Writer: Tini Howard
Artist: Luciano Vecchio
Colorist: Espen Grundetjern
Cover Artist: Jim Cheung & Alejandro Sánchez Rodriguez
Publisher: MARVEL COMICS
The galaxy is overrun with Symbiotes as the God of Symbiotes, Knull, has returned to power and is cleaving his way through the galaxy to continue his genocidal crusade. However, King in Black: Wiccan and Hulkling #1 shows just what the new Emperor of the Kree/Skrull alliance and his husband are doing during all of this madness. Read on to find out!
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The book picks up where the one-shot tie-in Empyre: Web of Venom left off. We see the crew of Skrull commander Talos having become fully possessed or ‘knullified’ by Symbiotes who are ordered by Knull himself to dethrone the Tree/Skrull Empire’s new ruler. On that note, Hulkling and Wiccan are going through their courtly duties but receive a generous gift from the Sh’iar Empire – a oneway trip to a planet resort. The pair are excited to go, with Hulking’s Free bodyguard tagging along. From there, hi-jinks ensue.
Despite this setup, the book doesn’t fully capitalize on what the previous tie-in had set up and instead tries to show how cute and funny Hulking and Wiccan are as a couple. For fans of the previous tie-in, this book is definitely not for you. Speaking of the newly weds, their faces are depicted a little too young here. While every other character looks fine, Hulkling and Wiccan’s faces stand out in this book.
On top of that, Tini Howard tries to balance out telling an action-packed symbiote invasion while continually downplaying the seriousness of the situation at various points in the story. One in particular which will be explained in the spoiler section.Overall, this book doesn’t really connect to the larger event all the well or add much to it. All it really does is provide unsatisfactory payoff to a better tie-in.
King in Black: Wiccan and Hulkling #1 Spoilers:
A major flaw of this book is the lack of urgency in an otherwise cool and epic scenario that’s undermined by its attempts at humor. Throughout the book Tini Howard tries way too hard to show how cute and funny the main duo are which conflicts with the story’s suspense. A major example, when the planet resort is attacked, Hulkling and Wiccan rush in to battle one of the symbiote dragons. Sound good. But they defeat it off-panel, and worse, two pages later we see them sitting down on the beach, drinking champagne with candles.
They’re just taking a break from saving everyone and then Hulkling just remembers that he’s a space emperor and decides to check in with his empire. Literally saying, “I feel like I should check in with home.” While he’s revealing his strategy, Tini Howard inadvertently shows Hulkling to be an inept leader. How? Apparently, he did get Talos’ report from the Empyre: Web of Venom tie-in but didn’t heed his warning. And instead of mobilizing the Kree/Skrull Alliances forces, he just requests an escort fleet and nothing else.
Also, a personal criticism is how this book doesn’t fully utilize the potential of Symbiote Skrulls. The Skrulls are an alien race of shapeshifters who can turn their body parts into claws, weapons, and even morph into dangerous alien beasts. And now some of them have been taken over by Knull’s symbiotes; this should be a straight up horror show. It’s in the same boat as Al Ewing’s Guardians of the Galaxy tie-in, his book more so since he writes Immortal Hulk which is renowned for its body-horror monsters.
In the end, the book gives Hulkling and Wiccan huge pats on the backs for their teamwork and how great they are together. It tonally ends on a happy note, despite the fact that the galaxy is still under attack by the primordial symbiote God and his many symbiote dragons. Which includes the Kree/Skrull Alliance now that they’re clearly aware of threat. And we don’t even see Hulkling mobilizing their defenses or getting ready to help out Earth.
If you’re looking for Hulkling and Wiccan’s honeymoon, this is for you. However, the book is tonally inconsistent and tries a little too hard to make the galactic newly weds come off as cute and charming. Fans of Hulkling and Wiccan might enjoy this, but this book can be skipped for anyone following the main King in Black event. There is some payoff to a previous tie-in and that’s about it.