Knull, the symbiote god has invaded Earth and what remains of the planet’s heroes are fighting back with everything they’ve got. For Spider-Woman, that means taking more of the Marchand Serum that amps up her powers, but takes days off of her life as a price. Captain Marvel, Iron Fist, Luke Cage, and Hawkeye are fighting alongside her and it’s clear that Knull’s horde is just one of their problems. They’re going to have to deal with Jessica too.
As much as I’m digging King in Black, Spider-Woman did not need to tie-in to this event. First off, it raises questions as to just how all-encompassing Knull’s attack was as we saw heroes engulfed by the symbiotes that seemed to cover the entire planet, but here it’s on the ground and covering buildings and you can run on it. That’s not the issue here though. It’s that this story didn’t need it. The symbiote dragon is just the thing to fight to push Spider-Woman to the limit. That could have come from anything else and been just as, if not more impactful.
Writer Karla Pacheco outlines a gripping tale of addiction in Spider-Woman #7. Jessica is pushed to the breaking point by all the stresses in her life. Parenthood, super heroics, and her dysfunctional family have collided and she’s trying to carry all of this on her shoulders. She’s shrugging off help from friends to do this too.
This leads to an amazing and rather frightening sequence where Jessica’s friends have an intervention of sorts. She has to get clean of this serum and they have to use some tough love to do it. Unfortunately, the twist ending here is spoiled by the solicitation copy, so try to avoid that if you want to be surprised.
Letterer Travis Lanham shows just how far this addiction has pushed Spider-Woman in some alarming dialogue. She’s lashing out against her friends and saying some horrible things, screaming at the top of her lungs in big, bold font.
No one does action in comics like Pere Perez. The layouts are dynamic and in unique angles, adding to the intensity of the fight scene. Since Spider-Woman and friends are fighting a symbiote dragon, the gutters are filled in with black, gooey tendrils, creating a claustrophobic feeling at times.
This changes when Iron Fist steps up to stop Jessica when she’s out of control. Where Spider-Woman is impulsive and erratic, Danny Rand is stoic and focused. The layout, while still varied, is much more structured. All the panels are squares and rectangles, shown only with right angles.
Colorist Frank D’Armata drives home the ominous tone of King in Black with a dark, muted palette. The sun isn’t shining right now. From the looks of things, it may never shine again. What pierces through the darkness are the attacks from our heroes, like Spider-Woman’s venom blast and Iron Fist’s…uhh…iron fist.
While I could do without the King in Black tie-in here, Spider-Woman #7 is a solid and emotional tale. It shows the very real effects of addiction through the lens of the super hero genre. This breaks Jessica Drew down to her lowest point and now she’ll have to build herself back up again.