Doubtless on paper, James Asmus’ idea of spending an entire twenty-two page periodical on a “Kong verses Kong” battle “as they tear through Skull Island, fighting to the death” seemed like a good one. But whilst the pair of battering and biting giant-sized hair-covered heavies must have provided this comic’s audience with more than a modicum of pulse-pounding enjoyment, the two towering apes’ bout of fisticuffs soon arguably becomes something of a pugilistic bore, which even the bizarre introduction of a flock of screeching Pteranodons can’t help spice up. In fact, it’s quite frustrating as to the contrived lengths the Harvey Award-nominee’s narrative seems to go in order to keep the combatants persistently swinging at one another, or at the very least attacking something.
For starters, having seemingly concluded that Valla’s infinitely more savage opponent has the upper hand, especially once armed with the sharp-pointed rib-bone of a previously fallen foe, the script has the facially-disfigured brute’s baby primate suddenly scamper away in terror and inadvertently attract the hungry attention of some flying reptiles. These pterosaurs, quite understandably take flight after their prey, and in doing so fortuitously distract the Exile’s ‘victorious’ adversary just long enough to allow Ewata’s trained Kong to kick the heavily-scarred beast into a nearby fast-flowing river and allow their ‘gladiatorial match-up’ to be significantly lengthened. Such coincidental happenstances downright plague this pyblication’s drawn-out storyline, and even go so far as to have artist Carlos Magno dynamically pencil the huge leather-winged lizards swooping down upon their petrified little fur-ball of a meal with outstretched talons, simply to provide the two “enormous gorilla-like” apes something with which to swat aside in their grisly gusto to pummel one another to death.
Quite possibly the most disconcerting sub-plot to Issue Eight of “Kong Of Skull Island” though, is the utterly bizarre decision made by four natives, including their clichéd hook-handed leader, to leave the relative safety of their settlement and scout out some new land which “will be our liberation from those beasts”. Just what makes Aguul believe he can build “a stronghold from where we can tame this place — for our children” in the middle of the behemoth-infested jungle is anyone’s guess, but the decision appears as incredulously stupid as his later conviction that attempting to kill the baby Kong in front of its mother won’t result in the maternal monster effortlessly ripping her son’s would-be murderers apart with her bare hands. Of course, in saving her child, the furious parent once again momentarily takes her eye off of Valla, and inauspiciously pays the penalty by falling down “another mine collapse… or rather, a further cratering of the same faulty tunnel.”