Kong of Skull Island #2 Review

kongskullisland2

By James Asmus, Carlos Magno, Brad Simpson, Ed Dukeshire

More giant apes, more boring scenes with the Village people…

Two issues in, I still have no idea where Asmus is taking the story except that I’m done with it. It suffers from a lot of problems that series like Transformers do, where human characters are necessary for the audience to bond with but they’re so boring compared to the actual stars that you hate any focus not given to them. The human characters are so melodramatic and speak in a way that makes them being part of ancient and isolated tribes pointless.

It made me think of the animated movie El Dorado, where these two Spanish con-men find the fabled city of gold and convince its residents that they are gods. Even though they all speak the same language inexplicably (English in the movie, but in reality I assume is really Spanish?), the people of El Dorado use older and more extreme ideas than the Spaniards. What’s the point in depicting an ancient and tribal people if they mostly use the same ideas and concepts we do? Contrasting Agnosticism with Polytheism is a neat idea and worth being explored in depth for a story, but mentioning it offhandedly  feels pointless and draws attention to the fact that Asmus doesn’t seem committed to writing these characters that intently. Which is a shame because the giant animals aren’t given enough space to pick up the slack either, although they provide some cool action sequences.

Carlos Magno, with Brad Simpsons colors, give the giant animal scenes a rich pulpy flavor. It makes them feel epic and exciting, as they should be. If giant monsters fighting can’t be fun, then what’s the point?  Magno also gives the people and their architecture a historic feel that makes them feel more genuine than the dialogue. The panel layouts used also make the story flow and more interesting than what is actually being laid out narratively.

This isn’t the worst or even most disappointing comic I’ve read this week, but it is a frustrating one considering the talent present. Two issues in, there doesn’t seem to be a central character, and there’s no clue given as to how this connects to King Kong himself. Is that him there? Or is that his mother? Grandmother? Even the majesty and mystery of King Kong gets undercut by the fact that the tribesmen cultivated and breed his species to make them so  large and powerful. This series would be much better just focusing on giant apes fighting other giant monsters, at least that would leave less opportunity to disappoint. Asmus has some cool ideas here, like Kongs being used for gladiator matches or people knowing how dangerous Skull Island is and actually avoiding it. None of that is the point of this series, instead its a tribal rivalry and a cliche love story that isn’t compelling at all. I’m tapping out, the next King Kong movie has to be better than this and I’d rather give money to that at this point.

Rating: Poor, Fair, Good, Great, Excellent

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