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"King in Black: Planet of the Symbiotes #1" Comic Review

Written by James Ferguson

Published by Marvel Comics


Written by Clay McLeod Chapman and Frank Tieri
Illustrated by Guiu Vilanova and Danilo S. Beyruth
Colored by Dean White and Rachelle Rosenberg
Lettered by Cory Petit
2021, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on January 13th, 2021


With Knull's symbiote forces taking over earth, everyone that's ever encountered one of these gooey aliens is at risk. That includes Andi Benton, the young woman with demonic powers bonded to the Scream symbiote, as well as whatever the hell is going on in the Ravencroft institute for the criminally insane. King in Black: Planet of the Symbiotes provides a double-shot of terror in the Marvel Universe as Knull's influence spreads far and wide.

Let's start with the Scream story. Writer Clay McLeod Chapman returns to the character after some stellar work on her solo series. This tale is a bit of a family reunion, bringing Scream in contact with the rest of the Life Foundation symbiotes, last seen in Absolute Carnage: Separation Anxiety (the scariest tie-in to the last Venom-centric event).

Lasher, Agony, Riot, and Phage are terrorizing innocents and Scream can't have that. Things get tough when her siblings merge together into one monstrous being. Artist Guiu Vilanova really shines here with some of the creepiest work I've seen this month. This slimy being is made of teeth and tendrils. It's unnatural in the truest sense of the word. What makes it even more unsettling is how it's essentially a puppet for Knull. The symbiote god is controlling it from afar, trying to gobble up any of his descendants that are not part of his hive.

Click images to enlarge

Letterer Cory Petit fills this story with monstrous dialogue. Scream's words appear in dark yellow balloons with jagged tales. Somehow Knull's are even more otherworldly and demonic with a rough font in blood red balloons.

Colorist Dean White contrasts the yellow of Scream with the dark colors of her siblings and the surrounding area. She may be a symbiote of her own with jagged teeth and sharp claws, but she's on our side. That yellow shines through the darkness like a terrifying beacon of hope.

In the second story, writer Frank Tieri returns to Ravencroft to tell the next chapter in this unholy place that should be burned right off the map. Seriously, how many people have to be brutally murdered here before someone like the Avengers or the Fantastic Four realize its cursed? If this was a Burger King it wouldn't stand a chance.

Click images to enlarge

Anyway, Tieri ties into the recent Ravencroft series, picking up on some loose ends, mainly Cletus Kasady's ancestor and his ties to Knull. There's a dark and storied history here with a ton of potential. Artist Danilo S. Beyruth introduces Plague, a new and super creepy symbiote, kind of like a mummy. Colorist Rachelle Rosenberg shines with the eerie purple glow surrounding Plague. It's like he gives off a dangerous radiation just by existing.

Both stories offer some interesting ideas that could have a ton of possibilities for future stories. It seemed like the previous series were both cut short too early, so here's hoping we get to see more from both soon and not just in tie-ins like this. Scream and Ravencroft show the true potential of horror in the Marvel Universe.


Story: fourandahalfstars Cover
Buy from Amazon US.
Buy from Amazon UK.
Art: fourandahalfstars
Overall: 4.5 Star Rating

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About The Author
James Ferguson
Lord of the Funny Books
James has a 2nd grade reading level and, as a result, only reads books with pictures. Horror is his 5th favorite genre right after romantic comedy and just before silent films. No one knows why he's here, but he won't leave.
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