Warning: Potential SPOILERS for Marvel’s King in Black.
The monstrous villain called Knull has jumped from the pages of Venom comics to become the greatest threat to the Marvel Universe. While the God of Symbiotes may be the greatest threat to face the Avengers when he arrives for the King in Black event, Marvel has already dropped major hints about the hero coming to stop him.
Marvel recently revealed that Knull, the master of the universe’s living darkness does have a weakness: a mysterious figure only referred to as ‘the God of Light.’ Teased in the recent Web of Venom: Wraith #1, the God of Light is implied to be Knull’s opposite, and yet another omnipotent cosmic being coming for Eddie Brock. While this God of Light is still a mystery, Venom writer Donny Cates may have provided a clue to fans–assuming they can connect the dots in the story so far.
The one-shot comic Web of Venom: Wraith by Donny Cates, Guiu Vilanova, and Kyle Hotz was said to be of particular significance by the writer, giving fans the backstory of Wraith, a Kree who was bonded to an Exolon (a parasitic being related to symbiotes that feeds on the souls of beings). It is revealed that Wraith’s father discovered a way to fight Knull and the darkness he commands. Before hgis death, Wraith’s father wanted to banish the darkness, and he created an energy source that would bring light to the galaxy. When Wraith confronts Knull as the cause of his pain, the King in Black rips the Exolon from his body and casts it into the darkness of space. As Wraith is floating in the darkness, he comes into contact with the God of Light, and is given a message he must deliver to Eddie and Dylan Brock: Knull has an opposite. A God of Light, and it is coming.
But who is the God of Light? Venom writer Donny Cates may have dropped a clue during the Venom: King in Black panel at NYCC 2020. Discussing the coming event as a payoff to years of plots spread across multiple comics, Cates had this to say about the long form story he’s been telling:
“These are things that I was planning since before I was ever even on Venom proper… It’s kind of this big grand tapestry that I’ve been building, along with Ryan [Stegman], and along with Tradd More, and along with Nic Klein, going back as far as the Doctor Strange stuff, and my Thanos stuff. It’s been wild that it’s all come together. It’s hard to answer without spoiling how it happens. But a book like Silver Surfer: Black, specifically, was absolutely engineered in order to… place certain characters in certain situations by the end of it, so that they would be crucial keys to locks that needed unlocking in King in Black. Is that vague enough? [Laughs]”
With this quote, fans should take another look at the brilliant mini-series Silver Surfer: Black by Cates, Tradd Moore and Dave Stewart. The story follows the Silver Surfer sucked into a dimensional rift that sends him back to the beginning of the universe, where there is only darkness. The series follows Silver Surfer’s meeting and battling Knull, the King of Darkness at the dawn of time. Now knowing that the God of Light has been teased, the use of light and darkness during the battle with Knull should appear far more crucial to the events taking place. Particularly as the story reached its climactic battle, in which the Surfer refers to himself as a blazing light in the abyss, “And through drowning in shadows I ignite. I shine.” Even Knull, the King of Darkness acknowledges the Silver Surfer’s light, calling him a “little Sun.”
Not only do these events hint that Silver Surfer is a being of light with immense power, but the series also shows he has the power to actually make Knull bleed. Silver Surfer was able to wound Knull using his power cosmic. However, every time the Surfer uses his powers against the abyss, it costs him dearly. First, a black hand. Next, a black arm. While the Surfer’s gleaming exterior is his signature, expending such power against darkness itself caused his body to sacrifice that “galactic glaze.” Little by little, making Norrin Radd live up to the story’s title.
Silver Surfer wins the battle in the end, channeling all life across the stars and seeding their light into him, to wage a final battle against the darkness. The Surfer wields a sword of light–“a silver blade of cosmic power”–and even births an infant sun with the last of his power cosmic. He knew he did not defeat the darkness forever, forcing Knull to become dormant with his defeat, but the series concludes with Silver Surfer’s atoms creating life in the universe. Millennia pass, as the atoms and consciousness of Silver Surfer slowly begin to come together and reform the hero. Eventually the Surfer is reformed at the exact moment he first entered the dimensional rift, now lacking his previous color and being reborn as the Silver Surfer in black. Now, it seems he would have a personal stake in Knull returning to take over all the life that he created.
Whether or not Silver Surfer ends up becoming the ‘God of Light’ remains to be seen, and readers are left guessing if the clues are simply a misdirect from Cates, as he weaves a wonderfully complex, long-running story across multiple titles, all the while adding rich new history to the Marvel Universe. With Silver Surfer back in the present with a new black look, does he even remember the battle he had at the beginning of time with Knull? Did Cates set up the Silver Surfer to evolve into the God of Light for his second battle with the King in Black, or will his knowledge of their battle help turn the tide in the coming war?
Most importantly, if Silver Surfer was able to defeat Knull by wielding all life in a largely unborn universe… could a thriving one be channeled to make him even more powerful? If so, perhaps ‘the King in Black’ may not refer to Knull after all. Either way, the King in Black event begins this December from Marvel Comics.