King in Black: Planet of the Symbiotes #1

by Nick Devonald on January 12, 2021

Writer: Clay McLeod Chapman
Artist: Guiu Vilanova
Colours: Dean White
Letters: VC’s Cory Petit

Writer: Frank Tieri
Artist: Danilo S. Beyruth
Colours: Rachelle Rosenberg
Letters: VC’s Cory Petit

The King in Black event is massive, having repercussions in every corner of the Marvel universe, and unfortunately the main series can’t show everything which is going on. That’s where Planet of the Symbiotes come in. It’s a three part anthology series showing us some of the events which are happening in the wider Marvel universe. How important it’ll be to the greater King in Black series remains to be seen, but as a continuation of these characters storylines, as well as a welcome opportunity to see some of the smaller stories unfolding within the larger event, it works really well.  This first issue has two stories in it, Scream and Ravencroft, both of which tie into the series which sprang out of Absolute Carnage.


First up is Scream, written by Clay McLeod Chapman, who did a fantastic job writing Scream last year. The ongoing Scream series was cancelled far too early in its run so it’s a pleasant surprise to have Chapman returning here to continue Scream and Andi Benton’s story. While in lesser hands the short nature of the story could feel rushed, Chapman manages to tell an entertaining story which has just the length it needs to be satisfying and letting us know what’s going on with Scream at the moment. It’s also an opportunity to bring back some other symbiotes from the past which is sure to delight fans.

The art from Guiu Vilanova captures the horror tone that Chapman is going for brilliantly, without going into spoilers most of the story is an incredible fight scene, with some fantastic and creative panels. Symbiote vs symbiote fans are always great fun, but with some excellent writing and art this one really stands out, and there are some definite Lovecraft vibes here. Some of the creature designs in particular stand out and are incredible creative.
Dean White gets plenty of opportunity here to show off his skill with colours here, Scream has always been one of the more colourful symbiotes, as are the symbiotes she finds herself up against here. Couple that with Knulls symbiote covered planet, the colours contrast nicely against the dark backdrops really bringing home the horror vibe of the story.

This will appeal to symbiote fans at large, and succeeds in being a tie-in story which doesn’t feel unnecessary or a money grab. Too early to say if it’ll be important to the overall event, but it’s such a great story fans shouldn’t miss out on it.


With Ravencroft Frank Tieri gets an opportunity to carry on the story that began in the Ravencroft mini-series, and it's clear this is where he's wanted to take the story since its inception. Not only is it a return to Ravencroft, more importantly it's a return to Cortland Kasady. Since Absolute Carnage ended this is a character who has been introduced and frequently implied to have a much larger role in upcoming events. Well wonder no longer about what Kletus Kasady’s long deceased relative has to do with current events, this issue reveals all. Again, it’s difficult to say how important this tie in will end up being to the larger story, a number of the Absolute Carnage tie ins felt incredibly important, and the only pay off ended up being a page or two in the finale to the event. Either way though this delivers some of the answers that fans of Ravencroft have been waiting for, as well as carrying on the story from Absolute Carnage.

Danilo S. Beyruth does a great job with the art, and there is a new character design in this story which is brilliant. It’s especially effective when coupled with Rachelle Rosenbergs characters, without going into spoilers it works really well and looks incredible on the page.

As tie-in issues go most issues usually fall into one of two categories, essential reading or unnecessary money making issues. In terms of importance this one appears to fall into the latter, and in terms of enjoyment factor it’s a pretty good, fun read. If you only plan on picking up one or two of the tie-in issues you can’t go wrong with this one, it’s fun, it expands the event and doesn’t feel unnecessary. It does a great job of fleshing out the event and has everything you want in a tie-in issue.

Our Score:


A Look Inside