King in Black: Planet of the Symbiotes has been a fun two-story-per-issue anthology allowing creators a smaller space to tell stories going on during the King in Black event. Now that the event is ending next week, the third and final issue is out, which features a story focused on Toxin and another on Cloak and Dagger. What are these characters up to, are they adding to the dialogue of the event, and more importantly, should you read them?
This issue opens with a story by Rodney Barnes, Danilo Beyruth, and Rachelle Rosenberg about Cloak and Dagger doing their best to keep people safe. Or that’s what Dagger is up to, at least. The story quickly becomes about Cloak succumbing to the darkness of Knull and his Symbiote evil. The preview gets into that a bit, and while the book looks good, it doesn’t do much with the characters. If you love these characters it’s certainly nice to see them get some time on page, but it doesn’t add much to their legacy or the event itself.
Beyruth and Rosenberg do a great job playing with light and shadow, which is of course a must for these characters. Beyruth captures the evil darkness Cloak is enduring, and the hopeful, yet concerned nature of Dagger well. The glow of city lights adds a good atmosphere too.
Following this is Steve Orlando, Gerardo Sandoval, and Erick Ariniega’s story focused on Toxin. It’s nice to see some of the other mainline Symbiotes that live on Earth, and this story has great energy. Orlando infuses the story with Toxin the Symbiote’s manic nature with the host’s. Who is that host? That’s a spoiler, but know that it’s a wild concept that may just make folks demand Marvel continue this story. It’s not only a clever take on Toxin, but on Symbiote-wearing heroes too. This story isn’t much more than an action scene and a cool surprise reveal, but given the lower page count, that makes sense.
Sandoval does a great job filling the page with Toxin’s huge muscular and helps define Toxin’s look so it’s unique from Venom. That goes right down to his toes, which you can see in full, and he has a little more solid Symbiote nature with fewer goopy tendrils than what we usually see. The design of the main villain facing off with Toxin is quite cool too, with a clever costume design that’s creepy, but foreboding.
Overall, this is an okay last issue in a miniseries that has allowed creators to play around within the confines of the King in Black event. This is by no means a necessary read, but the Toxin story makes the issue worth reading thanks to a clever idea using Symbiotes and a strong voice in its characters. The Cloak and Dagger story is more for their superfans who miss seeing them in the latest comics. Funnily enough, “Planet of the Symbiotes” was quite misleading, but if you’re up for some smaller-sized side issues it’s a worthy read.
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