Spoilers for King in Black: Gwenom vs Carnage #2 ahead!
The King in Black, Knull, has revealed himself to be Marvel’s equivalent of the Dark Side of the Force. In King in Black: Gwenom vs. Carnage #2, the symbiote god not only takes control of an alternate-Earth Mary Jane, he twists and corrupts her into something truly terrifying. Written by Seanan McGuire with art by Flaviano and Ig Guara and colors by Rico Renzi, the issue is available in stores now and on all digital comics platforms.
The King in Black’s attack on Earth is the culmination of Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman’s two-year run on Venom, expanding the character’s mythology in new and unexpected ways, one of which was the introduction of Knull, the god of the symbiotes. A dark god whose existence predates the universe, Knull might be one of the most powerful beings in the Marvel Universe, capable of enslaving deities and killing Celestials with one stroke of his sword. Traditionally, it was believed the King in Black merely possessed his victims, turning them into fearsome killing machines, but it is becoming clear that Knull is doing much more terrifying things to those he captures: he is serving as an outlet for their anger and rage.
In the previous issue, Ghost Spider (Gwen Stacy from Earth-65, stranded on Earth-616) accidentally brings the Mary Jane from her Earth to ours; Mary is soon bonded with a symbiote and rechristens herself “Carnage.” As Ghost Spider tries to stop Mary Jane/Carnage’s rampage, readers learn that the King in Black has not only possessed Mary Jane, he has taken her fears and insecurities and used them to twist her into a dark version of herself. As the two fight, Mary Jane/Carnage channels her anger at Ghost Spider into brutal attacks, telling her that Knull has given her the strength she needs and that he will make her a big deal, bigger than Ghost Spider ever could be.
Since his first appearance, there have been hints that Knull could do more than simply possess his victims; recent events have confirmed this. Not only does the King in Black turn Mary Jane into a new version of Carnage in this issue, he has shown this trait elsewhere recently as well. In Daredevil #26, Knull took possession of a woman and used her anger and insecurities over her relationship with her daughter to make her into a killing machine. The victims the King in Black possesses almost seem to take joy in what Knull has done to them, openly taunting their victims.
The idea that the King in Black can corrupt his victims on top of simply possessing them adds another, horrifying layer to his character. Much like the Dark Side of the Force, Knull uses anger and resentment as ways of taking and keeping control.