Donny Cates’ Venom Reading Guide Part Three: King In Black

You’ve now read Part One: Venom and Part Two: Absolute Carnage, so it’s time to get into Part Three: King In Black, the event this has all been leading up to! I’m not going to beat around the bush, let’s get right into it instead!


Obviously, you’ll need Venom and Absolute Carnage, but there are a couple of other optional parts as well, if you’re a completist.

Thor by Jason Aaron

Thor by Jason Aaron

This is an optional part, but could still prove useful as it covers the All-Black Necrosword Knull creates.

Silver Surfer: Black by Donny Cates

Spinning out of Guardians of The Galaxy, almost the entire galaxy’s defenders have been blown through a black hole, including the Silver Surfer. But the story doesn’t end there… In order to fight back the oblivion, Surfer will have to fight to save his own soul and not lose himself to the void. Follow the Sentinel of the Spaceways on a journey that will change him forever.

Not only is the artwork stunning in this volume, but the story also connects back to King In Black. And, if you’re wondering just what’s going on with the Guardians of the Galaxy, then check out Donny Cates’ run, he wrote them all to tie in together.

Thor by Donny Cates

Speaking of Donny Cates and tying everything together, the same can also be said for his Thor run – it comes after Jason Aaron’s run – and it ties in to King In Black as well.

But, like I’ve said before, this is all optional, if you’re desperate to get to the main event, then I’d recommend just reading Silver Surfer first.

The Main Event

King In Black by Donny Cates

King in Black

Darkness reigns! After a campaign of terror across the galaxy, Knull’s death march reaches Earth — and he hasn’t come alone! With an army of hundreds of thousands of symbiote dragons at his command, the King in Black is a force unlike any Earth’s heroes have ever faced. Eddie Brock, a.k.a. Venom has seen firsthand the chaos that even one of Knull’s monsters can wreak. Can anyone possibly survive this onslaught? Earth’s heroes are reeling, outgunned and outmanned. It will take everything they’ve got to face the God of the Abyss — as he ensnares the planet in everlasting darkness! Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman present the definitive chapter in their two-year-long VENOM saga that changed everything you thought you knew about symbiotes — and raised the stakes for the entire Marvel Universe! Hail to the king!

As always, you can read this and be done here, but there are tie-ins available, if there are any other characters storylines you want to follow.

Namor by Kurt Busiek

Spinning out of the KING IN BLACK epic comes a dark, chilling story of the birth of Atlantis’s greatest villains. The players: Namor, Lady Dorma of Atlantis, the outsider Attuma — all still in their teen years — and The Swift Riders, the Atlantean Empire’s greatest heroes. It begins with alliances and possibility, as Attuma’s people may join the Empire…but what lies ahead is tragedy, betrayal, and the unleashing of dangerous, deadly magics. A deep dive into Marvel history…and the birth of a threat that will only grow in menace across time

Definitely one for Namor fans!

Symbiote Spider-Man by Peter David

Knull, the horrifying King in Black, has set his sights on Earth — but as avid Marvelites already know, his hand has been at work at the edge of the Marvel Universe for years! Now, witness one of Knull’s earliest attempts at birthing life from the darkness of non-creation! Take a wild trip with Spider-Man as he aligns himself with…Kang the Conqueror? That can’t be right! The Black Knight sounds like a more sensible team-up to stop an otherworldly plot that threatens to turn every living thing in the universe into creatures made of shadow! But who else will be here to help our friendly neighborhood wallcrawler? You’ll have to see it to believe it, as Peter David and Greg Land reunite to continue the untold adventures of Peter Parker in the symbiote suit!

I’d say you’ll need know about Peter’s time in the symbiote suit before going into this, just in case.

Return Of The Valkyries by Jason Aaron

King in Black: Return of the Valkyries by Jason Aaron

Once there was an entire army of Valkyries, but now Jane Foster is the only one. And when Knull and his symbiote horrors come to Earth, all Jane sees when she looks at our big blue planet…is a vision of death. To help stop the King in Black, Jane must rebuild the Valkyries — starting with Hildegarde, a warrior from Asgard’s hallowed halls, and the X-Man Dani Moonstar, a former Valkyrie herself. But what Jane doesn’t know…is that she never was the only Valkyrie after all! Who is the fourth warrior? Meanwhile, unknown to Jane, Knull’s power has spread across the galaxy and infected creatures even older than the gods…and it may not matter how many Valkyries Jane can bring to their aid!

Definitely something to read after Jason Aaron’s run, there’s a lot of plot points that relate back to what happened before this.

Avengers by various authors

Knull’s invasion tests Earth’s Mightiest Heroes to their limits! T’Challa’s most treasured allies have been lost — and once again, the Black Panther must choose between his role as a king and the yearnings of his heart! Captain America, aided by the Falcon and the Winter Soldier, faces a brutal battle against
darkness! Knull raises fresh hell for Ghost Rider! Joe Fixit is out to make sure this is the best holiday the Hulk’s ever had — he just has to fight his way
through a planet of symbiotes first! Iron Man and Doctor Doom are forced together to battle an all-too-familiar specter of the festive season! And on vacation in the Shi’ar galaxy, newlyweds Wiccan and Hulkling face a honeymoon to die for!

A handy bind up of various Avengers-based one shots. But this one does work best with knowledge of Empyre, Chp Zdarsky’s Daredevil, Christopher Cantwell’s Iron Man and Doctor Doom runs, and Al Ewing’s Immortal Hulk.

Planet of the Symbiotes by various

Planet of the Symbiotes by various


Mainly for those who loved Scream and Ruins Of Ravencroft.

Gwenom Vs Carnage by Seanan McGuire

GWEN STACY ENTERS THE FRAY AGAINST THE KING IN BLACK! Bonded to a synthetic symbiote from another reality, GHOST-SPIDER, aka Gwen Stacy of Earth-65, is unique among the webslingers of the multiverse! But when KNULL descends on her adopted home, his gravity well of dark psychic energy will reap unforeseen consequences not only on Gwen, but on her symbiotic suit as well!

Make sure you’re up to date with Gwen before reading this!

Thunderbolts by Matthew Rosenberg

Thunderbolts  by Matthew Rosenberg

KINGPIN’S KILLERS VERSUS AN ARMY OF UNKILLABLE DRAGONS! An army of evil space dragons have come to attack Earth and are starting with New York. MAYOR FISK has a plan for that. Assembling a group of killers, mercenaries, and just generally pretty horrible people like TASKMASTER, RHINO, STAR, MR. FEAR, and BATROC THE LEAPER, Mayor Fisk tasks them with saving the city or die trying…or die right then and there. The fate of the entire world may rest in the hands of the absolute worst people in the Marvel Universe. What could go wrong?

Usual advice applies – much sure you’re up to date with Daredevil before reading this, as it’s dealing with Fisk, and he’s a major player in Daredevil comics.

And that’s the end of my Donny Cates Venom guide! I hope you’ve found it useful, and if you have any questions, please leave them down below!


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