King in Black Reading Order - How to Read King in Black

For more than 3 years now Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman have been building towards Marvel's event "King in Black" and the arrival of the Symbiot God Knull. Now if you are a little bit like me you might find yourself looking for the dots to connect the lines between the past stories to this one. First of all, let me tell you that this is not really a must-do since Marvel is pretty good at creating events that require little to no knowledge of the past. But again, if you're a bit like me then you feel like you need to know every little detail. I mean it's the God of all Symbiots!

The interesting part of an event like this is that sometimes it comes unplanned. In this case, one of the amazing inspirations for the King in Black came from "Thor: God of Thunder #6 - The God Butcher" during the story of Gorr the God Butcher back in 2013 where Donny Cates came up with the idea of Krull.

But enough with the chit-chat. The first list you need to go through is the

Leading to the "King in Black" event list

Alien (2021) #1 - Comic Review

Alien was one of my most anticipated comic releases ever since Marvel's announcement in 2020, and I have had the chance of going through the pages of it; I must say I feel vindicated for being anxious to read it.

With Phillip Kennedy Johnson as the author of these new series with a recent masterpiece in his cache, such as Marvel Zombies: Ressurection and Empyre: Captain America, bringing the terror in those small comic book pages was no issue, and along with the artist, Salvador Larroca they made sure to bring the same feeling you'll remember from the films along with their own twisted, nightmarish feeling.

Weyland - Yutani Corporate

What really made me anxious to wait for Marvel's Alien's next chapter was the sense of something new to something ancient and familiar. The story's base revolves around Gabriel Cruz, a recently retired soldier who almost gave his life to Weyland-Yutani. If you are not familiar with the Alien franchise Weyland-Yutani aka Wey-Yu or known as "The Company." As per real-life standards, a company known as "The Company" is something that, most often than less, doesn't bode well with the largest percentage of the population. Such is the situation with Weyland-Yutani as well.

Weyland-Yutani Corporation is a conglomerate with its hands in way too many places, and most often than not, their primary goal end goal is to profit. What company would it be otherwise, right?

Through a bit of unethical practises, disregard of human life and the control of many human colonies. You'll see why "The Company" could be hated enough to be the main target of underground organizations that are trying to hurt them as much as possible, which is another wonderful aspect brought forth with Marvel's Alien.

All of these are known, though, right? If you are a fan of the Alien franchise, then you are betting your horses on the story behind Gabriel Cruz and his estranged relationship with his son. The secrets they keep from each other are too many to count from even this one issue.

And trust me when I say this, Alien #1 contains some panels that you definitely won't see coming and it ends with a massive cliffhanger.

Best Marvel Comics 2021 (so far)

There is always something for everyone in the past few years when it comes to Marvel comics. From action, adventure, drama, and comedy, Marvel excel in creating stories that everyone can enjoy. If the past years are going to be an example of how 2021 is going to be lined up then this is going to be an amazing year.

In case you are wondering though what Marvel comic you should invest your time (and money) then here's a list that we swear by.

Marvel #1000 In Memoriam

This year marks Marvel's 80th Anniversary and along with a number of yearly celebrations, Marvel published Marvel Comics #1000. The oversized one-shot issue features stories from most current writers and artists in their library.

Along with those awesome stories, Marvel added an in-memoriam page which contains the names of the brilliant artists and writers we lost during the past decades.

Over 150 names of real-life heroes that made Marvel the name, it is today. From Stan Lee and Steve Ditko to Jack Kirby and a 150 more this names are featured in a full-page art from the "The Death of Captain Marvel" (1982) where all the heroes are gathered to pay their tributes.

Marvel Comics #1000 in memoriam

House of X #2 - Comic Series Review

If House of X #1 and Powers of X #1 wasn't good enough for you or if you wanted the extra push to jump into the relaunch of X-Men from the hands of Hickman and Larraz then House of X #2 is here to make you do just that.

I can't stretch enough the importance of this storyline from Hickman and even though for new readers the first issue (which worked nicely as a jumping-on point) might have been slightly chaotic and confusing House of X #2 is here to fix that.

The Pros

The story is obviously a key point for the reincarnation of X-Men. Hickman is not holding back and we dare say this might be our favorite Hickman comic or at least it moves towards that direction.

The story of the comic itself was quite a surprise as it explains the groundhog days of Moira MacTaggert (first appeared in Uncanny X-Men #96) a mutant with the ability of reincarnation, perfect memory and the ability to stay hidden from other mutants. Seeing her previous lifes in a single issue in such a concise manner making it easy to digest and even feel for the character seeing her pass through the emotions of birth, life, and death, as well as understand the reasoning of every choice in-between was extraordinary. Now I am certain that Hickman can pull off pretty much everything when it comes to a story.

The timeline of Moiras various lifes was a masterpiece and it deserves to be recognized. Hickman makes it possible to go through 10 lifetimes within a page with the use of a timeline graph.

The art from Larraz still inspires. It's one of the best aspects of the comic. Now it is clear that Larraz and Hickman make a great team. Larraz brings to life the best aspects of each panel beautifully.

The Cons

There are not a lot of Cons when it comes to the story and art itself. If we could pick something as a negative that would be the use of extremely too many reading materials. We loved the timeline graph of Moiras lifetimes but the wall of texts that we encountered within the pages of House of X #1 and Powers of X #1 seems to continue with House of X #2 and we would love to see less.

Powers of X #1 - Comic Series Review

After "House of X #1" comes Hickman's "Powers of X #1", a natural follow-up on the new mythos of X-Men. It is now obvious that Hickman has an ace hidden in his sleeve and we can't wait to see him slowly unfold it and winning back the entire pot of fans that were disappointed with (let's be honest) most of the previous X-Men storylines dating back quite a while.

Talking about dates, the Powers of X picks up not only after the House of X left us off, but before, as well as thousands of years in the future. Yes, you've read that right. Hickman did not just create another linear timeline X-Men comic, but he transformed him on an epic sci-fi storyline jumping off four distinct X-Men moments. And let me tell you, that all of them are filled with action, story, drama, and depth.

When it comes to art, Silva has made it clear that he is a master of creativity. It's not an everyday task to create art that will try to embody the future of human and mutantkind. Yet, Silva was given a task to do so and he did it in the best way possible.

Try to keep in mind that this is a brave new beginning for the X-Men by the hands of Hickman. A big part of every new beginning is the author's intention to fill you in on all those details that brought us to this point while making sure that new readers are not going to get lost.

Both House of X and Power of X first issues seemed to provide a bit too much information as a form of an infographic which might have caused some readers to get bored but played a huge role on working as a guide.

Having said that, reading Powers of X is not a walk in the park either. New readers will definitely get a bit confused but reading it more than once will help make things fall into place, especially if you remind yourself that this is a continuity of House of X #1.

Overall it was an amazing start on a comic series that we already know is going to smash it. It wasn't as good as House of X but only because there was a lot of confusion with the jumping points in time and the extra reading material in between. Hickman and Silva deliver another huge blow!

House of X #1 - Comic Series Review

Let's jump straight into the main reason why we are all here. Jonathan Hickman is a master of his art and House of X is no different than all the rest masterpieces he touched. From his acclaimed run of both the Avengers and Fantastic Four, Hickman has made a name for himself with fans following every story he touches.

House of X is no different. Together with Pepe Larraz as an artist, Hickman has created an entirely new universe for X-Men, bringing them right back on the map, making sure that this time they are there to stay.

Starting, House of X #1, with the words of Charles Xavier on a white page:

Humans of the planet Earth.

While you slept, the world changed.

-PROFESSOR X

Since this work is the genesis of an entirely new world for the X-men the next few pages are more fitting than anything. Professor X standing near a tree which at its roots there are pods hatching and the original X-Men crawl to him while he is uttering the old familiar words. "To me, my X-Men.".

Right from the start, there is a sense that things we knew about the X-Men, Professor X or even the entire mutant population no longer apply. When they have been previously painted as the victims of human atrocities now they are in control. They are powerful and they are stepping up and what is most interesting - for once there is no other side. They are united under one person. One idea.

The story revolves around the creation of a nation and a new country, safe-haven for the mutants on top of the living island of Krakoa. Moreover, in order for Professor X to make sure that humans give mutants their space he has made an unnegotiable deal. The use of the Flower of Krakoa.

In order to gain leverage over the humans, Xavier purchased a pharmaceutical company to provide a variety of drugs created by the flower of Krakoa.

Human Drug L: This flower produces a drug that extends the life of a human for five years.
Human Drug I: This flower produces an adaptive universal antibiotic. A super drug for humans.
Human Drug M: This flower produces a drug that cures diseases of the mind (in humans)

It's not an easy pass for the governments but what it's made clear is that even if the humans passed, the Mutants wouldn't care. This is a deal set in stone.

Hickman's, Krakoa is objectively the best interpretation of the living island since its first appearance back in Giant-Size X-Men #1, 1975. Yet Pepe Larraz is the one that has taken this bad boy home with some of the most creative, colorful and surrealistic view of a new beginning I have ever seen. In a sense, everything and everyone seems to be making a great new start at a place that they fought far too long to get and Larraz makes sure that you can see the happiness through his vibrant art.

Having said that, not everything in this new world is happy or at least not everything is peaceful.

House of X provides a great new opportunity for new starters to jump right into the world of Mutants and Hickman makes it so much easier with the great "infographics" placed in key moments within the first issue explaining the history but also some generic information about the mutants such what an omega power mutant is and a list of them and their powers.

One of the main characters in this first issue of House of X is no one else than Magneto. Responsible for the tour and introduction of this new world to the human race he is not holding back his punches. There is no room for humans and no tolerance or forgiveness for those that will defy them. His outfit might have changed but he feels the same inside with the difference that now he lives his dream with the approval and on the side of Xavier. Magneto was no short than god-like and that was terrifying, and what was even more terrifying is the fact that he knew it ending the first issue of the series with everything you ever wanted to hear him saying.

You have new Gods now.

Magneto

This is not another X-Men story and is certainly here to make a statement. House of X is here to change the way we look at the Mutants as a collective and probably will make a huge impact on the Marvel Universe. If you are looking for a new classic, Hickman's X-Men is the series you are looking for and an easy title to go in our best Marvel comic series of 2019.

Who is Mason in Black Widow Movie

Little to nothing has yet to be announced for the character O-T Fagbenle (The Handmaid's Tale) is portraying in the upcoming Marvel movie, "Black Widow", Mason. Theories seem to suggest that this might be an entirely new character in the MCU created specifically for this movie.

Trying to connect the dots from the Marvel Comics to the Marvel Cinematic Universe we believe that O-T might be portraying Mason a character simply called "The Agent" in the Marvel Comics.

Marvel Graphic Novel #57 - Rick Mason the Agent
Marvel Graphic Novel #57

First appeared in the Marvel Graphic Novel #57 back in 1990, Mason was the son of Phineas Mason and Deborah Watts Mason. Having grown in an environment of advanced technology due to his father being the famous criminal inventor, Tinkerer, Rick Mason grew up to become a mercenary specialized in handling superhumans in a non-lethal way.

Rick Mason was a freelancer with huge expertise built not only from his father but from training alongside Nick Fury, Alexi Vazhin and Sir Denis Nayland making his one of the best-trained convert operatives only found online with the name "The Agent".

Mason fought off renegade members of China Force which were trying to undermine the British government in Hong Kong and similarly in South America. He was then forced to kill Teng Yun-Suan, one of his oldest mentors for being responsible for these attempted coups.

Unfortunately "The Corporation" a criminal organization, took Mason hostage in an attempt to force Tinkerrer, Mason's father, to work for them exclusively. Mason managed to escape only to find that his father had sent Luke Cage and Dakota North to rescue him and together they defeated "The Corporation".

Unfortunately, later Rick Mason was assassinated by an unnamed super-villain and his identity as "The Agent" became public knowledge.

The Origin Story of Yelena Belova

Yelena Belova is a fictional character created by Devin Grayson and J.G. Jones for Marvel Comics. Yelena is the second modern-era Black Widow and was first appeared in Inhumans #5 in March 1999. Just as Natasha Romanova, Yelena Belova was trained in the Red Room, a Soviet training facility, created in order to train highly specialized spies.

Yelena was initially trained and sent to kill Natasha Romanova but they eventually became allies and sister figures while she also had numerous team affiliations with teams such as S.H.I.E.L.D., Vanguard, and HYDRA who also changed her in a version of Super-Adaptoid.

Publication History of Yelena Belova aka Black Widow

Yelena first brief appearance was in Inhumans #5 where she played a role in providing a tool that would assist humans to attack the city of the Inhumans by breaking the energy barrier surrounding the city from the inside out. She was fully introduced in the 1999 Marvel Knights mini-series Black Widow.

Black Widow: Pale Little Spider

She appeared in another mini-series later in 2001, also titled Black Widow this time featuring Natasha Romanova and Daredevil.

In 2002 Yelena got her own three-issue mini-series called "Black Widow: Pale Little Spider" created by Greg Rucka and Igor Kordey and published by MAX Comics a Marvel Comics imprint formed a year earlier in 2001 publishing more mature oriented comics. In this limited series Rucka and Kordey explore the story of how Yelena became the Black Widow as a flashback.

Power and Abilities

Yelena Belova was trained in the Red Room from the same spymasters that trained Natasha Romanova so her abilities are similar and include peak athletic condition, extensive military, martial arts, and espionage training and at the time she was a Super-Adaptoid she had the ability to adapt the powers of anyone around her in rapid succession.

Yelena Belova Biography

Yelena's past is quite the bumpy ride jumping from good to bad and from one team to another in a short history of publication. Starting out as a spy and assassin that was trained in the Red Room by the same spymasters that trained Natasha Romanova, Yelena's took the name Black Widow once her Spymaster was assassinated. Finding the murderer and killing him was the first step in the vast history of revenge killings.

Yelena, believing that she is the one deserving the title, Black Widow, more than anyone she volunteered to go against the first Black Widow, Natasha Romanova. During the confrontation, Natasha manages to turn Yelena by encouraging her to free herself from the control of others and find her own way. Belova then retires in Cuba becoming a businesswoman and a model in Black Widow 2 Vol. 1.

She then returns to the game joining S.H.I.E.L.D and during a mining operation of Vibranium in the Antarctic Savage Land in the "New Avengers vol 1, #5" where she barely survived an attack from Sauron.

HYDRA picked up the broken pieces of Yelena and genetically altered her transferred her consciousness into a new version of Super Adaptoid and set her on a path for revenge against the New Avengers whom she engaged in combat but got defeated by Tony Stark's 49 successive Iron Man armors and Sentry's, Void persona.

Later in Marvel Comics Presents Vol. 2 #5, Yelena is working with a black-ops team called Vanguard who carries out secret missions, including assassinations. Some well-known members of the group are their leader Colonel America along with Retcon, Blade, Dominic Fortune, and Micromax.

During the Dark Reign storyline which began in 2008 as a one-shot and then moved into multiple standalone mini-series during 2009, Yelena seemingly joined Norman Osborn's Thunderbolts only to be revealed that it was Natasha Romanova in disguise working as a double agent for Nick Fury. In another twist, Osborn reveals to Natasha that it was his plan to make her believe that she was working for Fury but it was his idea for Natasha to take the identity of Yelena in order for her to do his dirty work.

The real Yelena is freed from the stasis she was held by A.I.M. who is then placed in the High Council of A.I.M. alongside Mentallo, Superia, Andrew Forson, Graviton and the undercover Taskmaster.

After the death of Natasha Romanova by Captain America's doppelganger, Yelena Belova reassumes the identity of the Black Widow in order to honor the late Natasha. Yelena now as Black Widow travels the world to assassinate the Hydra's generals.

Recent News

Florence Pugh is going to portray Yelena Belova in the upcoming Black Widow movie which is set to launch on May 1, 2020, alongside Scarlett Johansson who is going to play Black Widow, David Harbour, playing Red Guardian, Rachel Weisz as Melina and O-T Fagbenie as Mason.

The Origins of Red Guardian

Red Guardian is a fictional comic character created by Roy Thomas and John Buscema and published by Marvel Comics. First appearing in The Avengers #43 back in August 1967, Red Guardian was created as a Soviet equivalent of Captain America.

Before his apparent transformation to a super soldier from the Soviets, Red Guardian's alter ego, Alexei Shostakov, was a renowned  soviet pilot that fought in numerous battles against the Nazis in WWII and a national hero in the magnitude of Yuri Gagarin. Alexei met Natalie Romanova aka Black Widow in his years of fame and they got married before he decided to become the Red Guardian.

The History of the Red Guardian

During the 50s Alexei was approached by Soviet Premier Nikita Kruschev and was asked to become a national icon by taking the mantle of the Red Guardian. After accepting the responsibility of becoming a weapon for his country Alexei had to fake his death to even his wife.

After intensive training from the KGB Alexei became the Red Guardian reaching the peak of human performance even without a serum.

Red Guardian - Alexei Shostakov

As it was expected eventually Alexei as the Red Guardian came to a crash with the Avengers for trying to protect Chinese weapons from the Avengers where he came face to face with his wife Black Widow. After recognizing each other the Red Guardian refused to harm her and he was shot and killed by Colonel Ling, a Chinese Communist ally.

It was afterwards revealed that Alexei had survived the shooting and was operating under the name of Ronin in Bulgaria.

Just as with many characters of the Marvel Universe, Alexei Shostakov was not the first or last to use the name Red Guardian. There are actually numerous iterations of the name and Shostakov was the second to pick the mantle.

Aleksey Lebedev was the one to be called Red Guardian first in the Golden Ages and most notable Red Guardian is Josef Petkus, the fourth Red Guardian in line, the leader of Winter Guard who fought along site the Avengers to protect the Earth. Unfortunately the story of the Red Guardians in most cases lead to the death of the person carrying the weight of the red shield and Petkus was also killed by the Dire Wraiths in an attempt to resurrect a comrade.

Recent News

The Red Guardian is going to be portrayed by David Harbour in the upcoming film of Black Widow that is set to be released in May 1, 2020.

David Harbour is going to portray Alexei Shostakov.