Writer: Alex Cox
Art: Tommaso Bianchi
Colors: James Devlin
Letters: Taylor Esposito
Publisher: Dynamite Studios
Release Date: July 5th, 2023
King Kong: The Great War #2 continues the story of the shipwrecked survivors of the UB-184 submarine fighting for survival on Skull Island, where they have to battle the elements as well as the monolithic monsters of the island, hoping to stay alive until rescue ships arrive. It’s another great issue of the series that captures the spirit of the original King Kong film.
If you’re interested in this comic, series, related trades, or any of the others mentioned, then simply click on the title/link to snag a copy through Amazon as you read the King Kong: The Great War #2 Review.
The first issue of King Kong: The Great War was a revelation. I’ve never really been into kaiju films, but I have to admit, I absolutely love the original 1933 King Kong film. Not the 1976 disco-style King Kong film and not the Peter Jackson magnum opus, only the 1933 film. When I saw it as a kid, it terrified me. This mysterious island filled with cannibalistic natives, raging dinosaurs and King Kong reigning over the island, the size of a skyscraper, randomly showing up to eat or smash some of the natives. When I first watched the film on a late night horror show (hosted by a half-drunk guy dressed as a vampire and doing used car commercials during the breaks), I broke into a sweat when the men (and beautiful Fay Wray) arrived at the island. I got the same feeling reading King Kong: The Great War #2. As the men press onward, hiking across the island to higher ground, nature itself seems to be against them and I found myself holding my breath at points, wondering what was going to happen next.
Writer Alex Cox puts us in the shoes of the book’s protagonists. Even though we know a lot about Kong and Skull Island from dozens of films, shows, and other comics, there’s still the feeling of not knowing what’s in the next forest, or the swamp just ahead. We’re in a totally alien environment where you can be attacked from the air, on the ground or even below the ground, and all you have is a rifle, a pistol or a knife to save you from oblivion. We don’t learn much about the imperiled main characters of the story and we don’t need to learn much about them. All we know is that they were hardened soldiers, fighting in World War One before being shipwrecked here. We get flashes of insight into the Captain, who struggles to stay strong and in control during this crisis. But as with most Kaiju work, it’s all about the monsters, and this issue (and last issue) never disappoints in delivering the goods.
Tommaso Bianchi’s art on King Kong: The Great War #2 brings Skull Island (and its inhabitants) to life. The jungles feel smothering and when the characters are trudging through a swamp, you can almost feel the clammy mud on your feet and the sweltering humidity in the air. Each creature that appears is more terrifying than the last. It makes the book wonderfully look like some old lost EC Comic in places.
Whether you’re a Kaiju fan or not, pick up King Kong: The Great War #2 (as well as issue #1). It’s a master class in building tension and how to handle monsters in stories. Attacks are swift and merciless, danger is always present and the book has a relentless tension throughout. Highly recommended.