Writer Donny Cates are artist Ryan Stegman have been setting up the introduction of a mysterious 'God of Light' to counter Knull, the so-called 'God of Darkness,' since the start of King in Black.
Now, this week's King in Black #3 (opens in new tab) reveals the apparent identity of the 'God of Light' – and the character who seems to embody this role may come as no surprise to longtime readers of Cates' work.
Spoilers ahead for King in Black #3(opens in new tab)
King in Black #3 opens with Marvel's heroes being overrun by Knull's symbiote forces in the streets of Manhattan, reaching out for back up. As Wolverine and Spider-Man attempt to escort Eddie Brock's son Dylan across the battlefield, Knull himself arrives.
Using the power granted by his special connection to the symbiotes and Knull, Dylan battles Knull until Thor arrives to join his side. As the boy and the God of Thunder battle the God of the symbiotes, the narrative captions once again foretell the arrival of the 'God of Light,' an equal and opposite number to take on Knull in a definitive way.
Thor seems to gain the upper hand, knocking Knull's jaw from his face – but Knull activates his possessed Celestials, bringing Tony Stark into the battle piloting his own Celestial-esque super armor comprised of symbiotes and Extremis nanites, almost evening the odds.
But just as Knull seems to turn the tide again, stabbing Thor with All Black the Necrosword and nearly capturing Dylan, the long foretold 'God of Light' appears, summoned by Thor – and it's none other than Norrin Radd, the Silver Surfer. What's more, it's implied that Dylan's mysterious power over the symbiotes is connected to Silver Surfer himself.
Of course, as longtime readers of Cates' work know, Silver Surfer isn't actually silver anymore.
Following the events of Cates and artist Tradd Moore's Silver Surfer: Black (opens in new tab) limited series, Silver Surfer's reflective skin is, well, black. In the story, Silver Surfer is sucked into a black hole following an adventure with the Guardians of the Galaxy, through which he travels back in time to the lifeless void before the start of the Marvel Universe.(opens in new tab)
In the void, he encounters none other than Knull – the 'God of Darkness' who embodies the nothingness of the time before the universe started. To escape, Silver Surfer gives his own 'light' (what exactly that means hasn't quite been explained yet) to shatter Knull's darkness and seed life throughout the Marvel Universe, kickstarting the dawn of the current Marvel timeline and sending Silver Surfer back to the present day with his new black reflective skin a sign of the 'light' he sacrificed.
Given Silver Surfer has previously defeated Knull, albeit at great cost to himself, it makes sense he'd be part of the fight to stop him again. And, with Surfer's 'light' seeding life in the Marvel Universe thanks to Silver Surfer: Black, it also adds up that he'd be considered the mythical 'God of Light' destined to be Knull's opposite number.
How this will affect both Silver Surfer and Venom's status quo going forward remains to be seen. King in Black #4 (of 5) (opens in new tab) goes on sale on February 17.
King in Black will bring a close to Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman's Venom run, with Venom #200 following the limited series' conclusion.