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Kong: King of Skull Island (2004)
Fiction Review by The Gravedigger

Kong: King of Skull Island (2004) This incredibly cool book from Dark Horse Press more than makes up for the inferior sequel SON OF KONG and the 70's remake. Created and Illustrated by Joe DeVito and Written by Brad Strickland with John Michlig, this novel tells the story of how Carl Denham's son, Vincent, returns to Skull Island in search of his long lost father twenty-five years after the events from KING KONG.Vincent recruits Jack Driscoll, who has remained a family friend (and who is still married to Anne, who wisely stays behind), and with his ship they venture to that mysterious island. They encounter some new dinosaurs not seen in the movie, such as the sea-going creatures like the Mososaurs-and also meet up with the natives, who aren't very happy that these white guys have returned. At one point Vincent becomes ill-and is taken care of by the local witch woman-and Driscoll becomes lost in this series of ancient underground tunnels that seem to span the island. He realizes this is how the islander's ancestors must have traveled about, before they constructed that huge wall. And that wall with the huge door wasn't constructed to keep Kong out-it was to keep the dinosaurs away and let Kong IN.There is also another story going on, of events that happened over a hundred years ago when another ship had been stranded on the island. Back then there was more than one Kong (what the ape-like creatures are called)-and this tale goes on to explain how Kong's parents were killed and why he's so furious with the natives. There's also a terrible dinosaur called GAW, basically a giant mutated veloceraptor that is able to control its smaller brethren. Some of the natives start worshipping it as a god (the start of them sacrificing humans outside the wall). The dinosaurs on skull island aren't exactly the dinosaurs of 75 million years ago---they've evolved into the creatures that no exist on Skull Island and this creature is one of them.Gaw is also the mortal enemy of King Kong because it has killed his parents and had nearly slain him, so there's a final confrontation between the two behemoths, which is a nod to KING KONG vs. GODZILLA
And Vincent Denham finally solves the mystery of what happened to his long lost father-and what happened to King Kong's body after it had fallen off the Empire State Building. Carl Denham took it back to Skull Island with him because that's where Kong belonged.KONG: KING OF SKULL ISLAND serves as both a sequel and a pre-quel to the 1933 movie and definitely got my blood flowing for the upcoming Peter Jackson version (which takes place in the 30's).
The ample illustrations of Kong in action are beautifully done-I just wish there were more of them.If you're a fan of KK then you've got to get this book.

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