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Donny Cates not Wahlberg

 Don't get me wrong, I respect Donny Wahlberg's work as well, I was actually alive when New Kids on the Block were a thing. Today is all about awesome writing in the form of Donny Cates, writer of current titles at Marvel like Thor, Venom, & the King in Black limited run. My introduction to Cates' work is very recent and so I will approach it from that perspective, which for some readers might be more beneficial if you're looking for a new writer to follow. Writing can really make it or break it for a comic-head. No matter how glorious the art might be, many people will drop an ongoing series from their subscription box like a hot rock if the story doesn't do it for them. Earlier this month I popped into a comic shop and asked what's new and hot, as I flipped through the back issue bin, trying to scroll and match with the Key Collector App – Cates' name was dropped and I got them to point out his issues. 

*Two of the Donny Cates issues I bought*
I ended up paying $8.25 Canadian dollars for King in Black #1 and $6.25 for #2 (Variant cover). They gave me a great deal on some back issue keys and I grabbed a short box for good measure on my way out the door. Yes, I paid a higher price for missing the first issue from when it originally was released in December, but this book was and is worth that price and perhaps even higher. Marvel.com's blurb about the book describes a villain named Knull, who traveled across the galaxy with symbiote dragons to earth, and Eddie Brock (Venom) faces a tough battle against this powerful God-like threat from the Abyss. I'm paraphrasing of course and I don't want to give any spoilers. As I said in a previous article I love it when writers add more pieces to existing characters or their world through building, not tearing away. Cates so far is not only doing the Venom character justice, but he's also building out the Marvel mythos regarding the symbiote suit Spiderman obtained in the original Secret Wars limited run. 

As a writer, Donny Cates is showing he knows his Spiderman/Venom history, and as a longtime fan of Spiderman, I am a happy camper after this read. I think this limited series will be one that sticks around for collectors for quite some time. Ryan Stegman's art perfectly compliments Cates' story pacing, which is phenomenal. The chunkiness of Stegman's characters matches up with the content and history of the Venom character, which debuted in Amazing Spiderman #299 with David Michelinie writing and Todd McFarlane penciling/inking. We won't go into the origins of the symbiote Venom character because that's a medium-sized rabbit hole for another day. Stegman also has an excellent grasp of orientation; what I mean is that the reader has a sense of place, time, and character differences within the pages. His knowledge of page layout and drawing perspective is also a bonus for the reader. The King in Black has other Marvel book tie-in's and from what I hear on the interweb rumblings is that the most important companion book that dovetails the storyline is Venom – seem's the other titles don't heavily affect your enjoyment of the run. 

As a reader Cates and Stegman have me hooked, looking forward to getting that next issue, wanting to know what happens, how it resolves. Can you save money by waiting for the TPB to come out? For sure you can, but with the potent mix that these two creators are creating don't leave the individual issues on the shelf too long. Years from now King in Black might be a 9.8 1st print akin to what the Marvel Super-Heros Secret Wars #8 is today. No matter what your goals are, get your eyes on this run, it's worth your time and money. Stay focused fellow humans!

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