The current Marvel event King in Black is ultimately a showdown between the publisher's resident symbiote Venom and the god of symbiotes, Knull, but in a newly-announced March special the guy who brought symbiotes to Earth in the first place is rising to the challenge.
That's right. Spider-Man.
In the March one-shot King in Black: Spider-Man #1, writer Jed MacKay and artist Michele Bandini bring Peter Parker to the proverbial throne of the King in Black, Knull.
"Spider-Man has dazzling acrobatic prowess, he has webs he can swing from, spider-sense to keep him safe, the whole shebang. He's the whole package," MacKay says. "But he also has something else that drives him in his adventures, that keeps him going - guilt. And all this - the skies turning black, the city covered in slime, alien dragons screaming through the air, this evil space god who's so far above his level that they might as well not be on the same planet?
"It's all. His. Fault," the writer continues. "After all, who brought the symbiote to Earth in the first place?"
For those not in the know, Spider-Man unknowingly first brought the Venom symbiote to Earth when he obtained a new costume during the 1984-1985 Secret Wars event, which took place on a makeshift alien planet created by an omnipotent cosmic being named the Beyonder.
Spider-Man believed the 'black costume' was just created by advanced alien technology that allowed it to appear and disappear at Peter's will, but later learned the new costume was in fact, the symbiote, which took on a life of its own - literally - and eventually jumping to take over Eddie Brock and become the toothy-grinned Venom we all know (and love).
Remember the Uncle Ben mantra, "With great power there must also come great responsibility"? In King in Black: Spider-Man, the full weight of Peter Parker's part in bringing the symbiote to Earth, and therefore bringing Knull to Earth, falls on his shoulders. In his mind, at least.
"King in Black: Spider-Man sees our favorite wall-crawler at his lowest," MacKay tells Newsarama. "How is he going to drag himself back out, and who is going to help him? Symbiote dragons, dinosaurs, public transit, Moby Dick and Staten Island, we've got something here for everyone."
Although MacKay has been writing for Marvel for several years (including several Spider-related titles), King in Black: Spider-Man will be the first time he's actually written Peter Parker himself - and that's not lost on the writer.
"While most of my work with Marvel has been on one Spider-office project or another, this marks the first time I've written a real-deal Peter Parker Spider-Man story, and my first time working with Michele Bandini, who has been an absolute machine on this," MacKay says. "It was pretty exciting to take the reins of Spidey for one issue, and I hope people dig what we're doing in this one crazy night story!"
King in Black: Spider-Man #1 goes on sale in March 2021. Look for Marvel Comics' full March 2021 solicitations later this month on Newsarama.
Keep up to speed on all the new Spider-Man comics, graphic novels, and collections in 2020 and beyond.