KONG of SKULL ISLAND / NIGHTWING / NEW SUPER-MAN / SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN / HAL JORDAN [Reviews]: Hail to the King.
King Kong has long been a cult classic monster in the movies and media. With several movies under its belt, and a successful remake in 2005, the series is set to see a reboot of the franchise in 2017 and a followup tie-in with Godzilla in 2020. It’s only fitting the big guy also comes back to the comic pages, and Boom Studios is doing just that.
I admit that, at first, I was hesitant in how good this could be with only 6 issues being produced, but I was hooked once I made my way from panel to panel. This isn’t the Kong story you are used to, but more of a prequel to what we’ve seen on the big screen. Writer James Asmus (Quantum & Woody) actually took time to talk with the estate of Kong’s creator, Merian C. Cooper, to decide where in the Kong timeline the story should focus.
We start on an island with no name–or at least we aren’t given one–where two tribes seem to be at odds. Rather than vying for control via fights between their people, we see that the Kong are used as trained gladiators. That’s right, Kongs as in multiple Kong beasts. Each tribe trains their Kong in their own way and eventually pit them against each other an arena. The tribes themselves seem to once existed as one, but differing ideals has separated them into two: the Atu and the Tagu. Of course, something bigger than them forces a change in their lives and brings us to Skull Island, where a new evil awaits. You’ll have to read to find out all the details, and honestly if you are a fan of King Kong or just enjoy the stories, this will keep your attention well.
The art style, by Carlos Magno (Planet of the Apes) and Brad Simpson (Sex) fits the story and the colors match the tone and scenery well. And Asmus’ writing keeps things moving without feeling rushed. And yet while this isn’t an official prequel to the original 1933 film, it’s also not an official prequel to any other King Kong movie. Personally, I’m hoping it fits in well with the 2017 reboot, as that one already seems very interesting. Either way, I’ll definitely be grabbing the rest in the series. 4.5/5 Bibles.
Nightwing’s Rebirth one-shot begins with Dick Grayson taking a trip down memory lane with his roles of Robin, Nightwing, a spy and even his own secret identity as Dick. He’s on his way home, but detours to stop a robbery in progress by The Madmen. It’s not a terribly long scene but serves as a segue to setting the main story on track, and also reminds us that Nightwing’s name once belonged to a Kryptonian hero Superman told him about.
Dick has left his spy days with.. ahem.. Spyral behind with intent on setting things back to order in Gotham City. First though, he seeks assistance from his arch-frenemy, Midnighter, to finally get the bomb out of Damian’s head, (having been implanted since the Robin War) which also plays out as much needed quality time assuring Damien that he’s there to make things right. Of course, that’s none other than a return as Nightwing in order to take on the Parliament of Owls!
Tim Seely (Hack/Slash) and Yanick Paquette (Swamp Thing) have conjured up a transition issue that is perfect as both a send off to the Grayson title and a foundation for the new Nightwing series. 5/5 Eskrima Stick.
New Super-Man is the DC Comics version of Marvel’s Totally Awesome Hulk in the sense that the powers of a well-known superhero are injected into what was formerly a powerless and very ordinary Chinese man. In the case of Kenan Kong, he is a self-infatuated bully who accidentally takes a stand against the notorious Chinese super-villain Blue Condor. Kong volunteers for experimentation that could leave him with Superman’s powers, which is not unlike how Wade Wilson became Deadpool or Dr. Manhattan gained his powers in Watchmen.
As an origin story, writer and Superman alum Gene Luen Yang doesn’t do anything earth-shattering or uniquely different, but there’s enough there to pique your interest. The very last page is a huge letdown though since it leaves you with the burning question of, “Why does China need their own version of an already well-established superhero?” The artwork by Forever Evil’s Richard Friend and Batman: Arkham Knight artist Viktor Bogdanovic is loaded with bright colors, slick line work, and layouts that are polished to artistic perfection, but it does make you wonder what a dirty, gritty, and colorless Superman comic would be like.
What the fuck is this shit? The art looks like the comics from the cub scout magazine Boy’s Life back in 1994. The story is dry; they made no attempt to modernize the environment or vibe of the story. It all feels like it came out the day after the show got cancelled–however many decades ago that was. I wanted to quit after the 3rd page, but I continued.. just in time to see the 6 Meek Mill Man hitting a punching bag, and the sound effect they chose to use is “FAP”. It 2016, the age of the internet meme, you chose FAP?! 7 TIMES!!??
Who was in charge of that decision? I bet they still have a Myspace account. This doesn’t feel like someone in modern times is telling us the story of the Six Million Dollar Man. This feels like someone unearthed an ancient tomb with a Six Million Dollar Man scroll gripped in the hands of the corpse, blew the dust off and sold it. 0.5/5 Mummified Old Ass Bibles.
Headline: Center of the Universe. The Planet Oa has been destroyed. The Guardians and Green Lantern Corps are nowhere to be found and Warworld, powered by the yellow fear of Parallax, has taken over under the leadership of Sinestro and his followers. Meanwhile, in parts unknown, Hal Jordan is in danger of losing himself to the very force he wields. In a desperate attempt to bring order back to the galaxy, he channels his infamous will power into forging what may very well be the final Green lantern ring… Thanks to an old-timey radio voice, twenty repetitive pages have been condensed down to a mere five sentences and you no longer have to read Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps Rebirth #1. This is your humble Reverend Ryan signing off…
Almost… In any case, as I said above, most of the story by Robert Venditti (X-O Manowar) comes across as overplayed. From about the second panel of the third page, we get it. But, as this is an origin story in some sense, anyone new to the title is brought up to speed on roughly 60-years of history; so, there’s high marks in that respect. Most of the major players are referenced in one fashion or another, though not much more is presented to set up the future of the title. This is definitely a case where “less is more”, meaning less back story and more foreshadowing would have made Green Lantern Great Again. What does save the day, however, is the wonderful work of artist Ethan Van Sciver (The Flash) and colorist Jason Wright (Batgirl). These two pen pals create a visceral visual vanguard of vibrancy, almost in spite of a lack of motion or action. From panel to panel, the detail and color palate go a long way in driving the ideas, more so than what is espoused through the dialogue. 3/5 Bibles.
You know what court procedurals [like Law & Order] need? Superheroes and Superpowers!
Why? So I won’t fall asleep watching from dry suspense.
Why did I bring this up when I’m suppose to be talking about Civil War II #3? One, I have ADHD. Two, the screwhaven is the primary setting for this issue. Instead of battling out differences the old fashion way of fighting and shooting Lazer Rays and Cosmic Beams at each other, Tony Stark (aka Iron Man) and Carol Danvers (aka Captain Marvel) settle their latest conflict in the courtroom. Even though this issue of CW2 has the Hulk on a rampage–with half of Iron Man’s body in one hand standing over the bodies of Marvel’s greatest heroes–this cover is just a “Vision” of things to come, if a decision is not made.
Unfortunately it seems Bruce Banner has already made the decision for everyone without discussing it with the rest of the Superhero community–except one person. In this ish, not only has Banner deciding the fate of our favorite Mean Green Monster but also the verdict of the one person he trusted to help him carry out his decision. Arguably wilder, the new Inhuman, Ulysses, is not the only one who gets a glimpse into the future; Tony Stark discovers something about Ulysses that even has this “Genius Futurist” saying *Q-Tip voice* “Oh My God.”
At first I had my doubts about having a sequel arc of Civil War. I mean, how do you create another masterpiece of Comic Book narratives that could live up to the hype, especially when it seemed no more than promotion for Captain America: Civil War. But thankfully this story is really beginning to pick up. Every issue has had me at the edge of my court seat… wondering if Lenny Briscoe would show up Matt Murdock. 3.5/5 Bibles.