Kong of Skull Island is a dizzying, messy thing. Not bad; just messy. You should know that going in. The art can be very busy at times. The clutter reflects a nervous energy permeating every scene as the threadbare peace between the Atu people and the Tagu people weakens. However, the Kong tend to blend into a confused haze of ape homogeneity. As a result, the writing frequently has to call out which of several Kong is active on panel. Artist Carlos Magno seems to struggle with conveying emotions in his pencils. It hurts the tone when a weeping protagonist, beaten down by the weight of events, looks like they're caught mid-sneeze. It's a persistent problem with the mostly attractive art. Some of it is mildly confusing as it leaves you trying to interpret facial expressions based on context and speech balloons. Most of it is amusing in its inappropriateness. Additionally, Magno isn't the strongest of sequential artists. Consecutive panels sometimes seem unrelated in composition. He breaks up pages with abrupt and confusing angles that make the story a little hard to follow at times. There are some strengths. Magno shines in scenes of even the mildest action. He uses kinetic line work with a tremendous amount of detailed, almost woodprint-like hatching to constantly engage your eyes. And he isn't stingy with background details.
Save for the already mentioned clumsily clarified Kong confusion and a little speech about humanity's drive to order a disorderly universe, Kong of Skull Island isn't really served by the preponderance of dialogue. I would actually be interested to see an issue of Kong uncluttered by talk. It isn't like the words add much to the book. It feels frantic in a way that makes some of the action and plot hard to follow. James Asmus appears to want to write a large cast of characters, but doesn't want to really focus on them. Scenes come and go with little effect on the plot. There's a fistful of subplots that don't meld properly. It's hard to feel any weight in any of the scenes because they are so flimsily strung together.
If you're here for the human drama, you're out of luck. There's plenty of humans and tons of drama. But it all feels so petty when the world looks to be falling apart around our characters. If you want giant monster fights, you're only going to get a little of that. There are an almost comical number of panels where the Kong just sit in the background, waiting to get in the game. None of Kong of Skull Island #2 is bad. The highs just aren't as high or consistent as I feel they could be.
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Kong of Skull Island #2 Writer: James Asmus Artist: Carlos Magno Colorists: Brad Simpson Publisher: BOOM! Studios Price: $3.99 Format: Mini-Series; Print/Digital