King In Black: Planet of the Symbiotes #1 begins a special tie-in from Marvel Comics out on January 13. This serves as a sequel to characters from the tie-ins of the preceding event Absolute Carnage.
In the Absolute Carnage event former Venom co-stars Andi Benton and symbiote Scream bonded to fight the monstrosities of Knull. The titular King in Black is a fierce entity with a cult following within the institute of Ravencroft. So dangerous a threat that current warden John Jameson (Man-Wolf) needs assistance from Misty Knight to deal with the cult.
Planet of the Symbiotes #1: A Decent Callback
The Scream story of King In Black: Planet of the Symbiotes #1 by Clay McLeod Chapman does the title justice. In a tribute to the original event from the 90s, Chapman demonstrates the event’s premise in a manner more akin to a horror movie. Both of these series deal with how families can be toxic. With some of Venom’s offspring on a killing spree under Knull’s influence, it’s nice to see Scream take after their parent’s more heroic side. Besides coming off Curse of Carnage, Scream already feels at home with Andi. This is thanks in no small part to Andi’s nurturing side when she comforts a mourning child.
Guiu Vilanova gives the symbiotes a fittingly monstrous appearance, especially in their hybrid form. The gaping mouth in the middle of the gestalt body is practically a demonstration of Knull’s influence. Since he is able to speak through this mouth, the threat of the Scream symbiote becoming one with this atrocity is terrifying.
Thankfully, Dean White’s coloring demonstrates in Scream’s design that she’s unlike her sibling in every way. Her bright yellow and red appearance complements her host Andi’s pyrokinetic abilities. This source of light is able to drive away the dark colors of the Hybrid.
The other half of Planet of the Symbiotes #1 features another monstrosity that will make King in Black even bleaker. Since Ruins of Ravencroft, Frank Tieri has been building up Cortland Kasady as a legendary figure. Now with his appearance as a zombie symbiote, Cortland is ready to wreak havoc in Knull’s name. The title of Plague perfectly demonstrates the threat he presents; the ability to drain the life of anybody in his vicinity. With Knull sicking Plague on Dylan Brock, there is a tough road ahead.
Danilo S. Beyruth designs this Plague monster in a way that would evoke terror. The lanky/ghastly form of him looks frightening enough. Rachelle Rosenberg’s purple coloring and glow accented by Plague’s flowing hair make him look terrifying. That’s not even including the stream of black specks Plague uses to steal his victim’s life. Plague is practically a death personification ready to do his master’s bidding. And unlike the Scream story, there’s little indication of a way to stop him.
King in Black: Voices of the Symbiotes
VC’s Cory Petit gives every symbiote in King in Black: Planet of the Symbiotes #1 a unique voice. On simple coloring they match the designs of each symbiote’s appearance: Scream’s external voice is red with a yellow word balloon, her internal thoughts are yellow with red captions. The designs of the word balloons are what makes them more unique as they look distorted. This highlights their alien appearance and their connection to their God Knull. The fact he can connect to every symbiote denotes the fact that any symbiote can become his servant.
One small bit of confusion comes in the use of purple captions and word balloons. The former is from the internal monologues of Andi, while Plague speaks the latter. While both are death bringers to their intended targets they are on different sides. It seems like there should have been a way to differentiate these two.
King In Black: Planet of The Symbiotes #1…Is Supplementary
King in Black: Planet of the Symbiotes #1 is best for readers familiar with related material. Both segments are major developments, but it requires background information to appreciate fully. Since the Ravencroft story seems to be leading into the main Venom run, readers will probably be confused by Plague’s appearance. Some fans might even require knowledge of the original Planet of the Symbiotes to see how this series stands out. Otherwise, this issue is just okay.