Kong: Gods of Skull Island
Kong: Gods of Skull Island is a 43 page one-shot graphic novel written by Phillip K. Johnson with art by Chad Lewis and published by BOOM! Studios. It is based on Joe DeVito's Kong of Skull Island property and Merian C. Cooper's King Kong, and is the second King Kong comic published by BOOM!, after the 12-issue series Kong of Skull Island. It was released on October 18, 2017.
In this stand-alone Kong story, the year is 1912, and a wealthy humanitarian has traveled to Skull Island with the purpose of civilizing the native Tagatu living there. Although the Tagatu accept his gifts and allow his team to live among them, they’re devoted to their god...and the team soon discovers that Kong is very, very real.
In 1912, explorer James Copland flies his plane into a storm cell, intending to crash and kill himself. However, as his plane enters a nosedive and plummets through the storm cell, he sees an undiscovered island below, inhabited by a seemingly "uncivilized" native tribe. Copland believes he can achieve one last great conquest with his life by civilizing the natives of this island and converting them to Christianity, so he rights his plane and flies back to Sumatra to organize an expedition to the island. As Copland's plane flies off into the distance, a huge ape watches from the jungle. Three months later, Copland's expedition heads to the island aboard two ships, the Contender, captained by Riley, and a smaller ship captained by Cooper. As they approach, they notice strange bird-like creatures watching them while perched on the rocks. Copland informs his crew about their mission on the island, and orders Cooper to approach the island from a different angle in case they encounter difficulty when disembarking. Copland and his crew come ashore, and find the beach populated by what appear to be wooden statues of people. As Copland approaches one of the statues, it seemingly comes to life and grabs his arm. Hodge draws his gun and prepares to fire, but Copland and Mary Talbot tell him to stand down after they realize it is actually a boy wearing wooden armor. The other statues come to life and reveal themselves as disguised natives. One of the natives approaches the boy, who suffers from a facial deformity, and strikes him, seemingly expressing shame for the boy interacting with the outsiders. The expedition's interpreter, Patel, translates what the natives are saying and determines that the boy is named Kupak, and the man who struck him was his father. Bar-Atu, the natives' shaman, approaches the expedition members and warns them that outsiders are not tolerated by the island, and that they will be struck down by "Kong." Patel assumes that the name "Kong" refers to either the islanders' god, or the island itself. An old woman tells Bar-Atu to stand down, and asks the expedition members to follow her into the natives' village. Meanwhile, Cooper's ship encounters a fierce storm as it tries to navigate along the island's rocky coast. Suddenly, the boat strikes something, which reveals itself as a gigantic sea serpent. The beast smashes into the boat and causes it to run aground. As the crew try to get to safety, they hear a deafening roar and look up at a nearby cliff, where Kong is standing.
The next morning, Copland finds Mary sitting among several of the natives, which are known as the Tagatu. Copland asks if she has been reading them Scripture yet, and she replies that she has, but Kupak has told her about the Tagatu religion as well. She says the Tagatu worship a giant that lives in a mountain, which they call Kong. That night, Copland and Mary witness the Tagatu performing a nightly religious ceremony where they tell stories about Kong and smoke a hallucinogenic herb. Copland smokes the herb, and hallucinates as he hears a story of how a powerful magician traveled to the island long ago to challenge Kong. The magician conjured monsters to fight Kong, but Kong destroyed them all. The magician then reanimated the remains of Kong's ancestors and forced them to fight Kong, but Kong again triumphed and put an end to the magician. A century later, the first white men arrived on the island and tried to enslave the Tagatu, but were trapped on the island by the wildlife and then all swiftly killed by Kong himself. After the ceremony has ended, Hodge informs Copland that Cooper and his men still haven't reported, and that there is no sign of their ship. Copland tells Hodge to send some men over the wall to look for the ship and find natural resources, but not to risk the Contender searching for Cooper's ship. At the same time, Cooper and the survivors of the shipwreck are running through the jungle when they are attacked by a huge centipede-like creature, which kills and eats one of the crewmembers. As he flees, Cooper falls over a ledge and into a valley below, where he sees several strange, almost human-like bird creatures perched nearby and staring at him. The creatures begin repeating the name "Kong" as thundering footsteps are heard and Kong himself emerges from the jungle. Cooper fires his pistol at Kong, who is unaffected and simply grabs Cooper in his hand.
One month later, Copland's men are constructing a new building in the village, with the Tagatu having destroyed their previous attempt. Copland tells Riley that he heard a rumor that Riley was planning to take the Contender and search for Cooper's ship, but he didn't believe Riley would be so stupid as to risk their most precious commodity. Riley asks if the ship is worth as much as their men's lives, and says they owe it to Cooper and his crew to find them, dead or alive. Copland loses his patience and tries to yell at Riley, but instead begins coughing violently. Mary tells Copland that Riley is right, and asks to speak with Copland privately. Copland tells Mary that he is terminally ill, and doesn't expect to live for more than another year. She asks if that is why they are still here, but Copland insists they are there to build a legacy on the island. Mary responds by saying the Tagatu only tolerate their presence because of the goods they provide them, and once they run out of resources they will no longer be safe. Copland says that he planned to kill himself when he found out he was sick, and only relented because he believed he could leave a real legacy with this island. Mary says that she wants to leave with Kupak, but Copland says no one will be leaving until another boat comes, because he needs the Contender here and will never be leaving the island. During the religious ceremony that night, Bar-Atu tells a tale of how an evil creature called the Worm kidnapped a young Kong long ago and brought him into the depths of the Earth. The Kong's mother followed the beast to its lair and vanished, so the Tagatu began to worship the Worm instead and became twisted and evil. However, the Kong found her child and killed the Worm. She and her son then traveled deeper underground and discovered an entire colony of Worms, along with a long-lost underground kingdom of humans. The Kongs killed the Queen Worm and freed the civilization from their reign of terror. The underground race of humans still lives, and they too worship the Kongs for saving them from the Worms. Copland, smoking the hallucinogenic herb and slightly drunk, insults the Tagatu religion and tells Kupak to go up and preach his Christian faith to the Tagatu. Kupak obliges and begins to recite Scripture in front of the Tagatu, only to be savagely beaten by his father and Bar-Atu. Mary accosts Copland for nearly getting Kupak killed, but Copland says she should have been proud of Kupak for standing up for his faith.
Later that night, Bar-Atu and a group of soldiers abduct Copland from his tent while he is sleeping and burn down the building Copland and his men had built. They cast Copland, Kupak, and all of the expedition members outside of the wall, where they are left at the mercy of the island's wildlife. As Mary accuses Copland of stranding them all on the island to die, monstrous rat-like creatures emerge from the jungle and attack them. The creatures kill Danny, one of the team members, but Hodge appears and shoots the beasts, causing them to scatter. Hodge reveals that he salvaged all of their guns from the tent as the Tagatu were rounding the rest of them up, and distributed guns to the expedition members. Patel says they should head north, because the Storyteller, the old woman they met on the beach, told him that no predators hunt at that part of the island. Mary asks why that is, and Patel replies that it is Kong's hunting ground. As the team treks through the interior of the island, they pass the corpses of the white settlers that were allegedly killed by Kong in the story. Continuing north, they are terrorized by large insects, a giant snake, and giant carnivorous plants. During a rainstorm, the team takes refuge in the cave, where they find the corpse of Wilkins, one of the members of Cooper's crew, and Cooper himself, now completely out of his mind. Cooper raves that the "birdies" won't hurt him because he has Kong's touch on him, but the rest of them don't. Suddenly, they realize that hundreds of the bird-like creatures they saw as they first approached the island are inside the cave, which promptly fly out and attack them. As Copland and his team run away, Cooper shouts that "Kong sees us all." Copland sees the skeleton of one of the "Worms" inside the cave, but still insists to himself that there is no Kong.
Finally, the survivors of the expedition come upon a huge graveyard littered with the skeletons of Kong's species. As they pass through, hoping to reach a cove on the other side where the Contender is waiting, they notice several of the creatures Cooper saw earlier, which Patel calls "harpies," begin calling out. Just then, a gigantic carnivorous dinosaur runs into the graveyard. Patel tells the others to run just before the behemoth snatches him up in its jaws and bites down. While the beast swallows its meal, it hears Kong's roar thunder in the distance. The harpies begin calling out Kong's name, and shortly afterward Kong arrives. The dinosaur pounces at Kong, but he grabs the beast by the head and slams it to the ground, then brutally tears its skull from its lower jaw and tosses it away. As Kong lifts the dinosaur's bleeding carcass, he turns his head and notices the nearby humans. Believing Kong is about to attack, Hodge tells the others to open fire. Kupak tries to warn them not to fire, but is too late, as Kong leaps through the air and smashes the earth around them. Hodge shoots at Kong, but the mighty ape simply grabs Hodge in his hand and smashes him, then tosses his shattered corpse aside. Kong then approaches the rest of the team and inspects Mary. Kong grabs her in his hand and begins to carry her away. Copland draws his pistol and fires at Mary with it, believing he can save her from a fate worse than death. His bullets only strike Kong's hand, and Kong pulls his hand away and stares down at Copland before carrying his new bride back to his mountain lair. The surviving expedition members carry Copland with them to the Contender, which is waiting off the coast just past the graveyard. As Copland is dragged to the ship, leaving Mary at Kong's mercy, he finally accepts the fact that Kong is real after all.
- King Kong
- Sea Serpent
- Giant Centipede
- Rat Creatures
- Giant Snake
- Man-eating Plant
- Theropod Dinosaur
Weapons, vehicles, and races
Staff role on the left, staff member's name on the right.
- Kong of Skull Island created by Joe DeVito
- Written by Phillip K. Johnson
- Illustrated by Chad Lewis
- Colors by Dee Cunniffe
- Letters by Ed Dukeshire
- Cover Jeremy Wilson
- Variant covers Tyler Jenkins
- Variant backcover and credits page art Chad Lewis
- Special thanks to Dannie Festa, John Leonhardt, Alex Galer, and everyone at World Builder Entertainment
- Designer Kara Leopard
- Editors Cameron Chittock & Dafna Pleban
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