For the last couple years, Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman have been putting together a pretty crazy and frankly must-read Venom ongoing series. Venom has a rather messy narrative history full of retcons and ideas that don’t sync well, so during his run, Cates has decided to cut into Venom lore like a surgeon with a chainsaw.
Certain aspects of Venom’s past have been written out, like the idea that Eddie Brock had cancer or even a sister. Brian Michael Bendis’ attempt to rewrite the symbiote species as some kind of gooey cosmic knight armor created to protect the universe has also been discarded.
There have been two important characters introduced in this series. One is Dylan Brock, Eddie’s recently-discovered son who has symbiote DNA mixed into his biology. He appears to be a major step in symbiote evolution and that worries the Maker (Ultimate Reed Richards). Ultimate Reed theorized that all the symbiote spawns have been created as a predictive defense mechanism for horrible events on the horizon.
For instance, the Venom symbiote could sense the danger of Thanos and the events of Infinity Gauntlet back in the day and instinctively spawned Carnage in response. Carnage created Toxin right before the Avengers disassembled and led to all sorts of world-shaking drama.
So then…what horrible event was Dylan born in response to?
From the very beginning, the Cates run of Venom has been building towards the coming of Knull, the God of Symbiotes. AKA the Black King. Retroactively introduced as a godly being from the dawn of time who had taken on the likes of the Silver Surfer and Thor, Knull created the symbiote race itself before being sealed away for countless years. He also created the symbiote-like sword All-Black once wielded by Thor villain Gorr the God-Butcher.
The Venom series notably built to an event called Absolute Carnage, where Carnage was reborn as an extremely powerful harbinger of Knull. Once Carnage was defeated, it was apparent that Knull was free from his prison and is very much on the way.
Now we know that it’s going to at the end of 2020. Knull is coming in King in Black #1 this December.
Fortunately, Venom is on very good terms with Earth’s heroes these days. Thanks to his actions in War of the Realms and Absolute Carnage, the Avengers have even considered maybe letting him join the team. That’s great because they need to listen to his warnings that this damn symbiote god is on the way. Having Thor there to say, “Oh, crap. THAT guy?” is a plus.
According to this trailer, though, the Avengers and the rest of the superhero community might not be taking Knull as seriously as they should.
I guess the strategy of “buy more gongs and airhorns” might not be enough.
Then again, this is going to be the third symbiote invasion on Earth. The first time was part of a mid-90s Clone Saga tie-in. Then there was some kind of botched Dr. Doom experiment that the Avengers took care of back in the mid-00s. I suppose what separates this from the others is that there’s a legit endboss attached to it and it’s someone who can go toe-to-toe with the Silver Surfer.
Well, let’s hope they stick the landing and it makes for a fun event. I have to imagine Knull has potential as the big villain for whenever we get a third Venom movie.
Crazy that at the end of 2020, the biggest threat is someone coming to Earth to force everyone to wear a mask.