|Monsterverse graphic novels|
Kingdom Kong is a graphic novel prequel to Godzilla vs. Kong and sequel to Skull Island: The Birth of Kong written by Marie Anello, illustrated by Mohammad Yazid (credited as "Zid"), and published by Legendary Comics on April 6, 2021. It is one of two graphic novel prequels to the film, along with Godzilla Dominion.
In 2021, Monarch recruits five of its best pilots to help lead a mission into the Hollow Earth under Skull Island. One of the pilots is Audrey Burns, who is deeply scarred after a disastrous battle against the bat-like Titan Camazotz two years before. When a storm plunges Skull Island into darkness, Camazotz returns to claim its new kingdom, forcing Audrey and the other pilots to join forces with Kong against the evil Titan and his swarm of minions.
A sequel to the graphic novel Skull Island: Birth of Kong and a prelude to the film Godzilla vs. Kong, the upcoming Kong prequel graphic novel, will follow a group of highly skilled military pilots gathered together on Skull Island to see who has ‘the right stuff’ to take on a dangerous mission into the hollow earth. One of the pilots, Audrey, is haunted by the memories of a monstrous clash with one of Godzilla’s titanic rivals that left deep scars. When Skull Island is attacked by Camazotz, a bat-like Titan, Audrey must to come to terms with her inner demons, and finding his home newly threatened, Kong must rise to face this usurper that would plunge the world into perpetual night. Kingdom Kong is written by Marie Anello with art by ZID (Legendary Comics’ Skull Island: The Birth of Kong; Trick ‘r Treat: Days of the Dead; Spectral: Ghosts of War)
This graphic novel was first alluded to at a Los Angeles Comic Con panel in 2019 when Legendary revealed the first look at the comic's antagonist: the giant bat Titan Camazotz. Mohammad Yazid, or "Zid" as he is credited, was confirmed to be returning as the comic's artist after illustrating Skull Island: The Birth of Kong. Another look at Camazotz was posted on Twitter during Legendary's Monsterverse Watchalong event in March 2020. During a May 20 digital WonderCon event, Legendary confirmed that Marie Anello, writer of "Fifteen Minutes or Less" from the Shout Out anthology, would be writing the Kong-centric graphic novel and that it would follow an F-35 pilot as the main human character. Several panels from the comic were shown, revealing new images of Camazotz, Kong, the scrapped Icarus Tigris creature from Kong: Skull Island, and the character Houston Brooks.
In 2019, at Camp Pendleton South, a voice over a loudspeaker informs Monarch G-Team pilots to report to hangar 3, as Operation Carlsbad will commence at 02:00 hours, with all personnel converging on San Diego. One of the pilots, Audrey Burns, gets her gear from her locker only for her friend and colleague Captain Tam Nassar to ask her what's taking so long. Audrey responds that Tam seems eager to get in the air, but Tam says that's rich coming from her. They jokingly ask Audrey if she's going to get them in trouble again or follow protocol, to which Audrey responds it's not her fault they can't keep up. Tam tells Audrey just to make sure she keeps an eye out for her fellow pilots, and Audrey replies that she always has their back.
In 2021, Audrey is now in an Osprey flying over international airspace. She is accompanied by fellow G-Team pilots Gibson, Diggs, Zuniga, and Nomura. The four discuss what their mission might be, with Nomura joking that he is Monarch's best pilot and the others are there to learn from him. Audrey butts in, saying they are all skilled pilots, and Nomura responds he is aware of everyone's credentials, especially Audrey's. Gibson echoes this sentiment, but says she hears Audrey hasn't been in a cockpit in two years. The Osprey lands on Skull Island, where Colonel Johanna Edwards introduces herself to the pilots. During a briefing, Edwards says they are no doubt familiar with the press release about Monarch's new Head of Intrastellar Exploration, Corporal David Lind. She says she has been tasked with assembling a team for him, as he plans in a year to undertake a mission once thought impossible: explore the Hollow Earth. She then introduces Chief Officer Houston Brooks, who takes over the briefing. He says that Lind is currently in Washington, D.C., so he is here to bring them up to speed in his place. Showing them a holographic map of Skull Island, Brooks points out a cave which he says is miles above a vortex that leads to the Hollow Earth. He says they found this entrance sealed in 2012. Diggs says he thought the only known entrances to the Hollow Earth were in the Marianas Trench and Antarctica, and Edwards responds that this entrance is considered classified. She says that a permanent base has been established on Skull Island to study this vortex and its effects on the island. Zuniga then asks why Lind needs pilots, and Brooks replies that it is because they are going to fly right through it. Edwards interjects that they are waiting on a seismology report, but Brooks promises it is coming. Edwards continues by saying that drilling into the cavern is to begin immediately, and that Corporal Lind will man a scout vessel through the vortex and directly into the Hollow Earth. Once contact is established, the pilots' team would follow Lind through and establish a base camp on the other side. Brooks says that first the pilots must prepare for the G.I.B.: the Gravitational Inversion Boundary, an electrostatic membrane that separates their reality from the Hollow Earth. An operative informs Brooks that he is needed at site F9, so he asks Edwards to take back over the briefing. She says they don't know much about the G.I.B., but that Lind thinks Monarch aircraft can pass through it with the proper modifications. Once the pilots are through though, she says, it will be an entirely different world that they will have to navigate, Titans and all. Therefore, Edwards says, they need Monarch's best pilots for the job. She warns them that training for the mission will be brutal, and states that they will choose a leader for the mission based on their performance. She dismisses the pilots by telling them to bring their A-game, and says they have been provided with complete dossiers about the island. Gibbs interrupts by asking about the biggest threat to the mission: Kong.
Brooks, meanwhile, meets with Delgado elsewhere on the island and asks what the news is. Delgado responds that the storm is on the move. Brooks says that the drill team will have to get moving, then. Two soldiers, Wallace and Cooper, keep watch nearby. Brooks thinks to himself about how his life seems to revolve around Skull Island, and how every time he thinks he understands it, some new disaster pulls him back in. While Brooks was still stationed in China, a superstorm appeared in the Pacific Ocean, like nothing on record. As far as Monarch can tell, it started after Monster Zero left Mexico. The storm boasts wind speeds of 400 miles per hour, and has air pressure so dense it generates new cyclones every five minutes, with waterspouts reaching the sea floor. It has been raging in the same spot for two years, then two weeks ago suddenly began making its way directly toward Skull Island. Delgado shows Brooks something on a tablet device, and asks if he thinks it's a new Titan. Brooks says it reminds him of something old. He says Dr. Ilene Andrews has been translating some hieroglyphs they found near the vortex which speak of an Iwi legend about a huge storm and a battle against the sun. Wallace and Cooper inform Delgado over a communicator that they are detecting movement. She asks if they need backup just as the two witness a Spirit Tiger moving in the distance. Cooper asks Delgado if she is okay, and she replies that they should be getting out of here. Cooper responds that they are heading back, but the two notice that the giant tiger has disappeared. Suddenly, the Spirit Tiger reappears and attacks the men, killing Cooper and sending Wallace fleeing. The beast continues pursuing Wallace as Brooks and Delgado take off in a chopper to try and rescue him. Wallace begins to pray as the Spirit Tiger prepares to eat him whole, only for Kong to arrive and grab the creature. Brooks watches from the chopper as Kong lifts the Spirit Tiger in his hand, the first time he has seen Kong this close since 1973. Kong has grown triple the size he was back then, and is at least 90 meters tall. Hank Marlow told them Kong was an adolescent at the time, but Brooks hardly believed it. Now he understands, this is what an adult of his species looks like, one that has lived a life in constant battle. Brooks thinks that this is the only way a creature like Kong could have survived with no family or tribe to rely upon, as he watches Kong effortlessly snap the Spirit Tiger's neck and toss its carcass aside. Kong cracks his knuckles, as Brooks remarks in his mind that Kong has become the strongest creature on the island. He wonders if Kong knows about the storm or has sensed it yet. Of all of the creatures here, Brooks believes Kong is the only one that could survive it. As Kong walks away, Brooks thinks that being as strong as Kong would be too lonely for words.
In the jungle, Edwards asks Audrey if she is ready to get some exercise. Audrey asks what they are doing here, and Edwards responds that Monarch scientists believe Skull Island's terrain is the closest thing on Earth to the Titans' natural ecosystem in the Hollow Earth. Audrey says that in that case, if she can't cut it here, she won't make it down there. Edwards says she notices Audrey seems distant from the other pilots, but Audrey says they were simply in different graduating classes. Edwards says it wouldn't hurt for Audrey to build trust with the others, but Audrey grimly responds that it could hurt quite a bit. Edwards asks if there has been any news about Captain Nassar, causing Audrey to experience a flashback of Tam calling for backup as their plane is attacked by a Titan. She tells Edwards that Tam is in a coma, and Edwards asks if there's been any change or if she's heard from Tam's family. Audrey says she doesn't talk to their family anymore, and can't blame them. Edwards tries to tell Audrey something, but she says it's time to move out and walks away. As the pilots walk through the jungle, they hear something. Gibson turns and sees a Death Jackal about to pounce on Audrey, but shoots and kills it before it can. Nomura tells the others to stay alert for more of the creatures, while Zuniga tells Gibson to warn them next time. Audrey stares in shock at the Death Jackal's corpse, trying to breathe and calm down. As she does, she flashes back to one of her comrades' planes being attacked. Audrey tells herself she's cracking, and wonders what Edwards was thinking allowing her on this mission when she can't even get in a plane. She thinks to herself that she doesn't deserve a second chance and is just going to get more people killed, as she sees a Mother Longlegs moving through the treetops. She thinks to herself that she is going to freeze up again and fail her team, and angrily tells herself to do something. Finally, she opens fire on the huge arachnid, which promptly crashes to the ground, dead. Zuniga compliments Audrey's shot, but Audrey proceeds to vomit.
That night, Brooks and Delgado are flying over the island in a Monarch chopper. Charlie speaks with Brooks over a communicator, telling him his team needs more data on the vortex and that the higher-ups are breathing down his neck and wanted them drilling last week. Brooks responds that the storm could merge with the storm cell surrounding Skull Island, and if so it could make landfall in minutes, which could present a problem when combined with the recent tremors on the island. Charlie says he just needs an estimate, but Brooks tells him he'll go over his findings later tonight and signs off. Brooks asks Delgado to let the chopper hover as he takes some notes, as Kong bites down on a Mire Squid nearby. Brooks recognizes that Kong knows they've been following him, but for whatever reason hasn't tried to lose them. Brooks was unable to sleep, which is why he had Delgado take him up in the chopper. Kong was not hard to find at his current size, and Brooks wonders if any of his ancestors actually lived long enough to grow that big. If they did, he wonders, how could this one island sustain them. Maybe, he considers, they were never really meant to be here. The same goes for all of the Titans, even Godzilla. As Brooks goes over all of this in his head, Kong sees a Sker Buffalo trapped under a fallen tree and lifts the tree off of it. While Brooks questions the notion that Skull Island was meant to be Kong's natural habitat, a swarm of Psychovultures approaches the chopper, which activates its exterior shock grid. The swarm descends upon Kong, who swings the tree at it. Kong bites down on one Psychovulture, smashing it with his jaws. Delgado observes that Kong is on the ropes and asks if they should intervene, but Brooks says not to as Kong is pretty used to this. A Psychovulture breathes lightning at Kong, who blocks it with the tree, igniting it. He then swings the burning tree at the swarm, killing several Psychovultures, then grabs another and crushes it in his hand. Kong turns to see the Sker Buffalo he rescued earlier has been killed, and regards it sadly. Brooks tells Delgado to return to camp, as he has a report to finish. As the chopper leaves, Brooks thinks that Kong can't stay on the island.
Audrey dreams about her fateful mission in 2019. She is initially in formation with the other pilots, but breaks off when she picks up a creature in infrared. Tam tells Audrey to get back in formation, but her voice cuts out. A creature flies toward Audrey's plane, but she fires a missile that kills it. She reports that the target has been neutralized, but sees that more of the creatures are attacking the other planes. Audrey flies toward them, trying to reestablish communication with Tam. Many of the other pilots have been taken out, while Tam has a visual on the giant Titan leading the creatures. Tam says they're taking their shot, causing Audrey to scream their name before she violently wakes from the dream. Audrey sits in a break room with a cup of coffee, only for Zuniga to enter. Audrey says she couldn't sleep, and Zuniga replies that she couldn't either, as the island gives her the creeps. Zuniga addresses Audrey, saying Diggs and her have been talking about what happened yesterday, and that Diggs thought they should reach out to her. Gibson and Nomura think Audrey is a risk to the mission, but Zuniga says she doesn't necessarily believe them. She says she respects Audrey and her skill, but asks if she's really up to this, because she will not have the team jeopardized over her ego. Audrey says she doesn't have to worry about her pulling her own weight, and Zuniga replies that she will see her at training. Audrey recalls a time where she was at a restaurant with Tam, discussing whether they would be put on the same team. The memory causes Audrey to bury her head in her hands.
Brooks records an audio log as he observes data on the island. He says he must be missing something, since a week ago seismic activity was recorded on the island and a day later the storm moved. The two must be connected, he says. The earthquakes have been regular and growing in intensity since then. Andrews, he says, is following up on the hieroglyphs with the locals. He says they predate every other Iwi work they've found, and that they can't cross-reference them. They speak of the "King of the Deep," the eternal enemy of the sun who seeks to rule an endless night. He wonders if this is some sort of prophecy. Still, he can't hold up the drill team any longer. Washington is putting pressure on Monarch, which is burning through funding. If they wait too long, the storm could block access to the vortex. So, Brooks says he is approving Charlie's team to send a drone to scan for structural integrity and any hazards. He says he isn't sending anyone down there until he understands what's happening to the island. Furthermore, he wonders if Kong is actually the one unbalancing the island, even though he always assumed he was its guardian. Maybe the island is telling them it's time to send Kong back where he belongs, and the sooner they open the cave, the better.
At the training facility, Edwards prepares the pilots for a high-G test, which makes Gibson ask if they are in basic training. They are informed that this test is to simulate the intense speeds and gravitational inversion of the G.I.B. Audrey eagerly says it's time to get started and enters the centrifuge. She remarks that the controls are the same she used at Pendleton South, so Edwards says that must mean she doesn't need a refresher. Audrey responds that it's like riding a bike, and begins the test. At the drilling site, Charlie gets the approval from Brooks to send the drone. He orders his men to set the dynamite and clear the area so that drone can be down there in an hour. One of the men asks if he's worried Brooks will change his mind, but Charlie responds he wants to wrap this up before Kong gets involved. Kong, meanwhile, comes upon a huge cave in the jungle. Back at the training facility, Edwards and the other pilots are impressed with Audrey's performance in the test. As Kong enters the cave, Brooks ponders a phrase from the Iwi legend: "A darkness will cover the world." He wonders if it's predicting the storm making landfall, and if so, that doesn't account for the seismic activity. He also wonders if the "King of the Deep" is underground, and if it's another Titan. He repeats the phrase again: "A darkness will swallow the world. And the King of the Deep will rise and rise... and the sun will die on his tongue." In the cave, Kong sees a painting of what appears to be another member of his kind, with the rest of the painting obscured by vines which he prepares to pull away. Charlie orders the dynamite to be activated, triggering a massive explosion that draws Kong's attention. As the drone descends into the newly-opened cave, a deafening shrieking noise echoes from underground, hurting even Kong's ears. Audrey hears the sound inside the centrifuge and recognizes it as coming from the Titan she fought in San Diego. She panics, reliving the battle. She sees a vision of Tam in a hospital bed, who asks where she was when they needed her. Audrey apologizes as Tam is swallowed by the Titan's jaws, causing Audrey to scream their name in desperation.
The drone descends further into the cave, while Brooks wonders what that noise was. He looks at a monitor and sees that it was a scream from the vortex. He realizes that the storms have merged and the sky has turned dark as he pulls out a file on Titanus Camazotz, asking himself what he has done. In the training facility, Edwards asks Audrey what happened in the test. Audrey says that a supersonic frequency must have glitched the simulation, but Edwards says something is holding her back and she won't admit it. Edwards says she brought Audrey here because she was one of the best pilots she ever trained, and that she was too good to waste her life behind a desk. Audrey responds that Edwards was wrong about her, prompting Edwards to say she heard what Audrey said during the test. She says what happened to Tam wasn't her fault, causing Audrey to break down and insist it was her fault for breaking formation and freezing in action when Camazotz attacked. She says she should have died with the others, and that she can't even call the hospital to ask if Tam is alive or dead. Audrey says she should have declined Edwards' offer, and that she doesn't deserve to fly again. Nomura interjects, saying he lost his mother in San Francisco during the MUTO attack in 2014. He says he should have gotten her out of the house faster, and that he blamed himself for years. Zuniga says half of her unit was destroyed in Boston and that she couldn't sleep after that. Diggs says his commanding officer lost both of his legs in Dallas because he didn't react fast enough. Gibson says her sister was in the United States Navy and had her entire fleet sunk by a Titan, while she could only watch on TV. She says she knows it's hard, but that they all get it. Just then, the ground shakes violently. Edwards contacts Brooks and asks what's happening, and he tells her to get the pilots to hangar 8 and meet him there. Delgado asks Brooks if the drill team has been notified, but Brooks says communications with them have been severed.
At the drill site, Charlie angrily says he's lost contact with the drone, when Kong suddenly approaches. Brooks tells Delgado he was right. The storms and earthquakes are connected, both being activated by the vortex because something has been coming through it. The King of the Deep, Camazotz, can't stand sunlight, so he needs artificial darkness to block out the sunlight before he can emerge. Once it does, he rises to claim his new kingdom. As Brooks says this, Camazotz bursts out of the ground in front of Kong, who beats his chest and roars at the Titan. At hangar 8, Brooks briefs the pilots. He says there is an enemy Titan on the island, and that they need them to run interference so they can rescue the drilling team techicians. Since Audrey is the only one with combat experience against Camazotz, Brooks asks her to lead the attack. Nomura reassuringly puts his hand on Audrey's shoulder, telling her that they're ready when she needs them. Edwards tells Audrey they don't have enough firepower to take down Camazotz, and that their objective is only to focus on his minions and protect the evacuees, and to let Kong handle the rest.
Kong throws a large canister at Camazotz, but the bat Titan emits a supersonic shriek that causes Kong to hold his ears in pain. Camazotz then lifts Kong into the air with its talons and drops him. The pilots close in on the battle, while Camazotz's swarm prepares to meet them. The planes engage in a dogfight with the giant bats, while Camazotz glides down toward Kong. Kong grabs Camazotz by the horns and slams him on the ground, but Camazotz wraps his tail around Kong's arm and begins lifting him again. Audrey says that Kong can't keep this up and that they need to help him. Gibson says that Edwards told them it isn't their fight, but Audrey responds it's all of their fight and that she can't let Kong do this alone and that she needs her team with her. The other pilots agree and get into formation with Audrey, opening fire on Camazotz. Camazotz calls his minions to deal with the pilots, after which Kong grabs him from behind. Camazotz breaks free of Kong's grip and flies high into the air, heading directly for Audrey's plane. As she realizes her comms are down, her navigation is offline, and she has lost contact with the others, Audrey begins to despair. But then she remembers Tam and tells herself that she won't let what happened happen again. She declares they are going to win as her plane breaks the sound barrier and flies directly past Camazotz's face, blinding him. Camazotz crashes to the ground, giving Kong the opportunity to repeatedly pummel him with his fists. He drags Camazotz toward the crater he emerged from, then lifts him up by the neck and punches him directly in the face, sending him falling back into the crater with his swarm in pursuit. With her plane losing altitude, Audrey ejects and is caught in the palm of Kong's hand. She thanks Kong, and says that she just wants to say they have his back. Kong snorts in response, and she replies that he is welcome. The pilots then all return to the hangar together, victorious.
Brooks addresses Dr. Andrews, saying it's finally time for him to retire. He tried years ago, but when the cave was uncovered in 2012, he decided to stay at Monarch for a while. He says he's getting sloppy, and that his poor judgement nearly spelled doom for everyone. Andrews says there's no way he could have known, but Brooks says he should have exercised more caution and known to trust the local legends about Titans more. Now, he says, the storm has overtaken Skull Island and become anchored in place by the vortex. Andrews responds that the entire ecosystem has been completely altered, and says that they've begun evacuating the Iwi, as it's no longer safe for them. Brooks says that just like that, they've robbed the Iwi of their home. He says Monarch has no right to stay there after what they've done, but that they can't leave the vortex or Kong unmonitored. He says he needs someone with a level head who will keep Monarch's people safe, which is why he's chosen Andrews to succeed him. Andrews asks if he is sure, and he responds that she knows Skull Island better than him, and has spent years studying Iwi culture and Titan behavior. Andrews responds that this incident has proven her hypothesis that Kong's status as an apex predator makes him a target for other Titans. If Camazotz would have defeated him, he would have cemented himself as an alpha Titan. Thus, if Kong ever leaves the island, he'll have to face Godzilla. Brooks says that for that reason, they'll have to keep him here as long as they can. He says he has total faith in Andrews, and tells her to talk to their tech experts about keeping Kong secure. Andrews asks about the vortex just as David Lind arrives and greets Brooks. He apologizes to Andrews that his brother Nathan couldn't join them, as he has a book tour. Andrews tells Lind they need to call off the Hollow Earth expedition, but Lind replies that he can't as the U.S. government, NASA, and the United Nations are all depending on the data they recover from it. She says they can't guarantee his safety, but Lind responds that no one's safety is guaranteed when Titans are involved. Brooks further warns Lind that the cave is now a crater, and that the vortex emits massive amounts of seismic energy when breached. Even if Lind makes it through the G.I.B., Brooks can't guarantee the entrance won't rupture in on itself. Lind says that the mission to the Hollow Earth is too important, and that he won't let anything stop him from making the journey, no matter the risk. He then asks Andrews about the flight team that helped defeat Camazotz, saying he wants to meet the pilot who used a sonic boom to blind him. Andrews asks if he means Captain Burns, and Brooks informs him that he approved her request for personal leave, as she had something to take care of back in the U.S.
Audrey stands at the door to Tam's room in the hospital. She knocks, asking if their parents are in. To her surprise, she is answered by Tam's voice, who tells her "Get in here, hotshot!" Audrey then smiles and opens the door.
Back on Skull Island, several Iwi refugees are evacuated on Ospreys. Among them is the young orphan Jia. Kong returns to the cave in the jungle and pulls aside the vines obscuring the rest of the painting. He scowls as he sees that the entire painting depicts his ancestor locked in battle with Godzilla.
Weapons, vehicles, races, and organizations
Staff role on the left, staff member's name on the right.
- Writer Marie Anello
- Art Zid
- Cover Arthur Adams
- Color Assists Syncraft Studio
- Lettering Richard Starkings, Jimmy Betancourt
- Design Comicraft, Tyler Smith
- Editors Robert Napton, Nikita Kannekanti
- Story and Mythology Development Barnaby Legg
- Monsterverse Creative Josh Parker, Katie Aguilar, Brian Hoffman
- Special Thanks Alex Garcia, Jay Ashenfelter, Zak Kline, Brooke Hansohn, George Tew, Makenna Knudson, Jennifer Stewart, Sarah Jarvis, Tracy Brown, Brie Dorsey, Legendary Legal, Legendary Marketing, Spencer Douglas
- The characters Delgado, Wallace, and Cooper are named after original King Kong filmmakers Marcel Delgado, Edgar Wallace, and Merian C. Cooper.
- This comic marks the first canonical appearance of the Spirit Tiger, a creature conceptualized for the film Kong: Skull Island that did not make it into the finished film. Unlike most of the other monsters that were cut from the aforementioned film, the Spirit Tiger did not appear in the previous comic, Skull Island: The Birth of Kong.
- Tam Nassar is the first non-binary character in a King Kong story.
- While the ending of Kingdom Kong shows Monarch evacuating dozens of Iwi from Skull Island, in Godzilla vs. Kong Ilene Andrews states that Jia is the only Iwi who survived the storm that engulfed the island. This apparent contradiction has yet to be explained. Godzilla vs. Kong: The Official Movie Novelization, which is non-canonical, references Kingdom Kong but changes the ending, with the surviving Iwi besides Jia refusing evacuation and "vanish[ing]" shortly afterwards.
This is a list of references for Kingdom Kong. These citations are used to identify the reliable sources on which this article is based. These references appear inside articles in the form of superscript numbers, which look like this: 
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