Kong: Gods of Skull Island #1

Writer: Phillip Kennedy Johnson
Illustrator: Chad Lewis
Colorist: Dee Cunniffe
Letterist: Ed Dukeshire
Cover Artist: Jeremy Wilson
Publisher: BOOM! Studios

A Review by Stacy Dooks

It’s an open secret among my friends that when it comes to comics, if it’s got an ape in it, I’m in like Flynn. I know I’m not alone in my love of apes in comics: back in the Silver Age DC Comics noticed whenever they published a comic with an ape or monkey on the cover their sales would spike significantly. Cue a plethora of ape covers, to the point where editor Julie Schwartz had to lay down some rules limiting the amount of titles that could feature a gorilla on the cover. From Gorilla Grodd to Monkeyman & O’Brien to Tom Strong’s King Solomon, I find the best comics usually feature a simian somewhere. And when it comes to apes in comics, well the most natural fit would be the King himself. And, this is, of course, my roundabout way of introducing Kong: Gods of Skull Island.

James Copland is a wealthy adventurer who yearns for one last chance at immortality. When a freak storm throws his plane off-course, he spots an island previously unexplored by civilized man. Charting an expedition to explore this strange new realm, his intentions are to bring the light of civilization to this seemingly backwards and savage land. But as the band of explorers get to know the tribe hosting them, they learn of their mythology, and of their god Kong. Those who seek to trespass in Kong’s domain quickly learn that here it isn’t man who is king.

King Kong is one of those malleable properties that we return to again and again, finding new insight with each new interpretation to the classic tale in all its various incarnations. Kong: Gods of Skull Island takes an interesting approach by keeping the eponymous ape largely off-panel, save for a brief cameo at the tale’s outset. Instead, the creative team confines Kong to the realm of the legends the tribal people of Skull Island tell of him. This makes his eventual appearance that much more powerful. Phillip Kennedy Johnson crafts a nice tale of hubris brought low in the face of the power of primordial nature. And, the art and colors by Chad Lews and Dee Cunniffe bring the lush jungle environments and the array of prehistoric horrors contained therein to life. Jeremy Wilson’s cover is a moody piece that definitely arrests the eye, and the work of Ed Dukeshire on lettering ensures that the legend of Kong is suitably moody and epic.

The Verdict:
Buy it!
If you enjoy an action-filled rumination on Man Vs. Nature–replete with monsters, dinosaurs, and the King himself–you’d do well to pick up Kong: Gods of Skull Island. It’s an action piece with some interesting things to say about the human condition, and you get to watch King Kong throw down with dinosaurs while it does so. Recommended.

Stacy Dooks
Stacy Dooks is a writer and assorted pop culture fanatic whose childhood fixations on the works of Jim Henson, George Lucas, and DC Comics laid the groundwork for his current status as a pop culture junkie chatterbox. He currently resides in Calgary, Alberta while he waits for his TARDIS coral to finish growing. For more of his observations on popular culture, check out The Fanboy Power Hour: http://tfph.libsyn.com/

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