Saturday, 4 March 2017

Kong Of Skull Island #5 - BOOM! Studios

KONG OF SKULL ISLAND No. 5, November 2016
There’s quite a noticeable change to the feel and pace of James Asmus’ narrative for Issue Five of “Kong Of Skull Island”. One which starts with Ewata and her people’s untrustworthy monarchy heading out on a rather foolhardy expedition to track their new home’s most formidable “monster back to its lair”, and ends with the party, reeking of “the scents associated with these larger devils”, facing a double-headed creature of titanic proportions in a trap which seems destined to end in all their bloody deaths.

Fortunately however, such a seemingly ‘stand-alone plot’ does little to belittle the grandiose vision of the playwright’s much broader storyline about an entire relocated people surviving upon a truly hostile island, and instead actually brings into sharper focus both the murderous politics and gorily violent religion of the race’s two competing tribes. Indeed, despite the twenty-two page periodical’s plot predominantly focusing upon the exploits of a handful of characters, as opposed to its usually sweeping, and oft-times confusing, cast, this tale of giant apes battling ferocious dinosaurs contains just as much brutal butchery as the title’s preceding instalments… if not actually more so, and never lets its audience forget that Bolti and his brothers are fighting for the survival of all the Tagu and Atu left behind in their defended shelters.

In addition it is rather hard to imagine anyone turning away in boredom from a script which contains the Kong Valla, bludgeoning to death a giant Tyrannosaurus with the huge skull of a Triceratops, Ewata knifing a scuttling spider the size of a sheep just before it pounces upon her treacherous queen Usana, or later the native warriors savagely spearing an errant Velociraptor, who unwisely decides to attack the war-party single-handedly. For whilst this publication’s plot is admittedly, intermittently punctuated by some exceptionally over-crowded speech bubbles and lengthy dialogue, such as Gret risking “his Shaman’s ire to stand with a Tagu”, these word-laden discussions are soon forgotten once the isle's bloodthirsty inhabitants start to tear at one another once again...

Carlos Magno’s breakdowns for this comic are equally as pleasing to eye with the artist’s renderings of all manner of large-toothed fauna and leafy flora proving phenomenally well-detailed. Indeed, if not for the Brazilian penciller's disconcerting ability to make it occasionally unclear as to which figure is which within certain panels, his extraordinarily dynamic depictions of heavily-muscled great gorillas battering prehistoric monsters would be very hard to beat.
Writer: James Asmus, Illustrator: Carlos Magno, and Colors: Brad Simpson

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