Review: Skull Island: The Birth of Kong #2

Mitch Nissen Mitch Nissen
Expert Contributor
November 29th, 2017

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.

Review: Skull Island: The Birth of Kong #2
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Reviewed by:
Rating:
4
On November 29, 2017
Last modified:November 29, 2017

Summary:

The Legendary Pictures "Monsterverse" is further expanded with the latest tie-in comic book series, Skull Island: The Birth of Kong. Writer Arvid Nelson fleshes out the Kong lore with a violent and furious story mythic in scope. And the artwork by Zid is among the best in the business. Kong is as awe-inspiring and godlike as ever in this new mini series from Legendary.

Price:
Spectacular

Reviewed by:
Rating:

4
On November 29, 2017
Last modified:November 29, 2017

Summary:

The Legendary Pictures "Monsterverse" is further expanded with the latest tie-in comic book series, Skull Island: The Birth of Kong. Writer Arvid Nelson fleshes out the Kong lore with a violent and furious story mythic in scope. And the artwork by Zid is among the best in the business. Kong is as awe-inspiring and godlike as ever in this new mini series from Legendary.

MORE NEWS FROM THE WEB

Last April Legendary Comics released the first issue of Skull Island: The Birth of Kong, a tie in mini series to the Warner Bros./Legendary Pictures film Kong: Skull Island, also from this year. The final issue of this comic book mini series was just released.  ComiConverse contributor Mitch Nissen takes a look at the whole series.

Review: Skull Island: The Birth of Kong

Legendary Pictures is more known for their films than their comic books, having a relative few comic books to their name. Of the comic books they’ve released several tie into the budding Monsterverse franchise of films. In 2013 Legendary released a prequel graphic novel to the film Pacific Rim. In 2014 they gave the American Godzilla film the same treatment with another graphic novel.

Skull Island: The Birth of Kong marks the latest comic book tie-in series from Legendary. This time around they approached the story somewhat differently than they have in the past. Rather than releasing the entire book in an exclusive hardcover graphic novel, they released this series as four individual regular comic issues, the collected edition forthcoming.

And instead of a straight prequel, the comic functions as both a prequel and sequel to the Kong: Skull Island film.

The Synopsis

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It’s 2012. Houston Brooks is retiring from Monarch. On the eve of his retirement party he receives a recording device from his son, Aaron, who’s been missing for the last 17 years. On the device is a story of a secret expedition to Skull Island. The instant they arrive on the island they are beset by monsters. The plane goes down. One of the crew is ripped apart. They survive only by the intervention of Kong. The Iwi people of Skull Island arrive and escort the survivors to the village.

There one of the crew, a man named Riccio, begins experiencing visions of past events on the island. In these visions he sees a tribe of Kong at war with a horde of Skullcrawlers. He sees Kong’s birth and finally the deaths of Kong’s parents. The visions slowly drive Riccio mad, to the point where he destroys the wall protecting the Iwi village to show everyone that Kong is more than a beast but a benevolent protector god. As monsters pour into the village Kong arrives to save them. But is Kong strong enough fight back the swarms of MUTOs?

The Breakdown

The mini series is written by Arvid Nelson and art and colors by Zid (both having worked with Legendary Comics previously).

Nelson firmly set the story within the Monsterverse, tying closely to the Kong: Skull Island film through the character of Houston Brooks (portrayed by actor Corey Hawkins in the film), name dropping Serizawa, foreshadowing the events of the 2014 Godzilla film by mentioning Janjira, and more. There are even subtle nods to Joe Devito’s novel Kong: King of Skull Island as well.

Nelson pushes the story along at a brisk pace, keeping the tension up and the action high. The brutal nature of the film is equally captured here, perhaps taking the violence even further. Nelson takes the notion of Kong’s godlike image and runs with it. Kong’s birth sequence is a tale straight from myth, a bloody scene like something out of a Robert E. Howard novel.

Credit: Legendary Comics

With the exception of a nitpick or two in the final issue, the writing is top notch. But what elevates this book to an entirely new level is the artwork by Zid.

Acting as both the artist and colorist, with coloring assistance by Mashuri, Muhammad Iqbal, and Kinsun Loh, the artwork featured in this series is breathtaking. The style adopted for the book is incredibly realistic to the point where Houston Brooks actually looks like actor Corey Hawkins. The human characters are all rendered with the same level of realism. But where the art really shines is with the monsters and the Skull Island terrain.

A full shot of Kong isn’t revealed until the final issue, but when he does appear the art is jaw-dropping. The same awe of seeing Kong in the film is recreated on the page. Not only does Kong look spectacular but each of the monsters are equally realized. Zid revisits nearly all of the monsters from the film and offers up a few new creatures as well.

Story continues below

Nelson and Zid also take readers to a few familiar locations from the film including the Iwi village, one of the downed choppers, and the Bone Yard. It is here at the Bone Yard where the comic explores the events which led to the Kong skeletons seen in the movie. The scene is the aforementioned Kong Birth sequence and it is one of the highlights of the entire series, given incredible power by Zid’s art.

And the end of each issue contains bonus content, declassified Muto profiles from Monarch covering each monster appearing in the comic including one or two that don’t.

Credit: Legendary Comics

As far as a mere tie-in to a movie, this comic aspires to great heights and achieves its goal. Skull Island: The Birth Of Kong is without a doubt the most beautiful artwork I’ve seen in a comic book this year. The writing expands the film mythos in both directions and ties nigh perfectly together with the film.

If you enjoyed the film and are stoked for Legendary Pictures’ Monsterverse, or are merely an appreciator of amazing artwork, do not miss this series.

What did you think?

Drop us a comment below

Mitch Nissen is a Contributor to ComiConverse. Follow him on Twitter: @NinjaMitche

Skull Island: The Birth of Kong

  • 4

Spectacular

The Legendary Pictures "Monsterverse" is further expanded with the latest tie-in comic book series, Skull Island: The Birth of Kong. Writer Arvid Nelson fleshes out the Kong lore with a violent and furious story mythic in scope. And the artwork by Zid is among the best in the business. Kong is as awe-inspiring and godlike as ever in this new mini series from Legendary.

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