Up from the depths, 30 stories high…SKREEEOOOONK! Take the jump!

Title: Godzilla – Kingdom of Monsters
Writer(s): Eric Powell & Tracy Marsh
Pencils: Phil Hester
Inks: Bruce McCorkindale
Colors: Ronda Pattison
Letters: Cris Morwry
Cover(s): 1) Alex Ross, 2) Eric Powell. Note: Many exclusive retail incentives were created for comics retailers who met quantity quotas for their initial orders.
Associate Editor: Bobby Curnow
Assistant Editor: Carlos Guzman
Editor: Chris Ryall
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Cover Price: $3.99

Previously: The atomic age is personified when original Japanese monster creation Godzilla (Gojira) arrives in movie theaters in the mid 50s. Toho Co. became the home for everyone’s favorite mutant lizard for the next 50 years. The Godzilla license began in American comics with Marvel and has since lumbered from publisher to publisher, demolishing the comics sales landscape with every printed edition. Okay, I exaggerate, but there is at least one really cool issue where Godzilla fights the Avengers!

Timing Is Everything

IDW has put many eggs into the marketing basket, promoting Godzilla’s return to the world of American comics. Announced last July at San Diego Comic-Con, IDW has maintained the push through teaser images, press releases and advertising. I can almost imagine the collective breath being violently expelled from the collapsing lungs of IDW as word came in about the catastrophic series of disasters that transpired in Japan.

While the subtext of Godzilla is more subtle, the physical impact is direct. Sooner or later, the giant lizard is going to curb stomp the face of Japan. Godzilla is the walking personification of geological karmic balance. Mankind indiscriminately unleashes toxins upon the environment and the environment reminds us that it’s been here longer than us for a reason. This planet can be a quiet, brooding beast that will occasionally remind us of life’s inherent fragility.

Real world tragedies aside, let’s enjoy the benefits of enjoying stories in the escapist medium of comics. For 22 pages we can enter into a world where a big giant lizard is pissed off and ready to kick some ass.

Look At The Size of His…Hands!

Godzilla makes his appearance on a beach, off the coast of Japan. The Japanese military industrial complex responds with force. Fighter jets are dispatched to engage the giant perpetrator of rampant destruction. Bullets and rockets amount to gnats for the big G, so the powers that be raise the stakes. It’s time to deploy the nukes. Without giving too much away (yes, I realize the irony of this article being on a site named MAJOR SPOILERS), let’s just say that the nuke is on target and hits the giant beast between the eyes. 3 hours later he’s in Tokyo, deploying his own unique urban renewal endeavor. While he’s at it, he seems intent on addressing Japan’s overpopulation problem. Godzilla is a creature with solutions, people.

This comic is the personification of a monster movie. In that capacity, it satisfies. The sheer scale of Godzilla’s might is somewhat understated. Instead of 3 or 4 fighter jets attacking him, my mind’s eye was envisioning an entire fleet. Since a tactical nuke doesn’t stop our lead character, I’m not sure what else is in the cards to address the big guy’s rampage.

Talk About Your Carbon Footprint!

The book never takes itself too seriously, using some bits of humor (especially through dialogue) to place a well-aimed elbow to the reader’s suspension of disbelief, acknowledging the fact that this is all a bit over the top by design.

Writer Eric Powell recently went on a rant about comics talent to redirect their focus on creator-owned enterprises. Obviously Godzilla is a franchise, but on the other hand, it’s far from a superhero book. Perhaps this dichotomy in ideology is predicated on the exclusion of capes. Regardless, this is a good monster story and it’s always nice to see new work from Powell.

Speaking of nice to see, a big welcome back must be extended to penciller Phil Hester. Phil has built a reputation within the comics industry as an illustrator, but in recent years, has turned his creative focus on writing. He’s been very busy the last few years, turning in solid work for a multitude of publishers. Lord knows where he finds the time in his schedule, but his drawing skills remain as solid as ever.

Bottom Line: If You Like Old School Monster Flicks, This Book is Worth a Look

IDW continues it’s marketing prowess when it comes to obtaining licenses to intellectual property. Godzilla is just the latest example from the current home of G.I. Joe, The Transformers, Star Trek and Ghostbusters, to name just a few. I wonder if we’ll get to see the entire gamut of supporting monsters that have turned up in Godzilla mythology?

If you’re of the age when Sunday mornings included a man in a green rubber suit trampling miniature sets and wading through ponds, then Godzilla – Kingdom of Monsters is worth your attention, earning a respectable 4 out of 5 Stars.

Rating: ★★★★☆

The Author

Mike McLarty

Mike McLarty

A San Diego native, Mike has comics in his blood and has attended the San Diego Comic Con every year since 1982. His comic interests are as varied as his crimes against humanity, but he tends to lean heavily towards things rooted in dystopian themes. His favorite comic series is Warren Ellis’ and Darick Robertson’s Transmetropolitan. Spider Jerusalem is the best character ever devised. Mike realizes those statements will alienate a good portion of his potential audience, but those are the facts. You are unlikely to find a single collector with a better Transmetropolitan art portfolio than the one he has in his possession. He is an Assistant Editor for the upcoming Transmetropolitan Charity Book.

He also occasionally freelances for various other comics websites, which he promotes through his homepage (www.comickarma.com), Twitter and other inherently intrusive forms of social media. Mike firmly believes that the best writers come from the UK. This could be because he’s of Irish descent; not so much based on physical geography as the fact that the Irish like to drink heavily.

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