Comic: Skull Island: The Birth of Kong #1

Order

Skull Island: The Birth of Kong #1


English Comic Title

MonsterVerse - Skull Island: The Birth of Kong #1

Authors:

Arvid Nelson

Pencils:
Inks:
Colors:
Language:
Release:
Publisher
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Pages:

Mohammad Yazid "Zid" Kamal Baharin
Mohammad Yazid "Zid" Kamal Baharin
Mohammad Yazid "Zid" Kamal Baharin
English
2017
Legendary Comics
26

Covers:

Mohammad Yazid "Zid" Kamal Baharin

Comic

Monsters

Death Jackal
Death Jackal
Psychovulture
Psychovulture
Leafwing
Leafwing



Aliens, SDF & Misc.

V-22 Osprey
V-22 Osprey



Review

By: Anthony Romero

Legendary Comics unleashes their second comic in the MonsterVerse, this time on the King Kong character and directly tied to the events of Kong: Skull Island (2017). Unlike Godzilla Awakening, though, this story is a four-parter that will be combined into a graphic novel at its conclusion. For the assignment, Legendary has tapped writer Arvid Nelson, whose past work includes Rex Mundi and Warlord of Mars, and Mohammad Yazid Kamal Baharin, or "Zid" for short and how he will be known through the rest of the review. As the first issue in the series, the pair do a pretty good job, establishing the premise while giving the reader some action. There are nitpicks to be had, but the art is exceptional and overall makes for a good read.

In terms of the story, Houston Brooks, who was on the first expedition to Skull Island, is informed of the retrieval of a device belonging to his son, Aaron Brooks. The device is a recording, documenting a trip he made nearly 20 years prior. Although originally stated as a trip to Antarctica, the real destination was Skull Island, to which Aaron and his dad argued about due to MONARCH keeping the place a secret. Along for the ride were cryptobiologist Evegenij Medov, MD Evelyn Matemavi, survival instructor Helen Karsten, anthropologist Walter R. Riccio and Cejudo, the pilot. His father listens to the recording as his son documents them using a V-22 Osprey as they penetrate the storm cycle surrounding the island. However, the vehicle was quickly attacked by Psychovultures, stranding them on the island...

Set in 2012, the events of this story work as a sequel to Kong: Skull Island (2017), which took place in 1973, and a prequel to Godzilla (2014), name dropping scientist Ichiro Serizawa who was played by Ken Watanabe in that film. The comic has a flashback of its own, leading back to 1995 to its Skull Island expedition. For those trying to piece together the time line of the MonsterVerse, the comics and films have enough flashbacks to make this a back and forth endeavor. For example:

  • 1944: World War II pilots crash on Skull Island, as seen in Kong: Skull Island (2017)
  • 1946: The Shinomura appear and keep doing so through 1950, as seen in Godzilla Awakening
  • 1953: Godzilla first fights the Shinomura, as seen in Godzilla Awakening
  • 1954: Godzilla fights the Shinomura again and is nuked, as seen in Godzilla Awakening and the latter in Godzilla (2014)
  • 1973: The first expedition to Skull Island, as seen in Kong: Skull Island (2017)
  • 1980: Modern day events from Godzilla Awakening
  • 1995: Second expedition to Skull Island from this comic, Skull Island: The Birth of Kong
  • 1999: Events in the Philippines and Janjira with the MUTO, as seen in Godzilla (2014)
  • 2012: Modern day events from this comic, Skull Island: The Birth of Kong
  • 2014: Godzilla fights the MUTO, as seen in Godzilla (2014)


That's quite a tangled web, and we are only one issue into the series. I hope and don't expect for these comics to be referenced in the films, and it would be unwise to assume fans interested in the movies will check these out. However, it does provide an opportunity to expand on the universe and Legendary appears to be doing that to build out a pretty interagent time line for their franchise.

I digress, though, in terms of this story it's a good introduction issue. We know the stakes, we know the story and it throws the team into danger pretty quickly. The comic is surprisingly vicious, more so than even the film was. It's not afraid to raise the stakes for the reader pretty quickly too, showing the hazards of the island. There is one nonsensical moment, though, where anthropologist Walter R. Riccio tries to convince the team to look for lost civilizations... rather than find the crashed V-22 Osprey and pilot inside (!?). However, enough page time is devoted to this where hopefully something comes from it in one of the following issues. Anyway, the comic's climax is largely focused on the Death Jackals, a new monster that looks like the combination of a velociraptor and a hyena.

As for the star attraction of this comic, it's the art by Zid. The artist is a one man show, doing pencils, inking and coloring. The end result is almost cinematic, with great attention to detail and dynamic framing. The action sells itself while the characters have enough detail to be discernible from one another. The artist is consistent as well, with each frame packing enough detail to be worthy of a cover.

Overall, the issue is a good start to the series, hopefully with a bit more character development to follow. It ends on a cliff hanger as well, while the chance of seeing more of Zid's art should be worth the price of admission alone for the second comic. As a side note, the last four pages of the comic are devoted to creature profiles. These give some nice details on the Death Jackals, the Psychovulture and the Leafwings from the comic.