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Event Details
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Event Synopsis

Past

Decades ago, a teenage Namor McKenzie was sent as a diplomatic envoy to the Chasm People's outpost in the Orreki Reefs in a bid to arrange a union between them and the Atlantean Empire. After helping foil a coup against King Attukar of the Chasm People, Namor and his future nemesis Attuma were sent to accompany the elite squad Swift Tide on a mission to retrieve an ancient dark artifact called the Unforgotten Stone.[1] The mission ended in disaster, with the Swift Tide being corrupted into monsters by the Unforgotten Stone's eldritch power,[2] redubbing themselves the Black Tide. The Black Tide slaughtered the Chasm People present at the Orreki Reefs, including King Attukar,[3] before declaring war on Atlantis itself.[4] When the Black Tide attacked Atlantis, Dorma used the power of the Unforgotten Stone - which had been retrieved by her pet mutant goldfish Ambrose - to trap them in ice. Read the rites of banishment by Emperor Thakorr, the Black Tide were imprisoned in the depths of the Harran's Rift.[5]

During the time Spider-Man was the host of the symbiote later known as Venom, a dark entity called Mister E attempted to conquer the Earth in service of his lord and master - the dark god Knull. Witnessing a future where he succeeded, Kang the Conquerer attempted to prevent this from coming to pass, extracting Uatu the Watcher's knowledge and recruiting Rocket Raccoon to his cause. Coming into conflict with Spider-Man, Mister E was confused as to why one of its brethren would be subservient to its host and try to stop its plan.[6] When Black Knight intervened, Mister E impersonated Merlin to lure him into a trap and stole the Ebony Blade - intent on destroying it out of the belief it could be used to vanquish Knull.[7] Stealing an experimental Quinjet, Mister E took the Ebony Blade to the troll blacksmith Ulicia on Knowhere; pursued by Kang, Rocket, Spider-Man, the Black Knight, and Captain Marvel.[8] After a brief fight with Ulicia's brother Ulik - who had been recruited by Uatu to reclaim the Ebony Blade, Mister E was subdued by Captain Marvel's light-based powers and imprisoned in the Collector's showroom.[9] Reaching backwards through time, Knull restored Mister E's full power and he escaped, reclaiming the Ebony Blade with the intent of using it to prematurely free Knull, but was vanquished by Captain Marvel. Uatu attempted to take the group of heroes and villains forward through time to stop Knull's invasion in the future, but was stopped by the other Watchers. Captain Marvel was able to destroy the shell of living abyss covering the sun, briefly rousing Knull from his slumber to vow revenge. In order to preserve the continuity of the time-stream, Uatu erased the memories of everyone involved.[10]

Present

Ravaging the Cosmos

Unleashed from Klyntar, Knull and his horde blaze a swath of destruction across the cosmos en route to Earth - destroying multiple planets,[11][12] waylaying a fleet of Kree/Skrull Alliance ships and slaughtering or infecting their crews,[13] and settling his eons-old grudge against the Celestials by killing and/or infecting them with symbiotes.[14] Focusing his attention on Earth, Knull dispatched symbiote-dragons across the cosmos to cause as much widespread destruction as possible, one of them attacking Spartax and slaughtering two billion of its inhabitants in the space of four standard hours before being slain by the apotheosized Star-Lord.[15] Other symbiote-dragons began laying waste to Zn'rx territories, precipitating a Snarkwar amongst the various factions.[16] Knull also infected Fin Fang Foom with a symbiote, adding the Makluan dragon to his army.[17]

Knull's Conquest of Earth

Sensing that Knull's arrival on Earth is imminent, Eddie Brock alerts the Avengers and takes his son Dylan to the secret bunker made for Spider-Man by Ezekiel Sims. As hundreds of thousands of Symbiote Dragons fly through space towards Earth, Iron Man uses derelict warships left over from the war with the Cotati as a minefield - only managing to kill a hundred of them. The Avengers contact Mayor Wilson Fisk to warn him of the danger, but Fisk disregards the warning to evacuate the city, assuming that it's a trick to discredit him.[18] As the Avengers and Fantastic Four rush to evacuate Manhattan, the symbiote dragons make landfall and start cocooning the city in symbiotes. As Doctor Strange, the X-Men, and numerous street-level heroes join the evacuation effort, Eddie makes his way to Dark Carnage's Spire and connects to it using the Venom symbiote - intending to hack into the Symbiote Hive-Mind and hijack control of the symbiote dragons. Before Eddie can attempt to do so, symbiote-controlled Celestials arrive and Knull emerges demanding to be given the human called Brock in exchange for making Earth's destruction swift and painless.

The Sentry arrives and attempts to rip Knull in half, but is effortlessly overpowered and torn in half himself. Absorbing the Void, Knull forcibly bonds symbiotes to most of the remaining heroes and then envelops the Earth in a shell of living abyss. Venom decides to surrender to Knull in order to buy the remaining heroes time to escape, alerting Knull to his location. Knull grabs Venom and takes him to the top of the Empire State Building, where Venom offers to serve him if he spares Earth. Knull refuses and informs Venom that the Brock he wanted was Dylan, ripping the symbiote off Eddie before dropping him.[14] Eddie is mortally wounded and left comatose, Spider-Man taking him to the Fantastic Four for medical treatment.[19] Sacrificing himself to buy time for Spider-Man to escape with Eddie, the Human Torch is taken over by a symbiote, as is his soulmate Sky and the Thing.[20]

Disregarding the evacuation order to attempt a major heist, Black Cat is caught off-guard by Knull's attack and barely manages to escape, horrified by witnessing the Avengers' last stand. Barely escaping and making her way to Alchemax, she recruits Doctor Steven to provide her with the means to save Doctor Strange.[21]

As the symbiote shell encases the Earth, Knull's symbiote-dragons attack major cities around the world, attempting to devour everyone they come across or spawning symbiotes that take over civilians, heroes, and villains alike.[22][23][18][24] Knull sends a symbiote-dragon to hunt down the Black Knight, seeking to claim the Ebony Blade for himself; leading to a showdown in Shanghai between the Black Knight, Aero, Sword Master, and one of Knull's avatars in the shape of the dark god Chiyou. Coming to terms with his inner darkness, the Black Knight stops Knull from claiming the Ebony Blade and Sword Master's Sword of Fu Xi; the three heroes disembarking to Manhattan to take the fight to Knull.[22] Ghost Rider - in the middle of interrogating Mephisto - witnessed the beginning of Knull's invasion and used his Penance Stare to sever a symbiote-dragon's connection to the Symbiote Hive. Faced with an army of demons seeking to kill him and restore Mephisto to the throne of Hell, Blaze was joined by Death Rider, Sara the Caretaker, and Blackheart. Mephisto took advantage of the distraction to escape, but the demons were taken over by symbiotes and captured him. Ghost Rider and his allies battled the symbiote-infected demons, which attempted to infect Ghost Rider as well. Ghost Rider incapacitated the symbiote-controlled demons with another Penance Stare, and Sara persuaded him to set Mephisto free to reclaim the throne of his Hell. As a parting gift, Mephisto captured the symbiote-dragon and took it to Hell promising to destroy it, but immediately reneged on his word intending to weaponize it for his own purposes.[25]

Another symbiote-dragon attacks the Ravencroft Institute and breaches the tomb of Cortland Kasady, who Knull viewed as one of his most-loyal acolytes. Knull reanimates Cortland as he once had his descendant Cletus Kasady, dubbing the undead serial killer Plague; and Plague sets out to wreak havoc in Knull's name and avenge his descendant by killing Eddie Brock.[26]

Counterattack

In the hours that follow Knull's initial victory, the X-Men withdraw from the global defense effort to focus on defending Krakoa, while the remaining Fantastic Four, Iron Man, and the Black Panther attempt to rally as many allies as they can - including arranging a truce with Namor and sending him to recruit the Black Tide, sending Blade to recruit Count Dracula, and contacting the Mayor Fisk to recruit New York's supervillains.[19] Taking the loss of several of his bodyguards, constituents, and reputation personally,[27] Fisk forcibly recruits a team of supervillains from the Bar with No Name, dubs them the Thunderbolts, and sends them to find Norman Osborn.[28]

Wakanda is nearly overrun by symbiotes, but the Black Panther repells the attack by using Wakanda's forcefield to amplify Klaw's severed sonic cannon -- briefly punching a hole through the symbiote barrier encasing the Earth -- and summoning the Hand of Bast to combat a symbiote-dragon spawning the horde.[23] The "Knullified" Thing and the Human Torch attack 4 Yancy Street as Sky leads a horde of symbiote-dragons to attack Brainstorm and Powerhouse. Mister Fantastic and the Invisible Woman manage to repel the Thing and Human Torch, while Dragon Man battles Sky and Brainstorm is briefly taken over by a symbiote only to be freed using a lightning gun made by Bentley-23.[29] Iron Man captures a symbiote-dragon to heal Eddie, but is unable to successfully sever its connection to the Hive Mind; forcing Dylan to reveal his powers to kill it. As Mister Fantastic jubilantly lauds Dylan as their ace-in-the-hole, everyone notices that Eddie has succumbed to his injuries and died.[19] His consciousness trapped in the symbiote hive-mind as a codex, Eddie is reunited with Tyrannosaurus (Rex Strickland) and Agent Anti-Venom (Flash Thompson); recruiting them to help retake the Venom symbiote from Knull and destroy the Hive from the inside.[30]

Using an unstable mixture of Astrobiological Serum and Weapon V's Sym-Soldier Suits, Black Cat is able to rescue Doctor Strange with the help of Bats, incurring the wrath of a horde of symbiote dragons. To fend them off, Black Cat uses a piece of the staff that Dr. Strange had crafted from the wood of Yggdrasill to augment herself with the divine power of Asgard.[31]

While escorting the Sentry's soul to Valhalla, the Valkyrie Jane Foster encounters an undead Celestial bound to Knull by All-Black. The undead Celestial consumes the Sentry's soul, and in trying to rescue him Jane frees one of the original nine Valkyrie - who had been trapped inside the Celestial for millions of years. Learning from Brunnhilde that the undead Celestial supplies Knull with a vast amount of power, making him nigh-invincible, Jane and the Valkyrie plan to sever the dark god's connection to the Celestial and free the souls trapped within it; Jane departing to recruit former Valkyries Hildegarde and Dani Moonstar.[32]

Despite some symbiote-related setbacks, Fisk's Thunderbolts find Osborn in the Ravencroft Institute, and he proposes recruiting the Sentry to fight Knull -- not knowing the Sentry has already been killed. Star is able to track the Sentry's energy signature and leads the Thunderbolts to the Sentry's corpse, which Taskmaster proposes turning into a cosmic energy nuke to use against Knull.[33] However, the Thunderbolts instead trick Fisk into thinking they've sacrificed themselves doing so before blackmailing him into providing them with additional jobs once Knull is inevitably defeated.[34] Iron Man blames himself for Eddie Brock's death, but is snapped out of his funk by Doctor Doom, who attempts to persuade him to share his symbiote-augmented armor under the pretense of using it to defeat Knull.[35] Scream is drawn into the fight when she encounters the other Life Foundation symbiotes hunting for Dylan Brock, and is almost devoured when they merge into Hybrid and try to assimilate her symbiote.[26] American Kaiju is dispatched to fight a horde of symbiote dragons, devouring several before they amalgamate into a massive two-headed dragon - which he subdues after an intense battle.[36] Descending into the depths of Harran's Rift, Namor meets with the Black Tide and brokers a temporary truce,[19] bringing Kharsa and Sycorax to help fight Knull's forces.[5]

The Quiet Council of Krakoa dispatch the Red Queen and her Marauders to rescue Cyclops and Storm, though they are side-tracked rescuing a ship belonging to human traffickers, marooning the slavers and giving the refugees sanctuary on Island M.[37] As Knull's forces attack Krakoa, S.W.O.R.D. director Abigail Brand dispatches re-enforcements to Krakoa while surreptitiously sending Mentallo to take the Five off-planet, but they are all defeated by the symbiote-possessed Cable.[38] Brand dispatches Manifold to try recruiting extraterrestrial aid, and though he is unsuccessful he discovers that Alpha Flight's acting commander Henry Gyrich is a mole for Orchis and that there is a mole in S.W.O.R.D. as well.[16] Returning to Krakoa to find that the symbiote-possessed Cable has conquered it and trapped the denizens in a symbiote-tree - which is devouring those Knull deemed unworthy of joining his army - Manifold attempts to battle him but is overpowered until Frenzy breaks free and rips off Cable's cybernetic arm. Manifold conjures a miniature star and burns away the symbiote infecting Cable, Magneto ordering the Five to prioritize the resurrection of mutants with anti-symbiote powers.[39]

Retrieving a divine needle-like sword from Asgard's armory, Jane and Dani prepare a ritual to sever the Headless Celestial's connection to All-Black while Hildegarde confronts Knull and his forces on Midgard, fulfilling her part of the ritual before being taken over by a symbiote.[40] Sensing it's in danger, the Headless Celestial assimilates Jane into its afterlife and attempts to persuade her to grant it new life. The rest of the Valkyries, stirred to action by Brunnhilde, complete the ritual and sever the Headless Celestial's connection to Knull, greatly weakening the dark god - who had been unaware of the source of the majority of his power until that point. Rejecting the Headless Celestial's offer, Jane is able to persuade the Headless Celestial to free the souls it had imprisoned and to pass on to the afterlife itself.[41]

Seeking revenge for his father, Dylan enters the field and frees Captain America from Knull's control, but is attacked by Knull. Before the dark god can capture him, Thor arrives and battles the dark god. Using all his strength, Thor manages to smash off Knull's lower jaw with Mjolnir, but Knull reforms it from living abyss and impales him with his Necrosword, directing the symbiote-controlled Celestials to destroy the city. Iron Man uses his symbiote-augmented armor to hijack control of one of the symbiote-possessed Celestials, while Thor -- badly wounded -- sends Huginn and Muninn to find the Silver Surfer and bring him to Earth.[42] Within the Hive-Mind, Eddie, Rex, and Flash manage to infiltrate the God-Hive - the Hive-Mind's core - and Flash takes over a symbiote that had been disconnected from Knull's control by Thor, incarnating in the world of the living as a symbiote-dragon. Furious, Knull takes over Rex's symbiote and confronts Eddie within the Hive-Mind.[43]

Captain America falls back to the sidelines to aid the Winter Soldier and Falcon in evacuating civilians, but is haunted by the experience of having been taken over by Knull and suffers from auditory and visual hallucinations until Barnes and Wilson are able to console him and restore his resolve.[44] Mistakenly assuming himself to be responsible for Knull's invasion due to having brought the Venom symbiote to Earth, Spider-Man is snapped out of his despair by Reptil and helps the younger hero rescue a group of civilians from a colossal symbiote-dragon - restoring his resolve in the process.[45] As they battle Knull's symbiote army, Kharsa notes that Namor has grown since they last met and asks if he's ready for her inevitable betrayal.[5] As Christmas approaches, the remaining civilians of New York City adjust to the new status quo and carry on with their lives - decorating the city and purchasing presents even at the risk of being eaten by rampaging symbiotes.[46]

Knull ensnares Dylan in a sphere of living abyss and attempts to corrupt him, but Dylan tricks him with help from Marvel Girl and frees Cyclops, the Human Torch, the Invisible Woman, Thor, and Storm. Black Cat almost succumbs to the Yggdrasil Staff's limitless power, but realizes it would corrupt her and rejects it.[47] Doctor Strange reclaims the staff and activates it, joining Cyclops, the Human Torch, and the Invisible Woman in blasting as many of the symbiotes as they can into the heart of the city. Namor and Sycorax flood New York, and Thor and Storm electrocute the symbiotes to sever them all from Knull's control. Furious, Knull attacks Dylan but is stopped by Marvel Girl, who attempts to read his mind to find his weaknesses. Initially despairing, she discovers his connection to the God of Light. Arriving at Earth, the Silver Surfer absorbs the God of Light into himself and phases through Knull's barrier, unleashing it to find its chosen host.[48] In the God-Hive, the Venom symbiote breaks free from Knull's control and incarnates Eddie's codex as a building-sized version of Venom, but before he can attack Knull the God of Light resurrects him. Just as Reed Richard realizes the God of Light is the Enigma Force, it resurrects and bonds to Eddie Brock - turning him into Captain Universe.[49]

The Silver Surfer and Knull face off and prepare to resume their ancient duel, but Eddie - transformed into a cosmic version of Venom - intercedes and takes Mjolnir and the Silver Surfer's Surfboard, fusing them into a battle-axe. With Knull weakened, Eddie easily trounces him and rips his symbiote-armor off before flying him into the Sun and obliterating his body with the Uni-Power. Returning to Earth to find Knull attempting to take over Dylan's body, Eddie uses the Uni-Power to remove and destroy Dylan's symbiote-half. The God of Light leaves Eddie and the Venom symbiote rebonds to him as the symbiote barrier over the Earth dissipates. As the one who vanquished Knull and freed them from the dark god's tyranny, the remaining symbiotes acknowledge Venom as their new god.[50]

Aftermath

Under Knull's control, Fin Fang Foom attacks Asgard and is battled by Beta Ray Bill and Lady Sif, who manage to hold him off until Thor returns following Knull's defeat and vanquishes the Makluan's symbiote with a bolt of lightning.[17]

The symbiote-dragon controlled by Flash Thompson's codex - acting on intel from Eddie about what happened to Cletus Kasady when he was bonded to a symbiote-dragon - travels to the cemetery where his body was buried and reanimates his corpse.[49]

Assisting with the rebuilding after Knull's defeat, Mister Fantastic and the Thing have a heart-to-heart and reaffirm their friendship over a beer; while the Human Torch and Sky reaffirm their love for one another.[29]

The Toxin symbiote - somehow revived and escaped from the Chthonic Island - bonds to a teenager named Bren Waters only to come into conflict with Bren's father - a Guardsman employed by Alchemax.[51]

As Namor had feared,[19] Kharsa and Sycorax refuse to return to their exile and disappear in the wake of Knull's defeat, leading to Namor hunting for them with the help of his Defenders of the Deep.[3] Learning that the soldiers he sent to guard the Black Tide's prison had been slaughtered, Namor dives into Harran's Rift to find Kharsa and Sycorax had freed the other members of the Black Tide, but is comforted by Dorma's spirit that she and Attuma will stand by him when the time comes to face the Black Tide again.[5]

Heroes and Villains controlled by Knull

Main Event

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Notes

  • A trailer was released by Marvel on YouTube to promote this event:

Trivia

Prelude

Tie-ins

Recommended Reading

See Also

Links and References

  • None.

Footnotes

  1. King in Black: Namor #1
  2. King in Black: Namor #2
  3. 3.0 3.1 King in Black: Namor #3
  4. King in Black: Namor #4
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 King in Black: Namor #5
  6. Symbiote Spider-Man: King in Black #1
  7. Symbiote Spider-Man: King in Black #2
  8. Symbiote Spider-Man: King in Black #3
  9. Symbiote Spider-Man: King in Black #4
  10. Symbiote Spider-Man: King in Black #5
  11. Incoming #1
  12. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 6 #8
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 13.4 Web of Venom: Empyre's End #1
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 14.4 King in Black #1
  15. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 6 #10
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 S.W.O.R.D. Vol 2 #3
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 Beta Ray Bill #1
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 18.3 Daredevil Vol 6 #26
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 19.3 19.4 19.5 19.6 19.7 19.8 King in Black #2
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 20.3 Fantastic Four Vol 6 #29
  21. Black Cat Vol 2 #1
  22. 22.0 22.1 King in Black: Black Knight #1
  23. 23.0 23.1 23.2 King in Black: Black Panther #1
  24. Union #1-2
  25. King in Black: Ghost Rider #1
  26. 26.0 26.1 26.2 King in Black: Planet of the Symbiotes #1
  27. Daredevil Vol 6 #27
  28. 28.0 28.1 King in Black: Thunderbolts #1
  29. 29.0 29.1 29.2 Fantastic Four Vol 6 #30
  30. Venom Vol 4 #32
  31. Black Cat Vol 2 #2
  32. King in Black: Return of the Valkyries #1-King in Black: Return of the Valkyries Vol 1 2
  33. 33.0 33.1 33.2 King in Black: Thunderbolts #2
  34. 34.0 34.1 King in Black: Thunderbolts #3
  35. King in Black: Iron Man/Doom #1
  36. King in Black: Planet of the Symbiotes #2
  37. 37.0 37.1 37.2 King in Black: Marauders #1
  38. 38.0 38.1 S.W.O.R.D. Vol 2 #2
  39. S.W.O.R.D. Vol 2 #4
  40. 40.0 40.1 40.2 King in Black: Return of the Valkyries #3
  41. King in Black: Return of the Valkyries #4
  42. 42.0 42.1 King in Black #3
  43. Venom Vol 4 #33
  44. King in Black: Captain America #1
  45. King in Black: Spider-Man #1
  46. King in Black: Immortal Hulk #1
  47. Black Cat Vol 2 #3
  48. King in Black #4
  49. 49.0 49.1 Venom Vol 4 #34
  50. King in Black #5
  51. 51.0 51.1 King in Black: Planet of the Symbiotes #3
  52. King in Black: Gwenom vs. Carnage #1
  53. Union #2
  54. Deadpool Vol 8 #10
  55. King in Black: Wiccan and Hulkling #1


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