to Knull, and who might be able to save them. As a plan begins to formulate the world begins to crumble, and it may be all too little, all too late, as Knull reigns supreme in King in Black #2.


Donny Cates fills this issue with a ton of crazy energy. His writing brings a wonderful sense of dread, anticipation, and distress that seeps throughout the pages of King in Black #2. There is this anxious feeling that consumes me while reading the issue. As the characters talk and the plot unfolds, there is just a fantastic uneasiness to the whole thing. It is a delightful feeling for the issue and series and keeps me, as a reader, fully engaged throughout the issue.

I think I mentioned this in my review of the first issue, but I love having Donny Cates get a crack at the larger Marvel universe and getting to write these other characters. There are some great scenes and interactions throughout this issue that just had me smiling. There are some fantastic moments for different characters throughout King in Black #2.

Now, this series, and King in Black #2 in particular, may not be as introspective as other Donny Cates work. It does go a little deep with Eddie, but it does miss a little bit of that “heart” Cates normally puts in his work. It misses a little bit of that Eddie focus the previous issue had. But this is also the second issue of a big event book. So, he had to get some stuff going and put other things to the side, which is okay. I would like to see that seep more into the series.


Another tour-de-force on art in King in Black #2 with Ryan Stegman, JP Mayer, and Frank Martin. The visuals are just splendid throughout this issue. This issue is not as action-oriented as the previous, but the team continues to tell a wonderfully engaging visual story throughout the pages.

I continue to be stunned at just how much detail is brought from page to page. Each panel is full and complete. Also, just fantastic facial expressions and character acting throughout this issue. King in Black #2‘s story relies on a lot of visuals of characters reacting to certain things, and the art team captures those emotions tremendously well. 

Frank Martin also continues to paint the series in a tremendous dark tone, that sets a morose feel to the series. Also, Clayton Cowles does some great lettering in this issue. There are a few sequences where his lettering really ratchets up what is happening on the pages.


I think the biggest praise I could give King in Black #2 is that after reading the final page I immediately wanted issue #3. It made me want more of it. For me and, I assume, many others, that is a pretty solid sign of a good book. I am not even really that big into what has been going on in Venom recently, but man, King in Black has grabbed ahold of me and I am loving every minute of it! This is what an “event” comic should be. Full of action and intrigue, but still finding some heart and soul through all of it as well. King in Black #2 is a definite winner.

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