Before there was a rivalry between Team Edward and Team Jacob, two different monsters polarized audiences, forcing them to choose which force of nature they were going to cheer on. Those monsters are King Kong and Godzilla. These two giants are set to face off on the big screen once again in “Godzilla vs. Kong” and Legendary Comics is providing the pre-game commentary in two new graphic novels. This review will focus on Kingdom Kong but be on the lookout for my review of Godzilla Dominion.
Kingdom Kong, written by Maire Anello, sets up Kong’s side of the conflict. This original graphic novel is a sequel to Skull Island: Birth of Kong, but as far as I can tell, you don’t need to have read it to understand this book. I’ve never read Birth of Kong and it didn’t stop me from enjoying Kingdom Kong. Anello gets the exposition out of the way at the beginning of the story. Quickly catching the reader up and setting the stage for the story that is about to play out. There are an unexpected number of science-fiction elements introduced during the setup. Although a cool addition to the Kong mythos, I felt a little bogged down by these details. Luckily, the pacing and action both take off soon after.
Once the setup is out of the way and the action begins, the storyline is very exciting. Between the exhilarating action scenes and the character’s emotional beats, Kingdom Kong is a real page turner. In addition to the compelling character work and stellar action, I also enjoyed the plot points obviously inspired by classic Eldritch horror. In addition, the story features a diverse cast of characters. Audrey Burns, the comic’s main human character, is especially well developed. Anello does a great job of making all the characters believable. They come off as actual people and not just players in an action comic.
The realism of the characters is further enhanced by Zid’s artwork. I always appreciate when an artist pays attention to the light source in each panel. This is something that Zid excels at throughout the graphic novel. He also expertly scales the kaiju. It’s easy to tell the size of figures relative to one another. This provides clarity to the scope of characters featured in each panel and gives the reader a real sense of the size and power of the kaiju.
Kong is illustrated very well. In every panel in which he appears, his might and majesty are readily apparent. He doesn’t look much like an actual gorilla but luckily, he also doesn’t look like a guy in a gorilla suit. One complaint I have with the artwork is that there are a few points in the story where it’s hard to tell the flashbacks from events in the present. Each is colored the same and time stamps are rarely used, so there are times when it’s hard to tell the difference between a character’s memories and the scene playing within the current storyline.
Members of Team Kong will definitely want to read Kingdom Kong. It’s probably not a bad idea to also check out the companion graphic novel Godzilla Dominion too. After all, it’s always best to know your opponent. Even if the contenders are giant kaiju monsters.
Story: Marie Anello Art: Zid
Story: 8.0 Art: 8.0 Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy
Legendary Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review