While we may be in the throes of the winter months (I’m watching a beautiful snowfall as I write this), depending on the Marvel books you’re reading, you might think Halloween is still happening. Storytellers Benjamin Percy and Joshua Cassara and Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman are delivering tales that feel as though they’re under the influence of the cosmic horror genre, and I continue to love it. I genuinely wonder if H.P. Lovecraft was required reading at a Marvel Writer’s retreat sometime in the last couple years. If so, good call!
The ongoing King in Black mini-series that’s brought Knull, the king of the symbiotes and his dragon army to earth is currently playing out with some serious horror. Knull recently tore the hugely powerful Sentry in half; he sent Eddie Brock to his currently presumed death; and in the just released issue #3, he ran through Thor Odinson with a sword. Up next, if all goes Knull’s way is child possession. Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman are crafting a series that couldn’t have been told back in the days of the Comic Code. It’s dark and violent, and extremely entertaining. It’s also offering up potential stories for the Sony Pictures Universe of Marvel Characters to work with at some point. The potential to see Tom Holland’s Spider-Man, Tom Hardy’s Venom and (should it work out at the box office) Jared Leto’s Morbius taking on an evil symbiote from outer space could make for a great movie.
Benjamin Percy and Joshua Cassara’s X-Force #16 also delivered its own cosmic horror story, this one coming from the depths of the sea rather than outer space. With zombie-ish creatures washing up on Krakoa and potentially infecting the island, Wolverine, Forge, and Quentin Quire head underwater to see what and where the infection is coming from. During their excursion, Wolverine encounters a creature that he refers to as a god. The moment is gorgeously illustrated by Joshua Cassara, as it manages to make one of comicdoms most vicious characters feel small and insignificant. That moment is worth the price of admission alone.
While both King In Black and X-Force are two distinct books, their latest issues delivered similar vibes, and if you’re a horror fan like myself, I heartily recommend getting on board with those titles.