Grew up reading comic books in the 90's. Marvel fan at heart. Hulk, the Midnight Sons, and Marvel's cosmic universe are my favorites.
MORE NEWS FROM THE WEB
The original King of the movie monsters, King Kong, has returned in a brand new limited comic book series from BOOM! Studios and DeVito Artworks, LLC. ComiConverse contributor Mitch Nissen chronicles the epic return to Skull Island.
Review: Kong Of Skull Island #1
The 1933 film King Kong is arguably one of the most influential films of all time and perhaps the most important film in regards to cinema special effects and genre films. And the king of Skull Island himself is one of the most well known icons the world over.
And his return is near.
The trailer for the March 2017 film Kong: Skull Island debuted at San Diego Comic Con last month. Also debuting last month was the first issue of Kong Of Skull Island, a six issue mini series from BOOM! Studios and DeVito Artworks. With the new film still six months away, writer James Asmus, illustrator Carlos Magno, and colorist Brad Simpson offer a brand new story set in the world of King Kong while we wait.
The time: Ages ago. The place: a chain of islands in the middle of the ocean. The Atu and the Tagu are two civilizations of people living in a tenuous peace. A race of Kongs, giant ape-like creatures, live in harmony with the Tagu and Atu people. The Kongs are cared for and trained to battle each other in a Colosseum-like arena for the sport of the people.
The final match of season is interrupted when the volcano on the main island rumbles and shakes the entire landmass. Representatives from both tribes meet at the mouth of the volcano, seeing for themselves the rising magma in the crater. They don’t have long before the volcano erupts and agree to begin taking measures to leave the island lest the eruption wipe them out completely.
The Tagu kong trainer, a young woman named Ewata, gathers her kongs and boards an ark large enough to carry all the Kongs and her people. They set course for an island rich in food, enough to feed the Kongs and themselves. En route a storm blows the ship off course. Ewata awakes to a terrifying sight, an island looming before them with a mountain shaped like a skull.
“… behold. The place where death lives.”
Pterodactyls swoop down from the sky and attack the kongs. The kongs panic, rocking the ship and casting many overboard. The kongs struggle to climb back into the boat while giant sea serpents swim up from the deep devouring men and women adrift in the waters. Amidst all the chaos one man shouts, “Ewata? Where is she?!” before finding himself within a giant gaping maw, razor sharp teeth closing around him.
For those of you unaware, this comic book mini series takes place in a world previously chronicled in a 2004 novel titled Kong: King of Skull Island. The book was created by famed artist Joe DeVito who illustrated and co-wrote along with science fiction authors Brad Strickland and John Michlig. The book acts as both a sequel and prequel to the 1933 film and disregards the film sequel Son of Kong.
Carl Denham’s son, Vincent, is looking for his long lost father who disappeared shortly after the events of the 1933 film. Vincent travels to Skull Island alongside Jack Driscoll. There he encounters the natives of Skull Island and learns, through a member of the natives called the Storyteller, about the history of King Kong and the Atu and Tagu tribes inhabiting the island. He learns of a monstrous dinosaur named Gaw and how Kong became king.
Kong: King of Skull Island has been officially authorized by the estate of King Kong’s creator, Merrian C. Cooper, as the official sequel/prequel to the original film.
This new comic book mini series appears to take place well before any of the events in the book. This first issue shows the reader the Atu and Tagu tribes before they lived on Skull Island, before the schism that would split the two tribes, and before any kongs, King or otherwise, ever stepped foot on Skull Island. Neither has the great wall been built either.
A character occupying the position of Storyteller appears in the issue, an occupation held by a central character in the 2004 novel. There are several kongs in the issue but only two are given names, a male and female named Valla and Fer’Rah (King Kong’s parents maybe?). Several dinosaurs appear off the shore of Skull Island as well but no sign of the evil Deathrunners or Gaw (Kong’s nemesis) yet.
The story itself is well paced and engaging. The characters at times run the risk of falling into archetypes but then make sensible choices that elevate them from comic book cliches to real characters. The story is accessible and if you haven’t read the novel you won’t be lost. But if you have read the novel (and I highly recommend you do) the experience becomes all the richer and rewarding. The world created in Joe DeVito’s novel and the comic book narrative translate seamlessly from one to the other. It is unclear how much Joe DeVito was involved in the crafting of this comic book mini series but one thing is clear; Writer James Asmus knows the novel and his Kong lore inside and out.
As for the art this book is one of the best looking comic books on the market.
Carlos Magno’s pencils are reminiscent of comic book superstar Steve McNiven, highly detailed and beautifully realistic. The panel layout and art composition are exciting and cinematic in scope. The image choices for the full page and two page spreads are well planned, enhancing the story and visual experience. And Brad Simpson’s colors make the images pop. All around the book looks gorgeous, one of the best looking books currently in stores.
If you love the world of King Kong and are a fan of excellent fantasy comic books give this one a try. You’ll be glad you did. BOOM! Studios spares no expense on this fantastic book.
And be sure to check back here next month as we continue covering this new title from BOOM!, the same studio that gave us new stories in the worlds of Big Trouble In Little China and Escape From New York.
Mitch Nissen is a Contributor to ComiConverse. Follow him on Twitter: @NinjaMitche
Source: Boom Studios
BOOM! Studios and DeVito Artworks, LLC unleash a new story in the world of King Kong. This prequel, written by James Asmus and illustrated by Carlos Magno, is beautiful, exciting, and ferocious. One of best looking and well written comic books on the market.