REVIEW: Kong of Skull Island #5

Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Writer: James Asmus
Artist: Carlos Magno
Colourist: Brad Simpson
Release Date: OUT NOW!

Price: $3.99

Kong of Skull Island #5 BOOM! Studios

Kong of Skull Island #5 BOOM! Studios

In Kong of Skull Island #5, Carlos Magno’s art has definite echoes of Joe Kubert, which is no bad thing since Kubert, as well as being a master of many different genre’s, always seemed to excel himself with jungle based characters.

The story of Kong, a giant ape with a soft spot for Barbie-sized blondes (we’ll discretely draw a veil over exactly what emotions diminutive damsels in distress stirred within the savage breast of our tall dark and hirsute hero and assume he just wanted to use them as peroxide toothpicks) began with the 1933 film King Kong. Such was Kong’s impact that the film has now spawned remakes, adaptations, video games, theme park rides, a stage play and a whole legion of Kong-lite wannabe’s.

Usually described as a monster movie, this interpretation of Kong is too narrow to do him justice. Like Karloff’s performance as Frankenstein’s monster, Kong elicits sympathy rather than fear. Even when he’s smashing skyscrapers and swatting planes out of the sky, it’s only because he has been mistreated by the much more bestial humans who suppose themselves to be his superiors.

James Asmus’ interpretation of the greatest of great apes gives us Kong not as an isolated loner as depicted in the original film, but as a whole race of giant apes. Obvious when you think about it. King Kong had to come from somewhere, right? In Kong of Skull Island #5, the Kong’s are the protectors of the Taga-Atu people who are making their way across Skull Island for reasons not fully explained in Kong of Skull Island #5, but I guess that’s what we get for coming in late to the party.

The Kongs’s main task is to grapple with various monsters that inhabit the island and our first real glimpse of a Kong in action has him pitted against a scaly tyranocrocasaurus. That’s what it looked like to me anyway. I’ll leave it up to more experienced dino spotters to give a more accurate description.

Fragmenting the Kong persona like this opens new horizons but, in the same way that having a central character who doesn’t speak and whose thoughts we can’t hear, it also imposes significant restrictions. The supporting cast must carry the burden of plot development and character identification. With nary a blonde in sight, the assembled cast here, nefarious shaman, feisty, scantily clad native girl etc. do their best but they are dwarfed by the big guy in the monkey suit in just about every way possible.

Less talk and more monkey business would pep up Kong of Skull Island #5 no end but it’s good to see the big guy back in action.



Reviewer: Gary Orchard
Reviews Editor: Steve Hooker

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