Comics never stop. They don’t take a break. There are no season breaks. Companies want to keep you coming into shops (when we’re allowed) or buying your books digitally, so they need to keep the faucet turned on. None of it matters though, if there aren’t good stories to tell.
In the case of Marvel they’ve gone from the conclusion of the epic X of Swords crossover to the brand new King in Black story focused on the arrival on Earth of Knull, the god of symbiotes.
King in Black #1
Writer: Donny Cates
Artist: Ryan Stegman
This is a story that Donny Cates has been working towards for years, and it is some seriously dark stuff. We’ve seen what Knull can do in outer space, and in this issue the Avengers, the X-Men and Venom stand ready to defend the planet. What makes it a keeper is watching the power of Knull in action, most specifically when he easily takes down one of the most powerful heroes in the entire universe. Ryan Stegman delivers an absolutely beautiful moment of gore and horror and one that made a genre fan like myself suitably impressed that Marvel published the image. It took guts.
Fantastic Four: Road Trip
Writer: Christopher Cantwell
Artist: Filipe Andrade
Speaking of horror, fans of body horror and the work of a directors like David Cronenberg or The Soska Sisters should definitely check out this new FF one-off. Marvel’s first family are taking a road trip, but of course, Reed Richards just can’t shut down his scientific brain. Following a stop to explore a giant crater, the entire family is infected by a virus that quickly begins to pull their bodies apart. Writer Christopher Cantwell manages to capture the right tone of a family on the road and living in extremely closed quarters while artist Filipe Andrade delivers some decidedly disturbing images, from The Thing’s hard rock body falling apart to the Invisible Woman’s insides coming out. It’s creepy, entertaining fun that doesn’t overstay its welcome.
King in Black and Fantastic Four: Road Trip are definitely books that never would have gotten past the Comics Code back in the day. We are living in glorious times, indeed.