This week brought us the penultimate chapter of Donny Cates’ sweeping King in Black event, the 2nd entry in the vastly popular Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles arc, The Last Ronin, the final issue (for now) of the Miranda Brothers independent story, We Live, as well as more narrative threads tied to DC’s Future State.
Let’s take a quick look at a handful of these issues!
King in Black #4
With Knull”s grip on Earth almost absolute, a much needed reprieve arrives in the form of the Silver Surfer. Donning a striking new look thanks to the events of Cates’ Silver Surfer Black run, the noble Herald dispatches numerous symbiote dragons with ease. Jean Gray makes an appearance, doing her best to determine a weakness of the God of the Symbiotes. Oh, and Doctor Strange ascends to Godhood, temporarily. It seems hopeless, until she realizes that the fateful battle that brought Knull to Gorr’s homeworld all those millenia ago involved another: a god of Light.
Most recently having taken up residence in Miles Morales, the spirit of Captain Universe was being studied by Reed Richards, who deemed it the “Enigma Force”. Seeking out its place of captivity, the Silver Surfer released it, encouraging it to find its new host:
The final panel sees the previously dead anti-hero hovering in the air, surrounded by rings of light as the transformation is set to begin.
With Cates looking to step away from Venom in just a few short months, (and take up the mantle of Spawn, if the cryptic tweets are being read correctly) King in Black is proving to be an excellent study in Cates’ ability to tie his vast worlds together. When you have the opportunity to write for Marvel, especially series like Thor, Silver Surfer and others, there is a lot of room to explore – which can often spell narrative disaster. Cates thrives in this environment, and continues to deftly weave multi-year old easter eggs into his developing story.
The action in King in Black 4 was top notch as well: any excuse to see the Silver Surfer in action is good enough for me.
As the Symbiote-laden event draws to its conclusion, what awaits Eddie Brock? How will Knull ultimately be defeated? Are there further revelations for Dylan Brock that have yet to be revealed?
Guess we’ll find out!
King in Black Tie-Ins: Savage Avengers, Miles Morales: Spider Man, Planet of the Symbiotes #2
The tie-ins this week were pretty solid, actually. Savage Avengers, Miles Morales and Planet of the Symbiotes have some great narratives and introductions to some new heroes for us to explore in the near future.
In Miles Morales‘ tie in, he finds himself battling a symbiote-infected Ms. Marvel. Kamala Khan is overwhelmed by Knull, and the two duke it out. Thankfully, Miles has electricity-based powers, which seems to have a notable impact on the symbiote that is possessing Kamala. After a massive blast, Kamala is freed, but at the expense of a now-unconscious Miles, with more Symbiote Dragons making their way towards them at rapid speed.
Planet of the Symbiotes has been a fantastic little getaway title – and this issue is no different. We are introduced to Todd Ziller, an experimental soldier that can transform into the American Kaiju: a super-sized monster only deployed to handle the most dire of threats. Seemingly an army of Symbiote Dragons qualifies. With monster-sized action, it definitely sparked my interest in picking up where the story leaves off if/when the solo series arrives.
We also get a snapshot of a new iteration of Marvel’s Hornet. Previously at odds with Spider-Man as the Prowler, Hobie Brown now utilizes his genius as the Hornet. Doing his best to save lives when the symbiotes start attacking, the chapter sets the stage for a potential breakaway series.
Savage Avengers was fun, with a bit more lore tying in Conan’s blade and its relationship with symbiotes, as well as his own vendetta against his magic-wielding rival Kulan Gath. Seemingly not corrupted by Knull’s influence, this symbiote strikes a working relationship with Conan as the two work towards putting the evil wizard down once and for all.
Overall, some great tie-ins this week.
We Live #5
It’s been a while since we checked in on this touching and brutal tale of survival in a broken, destitute world. Tala and Hototo have reached the end of their journey, just as horrific disasters threaten the departure of the chosen children. With Tsunamis, monster attacks, and insidious forces doing their best to wipe out mankind for good, we get a brief glimpse into an intergalactic council of mysterious robed creatures that set Earth on this path. The bracers were provided by this council, despite the haunting warning that they “understand the risk”.
Back on Earth, the bracelet-wearing kids, including Hototo, are surrounded by a bright orb of light as the extinction countdown clock hits 0. In a horrific turn of events, it appears that it kills the children, mutating them into macabre clumps of flesh. Tala and the others look on, distraught.
Yet…this appeared to have been intentional, as the “mutation” completes, and from these cocoons of light emerge an army of seemingly super-powered beings. The bracelets have converted their former wearers into superheroes, and the Era of the Palladions has arrived.
We Live is masterfully revealed to be a prequel arc: designed to detail the origin of a world of superheroes that the Miranda brothers intend to bring to life in the next chapter.
A superb conclusion to this touchingly beautiful series. With raw emotion, moments of quiet beauty and a surprising amount of action, We Live is yet another notch in Aftershock Comics growing library of impressive titles.
A mess of loose organs kept together in a robotic exoskeleton known as “El” yearns for release from the military prison that he is being kept in. In pain beyond imagination, he’s kept there for reasons not fully revealed in this opening issue – when he meets a new caretaker/mechanic named Mateo.
Mateo is obviously conflicted with his work. He attempts to justify his participation due to his specialized nature, but the guilt manifests itself in self-destructive behaviors that are far too recognizable for most.
Mateo tries to make El a bit more comfortable, but the narration reinforces the futility and in fact, tragedy, of Mateo’s work.
It’s a heavy story, with allusions to the pain and misery some of us may be masking, despite outsiders attempts to make things just a bit more bearable.
I would say I’m looking forward to the next issue, which would be true if I was a glutton for emotional punishment. That being said, I am intrigued at where the narrative is heading. Even if we jettison off of an emotional cliff, we can get a great view before the end.
Alright, that’s it for this week! Looking forward to some more King in Black tie-ins next week, as well as I Breathed A Body #2, Crossover #4, and Tynion’s Department of Truth #6.