King in Black: Planet of the Symbiotes #2 Review

Writers: Marc Bernardin & Geoffrey Thorne
Artists: Kyle Hotz & Jan Bazaldua
Colors: Rachelle Rosenberg
Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit

Release date February 17 2021
Review by D. Brown (WolfCypher)

Planet of the Symbiotes continues to tell little vignettes orbiting the events of King in Black by showing us what all the other heroes of the Marvel Universe, the ones not featured actively in the main event book, are doing to fight back the wave of symbiote dragons and the rest of Knull’s infantry. Its a novel idea for a tie-in, and I was a fan of the 1st installment, but the second installment doesn’t quite hit me as well.

The first story is all about the American Kaiju fighting as many symbiote dragons as he can. That’s…the jist of it, really. The story is narrated by his own inner thoughts, since being a giant rip-off Godzilla doesn’t afford this character much in the way of speaking out loud other than screaming the very cring-inducing “YEWW ESS AYY”…Kyle Hotz gives us some great scenes in this, with the high points being his take on Kaiju from multiple angles. If you were expecting any story or plot here…well, its not really anything substantial. While defending the city from Knull’s dragons, Kaiju ponders whether or not he’s truly a monster, and what it means to be a monster, and if his actions make him more a monster than a hero, etc. The narration here reads like its just talking in circles, as it ultimately ends by getting us back to the first question, and Kaiju is no more closer to figuring that out since the first page.

The second story catches us up on Hobie Brown, a.k.a the original 616 Prowler. Hobie is having lunch with his friend Mindy when the Knull invasion begings. Symbiotes rain down on the city and Hobie, despite promising Mindy to put an end to his costumed days, is forced to suit up into his Prowler/Hornet identity and take the fight to the symbiote possessed. Its a innocent enough story that is pretty inoffensive. The art by Jan Bazaldua is clean and looks like a style that would be perfect for a Spider-Man book. My only gripe here is how Hobie dispatches a group of symbiote-possessed civilians by using sound to take them down, since the main event itself has already made it clear that these Knull symbiotes are not affected by fire or sound. By the end of the comic, Hobie has fully taken on the Hornet identity, and I feel like this comic was more an attempt to resolve there being two Prowlers co-existing in the main Marvel Universe. While Hobie may be the original, over in the Miles Morales book, we have Miles’ Uncle Aaron donning that identity as well, and since Miles is really lacking in the way of having his own established rogues, I think I’d rather see Hobie concede that identity so that the Miles camp can keep something their own. Besides, it never sat well with me that Hobie, who has been a good guy for longer than I can remember, goes around masquerading with an alias I’ve always associated with villainy.

Final Thoughts

Planet of the Symbiotes is a serviceable collection of filler stories. Here we have two B-list acts that feature B-list characters who just happen to be around when the Knull invasion kicks off. There’s really nothing here that anyone following King in Black needs to pay attention to. If you like American Kaiju or Hobie Brown, you’ll get a lot more out of this anthology. Its perfectly okay, and perfectly skippable, as your mileage will vary.

6.8/10

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