REVIEW: ‘King in Black: Planet of the Symbiotes,’ Issue #2

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Planet of the Symbiotes #2 - But Why Tho?Planet of the Symbiotes issue #2, published by Marvel Comics, is a mini tie-in series to King in Black. The issue is comprised of two stories. “American Kaiju” is written by Marc Bernardin, art by Kyle Hotz, and colors by Rachelle Rosenberg. “Hornet” is written by Geoffrey Thorne, art by Jan Bazaldua, and colors by Rachelle Rosenberg. The lettering for both stories was created by VC’s Cory Petit.

Knull has invaded Earth, and his infection of symbiotes has spread around the globe causing mass havoc and utter carnage. The Avengers have been ravaged, with some members succumbing to the hive, while the rest have gone into hiding trying to devise a plan of redemption. Meanwhile, there are still a number of other Earth-born symbiotic partnerships roaming the globe trying to avoid the supremacy of Knull.

In the first story “American Kaiju,” Todd Miller, the willing experimental patient of a knock-off super soldier serum by the U.S. army, is currently is roaming around the streets of New York City in Kaiju form.  While the invasion of Knull’s forces on the planet still rages on, we see the forces of humanity are not ready to go quietly. Miller while in Kaiju form lumbers through the streets looking for symbiote dragons to snack on, but he may have bitten off more than he can chew.

Bernardin’s story is a dichotomy of plot, as Miller reflects on whether his choice to become the Kaiju monster was of benefit to society or a massive mistake. All while his physical form causes the maximum amount of destruction only a Kaiju can inflict upon a major city. The narrative dialogue is pretty decent. While not emphatically eye-catching, it does hold your attention.

Where “American Kaiju” really lands as a story is in its imagery from the art styles of Hotz and the colors from Rosenberg. The details of these visuals are intense, with the inking and shading really adding the extra depth and texture to the behemoth characters. Rosenberg’s colors complement the art by Hotz and serve to extenuate the muscular definition of Miller’s Kaiju.

“Hornet” allows us to check in with the once feared owner of the Prowler costume, Hobbie Brown. While Brown is in the midst of a career-changing conversation with his partner Mindy, hellfire and brimstone rain down furiously upon the citizens unfortunate enough to be outside, as the masses are infected with symbiote organisms. Now Hobbie must race across town to gain access to his new suit, the Hornet, in an attempt to save as many people as he can.

Thorne’s writing for this story was good, but sadly, it just feels incomplete. Just as the Hornet is getting going, the story effectively is over. I’m not sure if Marvel is planning a series for the title character or a tie-in elsewhere, but if that were the case I would have thought they’d have advertised it to make readers aware. In any case, given it’s a short story, the plot labors to get going, and ultimately doesn’t really take us anywhere interesting either.

Bazaldua’s art was enjoyable, but overall without anything of major note. The artist did do a fantastic job with the close-up facial features of the affected symbiotes, mirroring the characteristics of vampires. There are some incredible horror elements. Ultimately though, the visuals don’t really elevate this story.

Rosenberg’s colors are one of the highlights, capturing the slim moments of horror with the use of dark blues, and greens emphasizing the darker shades, and tones of the symbiotic faces.

Petit’s lettering was well balanced throughout both stories and kept the pace of the issue. Miller’s iconic “Yew, Ess, Ayyy” dialogue was captured in a captivating design.

Overall, the issue starts somewhat well, and then just peters out. After the first issue dropped with such a bang, I was expecting big things from the remaining issues in the mini-series. Buy the issue for the American Kaiju visuals, but don’t expect anything world-shattering with this tie-in story.

Planet of the Symbiotes issue #2 is available in stores now.

King in Black: Planet of the Symbiotes #2
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TL;DR

Overall, the issue starts somewhat well, and then just peters out. After the first issue dropped with such a bang, I was expecting big things from the remaining issues in the mini-series. Buy the issue for the American Kaiju visuals, but don’t expect anything world-shattering with this tie-in story.