Saturday, 4 February 2017

Kong Of Skull Island #4 - BOOM! Studios

KONG OF SKULL ISLAND No. 4, October 2016
There’s an awful lot to like about James Asmus’ narrative for Issue Four of “Kong Of Skull Island”. For whilst the pulse-pounding pace of the twenty-two page periodical’s script does regrettably peter out midway through the publication and degenerate into a tediously tiring series of dialogue-heavy scenes, it’s opening, absolutely crammed full of giant apes, man-eating dinosaurs, native warriors and great sea beasts must have thrilled its 5,191-strong audience.

Indeed, for the first half of the Stan Lee Excelsior Award-winner’s story, it genuinely seems hard to believe any of the lead protagonists will survive for long on the “isle of demons” as the reader encounters “creatures of pure violence [which] burst from every brush -- and descend from every cloud.” It certainly appears clear that without the likes of Tuno, an enormous primitive who literally flattens a grounded pterodactyl with a well-placed foot, Ewata and her “brothers and sisters” would soon have fallen to the “deathrunners and dinosaurs” picking off her people; even if the determined warriors do manage to take down the occasional carnivore with their flame-arrows.   

Perhaps this book’s most notable passage however, is not one based solely amidst the mire of artist Carlos Magno’s well-pencilled mutilation, but rather a heart-wrenching look deep inside the souls of two Atu Kongs, as one sacrifices herself “to save all of us” by bodily grabbing two mighty lizards threatening her beloved, and running off the top of a cliff with them into the razor-toothed maw of a gargantuan fish. This noble loss of B’Lan is incredibly well-penned by the New Orleans-educated author, and the pain in her mate’s eyes as he initially tears into more of the bipedal “sentient dinosaurs”, then later sinks to the ground in utter grief, is visible for all to see…

Disconcertingly though Asmus’ sensibilities do arguably seem to leave him at this comic’s end, as the elderly Vdrell appears before his astonished people claiming he has simply walked along the bottom of the sea from the tribe’s razed homeland, in order to reach “our people… and guidance of Usana… as she leads us to our new destiny.” Admittedly the Tagu and Atu are a highly superstitious race, yet surely even they, despite just hearing the tragic news of former prince K’reti’s cold-blooded murder, wouldn’t trust such an utterly unbelievable falsehood as the Shaman somehow managing to breathe underwater for an entire day and then conveniently finding his way to his daughter’s side on Skull Island?
Writer: James Asmus, Illustrator: Carlos Magno, and Colors: Brad Simpson

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