Capitalizing on Godzilla vs. Kong‘s release, a pair of graphic novels launch this week that provides some background on the Titans’ epic showdown.
Legendary Comics is helping fans prepare for the ultimate battle between Godzilla and Kong with two new graphic novels. Kingdom Kong and Godzilla: Dominion are both launching on April 6th (yes, just a smidge after the film’s debut) and I recently had the chance to give them both a read to let other fans know if they’re worth grabbing.
I’m lumping these both together because, despite being two completely different stories, they really complement each other in terms of setting things up. Also it’s my site and I do what I want….
Let’s kick off with Kingdom Kong, which I think serves as the most direct influence on the upcoming film that fans will want to check out. Mostly because it gives us a look at what Skull Island has been like in the 50-ish years since they explored the island in Kong: Skull Island.
During that period of time (the end of the Vietnam War), the organization Monarch was still in its infancy and mostly in the shadows. The comic, which takes place after the events of Godzilla: King of the Monsters, shows how busy their scientists have been in documenting the monsters of the island and keeping tabs on Kong himself. They’ve established a base of operations and are working on a new project to further explore the land of Monsters within the Hollow Earth.
Writer: Marie Anello
On-sale date: April 6, 2021
The new project, headed up by Houston Brooks (played by Corey Hawkins in Skull Island, with the older version of the character played by Joe Morton in King of the Monsters), calls for some experience pilots. They’ll be needed as they break through the barrier separating the monsters’ world and our own. This brings Audrey, ostensibly the main character in the story, to the island.
A skilled pilot, she’s looking to get “back in the saddle” after a horrible encounter with one of Godzilla’s rivals that left her best friend/wingmate in a coma. Their scientific mission is thrown into jeopardy, however, when the ancient Mayan god, Camazotz, a bat-like Titan emerges. Not only will Kong have to duke it out with his greatest foe yet, but Audrey will have to overcome her fear/trauma to help him along the way.
It’s a fairly straightforward story, but its hints and teases really offer a good look at the state of Kong and his home as we head into the new film. Godzilla vs. Kong dives deep into the “hollow earth” aspect and Monarch’s work on the island, so getting glimpse of that work in this comic does a great job setting the stage. I also really love how Brooks has become a connecting thread/character for the MonsterVerse and to see him still working within this world, though I was bummed he didn’t pop up in the film.
The new character, Audrey, is interesting enough, though I don’t think enough time was really spent on her story to make it resonate. I love the idea of following more characters who’ve had to deal with the aftermath of Monsters rising up across the world, but the graphic novel doesn’t seem to give her enough room to be fleshed out. Now that we’ve seen the film, her appearance in the comic itself feels…odd.
It would have made a bit more sense to have given Rebecca Hall’s Dr. Ilene Andrews some sort of arc to give us more insight into her character and relationship with Jia. Even so, it’s still a pretty fun comic that gives us a better idea of what Kong has been up to all this time before we meet him again in the latest movie.
Writer: Greg Keyes
Artist: Drew Edward Johnson
Colorist: Allen Passalaqua
On-sale date: April 6, 2021
Godzilla: Dominion, however, is a little bit different. Here, there are NO human characters in the story and it’s presented entirely from Godzilla’s perspective. He doesn’t talk, obviously, so there’s a narrator who guides us through Godzilla’s various encounters.
With his normal home/nesting ground having been destroyed in King of the Monsters, Godzilla is in search of a new place to rest his tail between keeping the other monsters in line. That’s pretty much his job now, having asserted himself at the top of the chain, Godzilla is spending his time making sure the other Titans don’t destroy the planet.
This, obviously, puts him into conflict with a handful of monsters, as they all seek out their own food and shelter to survive in this new world. This means Dominion is pretty much seeing Godzilla go from one battle to another as he looks for somewhere to finally rest. There’s really not a whole lot of story to go on here.
It’s not necessarily a bad thing, as it delivers on a ridiculous amount of gorgeous art work and monster action. Even so, it felt like it needed just a little bit more to make me more engaged. It’s neat seeing some these new artistic takes on iconic monsters, but without any real story behind it, it’s tough to feel anything about it. Not to mention there really isn’t any sort of connection to the film, Godzilla vs. Kong, that makes it feel like a necessary prelude to the events in the film.
Both of these graphic novels features absolutely stunning artwork and are sure to be a visual treat for all fans of Kaiju/monsters. Sadly, the stories in each are a bit shallow, though Kingdom Kong offers the strongest connection to the new film and helps fill in some gaps.
If you’re a monster movie/Godzilla fan, there’s a good chance you’re going to pick them up anyway. If you’re not entirely on board, you might want to wait until you see these go on sale, or check them out from you local library!