Up from the depths, thirty stories high… breathing fire! His head in the sky! But how would the world deal with the actual devastation created by a war of giant monsters? Probably not so well… Your Major Spoilers review of Godzilla: Cataclysm #1 awaits!
Previously in Godzilla: Cataclysm: With a purposeful grimace and a terrible sound, he pulls the spitting high tension wires down. Helpless people on a subway train scream bug-eyed as he looks in on them. He picks up a bus and he throws it back down as he wades through the buildings toward the center of town. Oh no, they say he’s got to go! Go go Godzilla! Oh no, there goes Tokyo! Go go Godzilla! History shows again and again how nature points up the folly of men…
THE WORLD THAT WAS
We open with a lovely take on the endless combat of kaiju movies, a first-hand account from a survivor about what it was like in the dark days when Biollante, King Ghidorah and Dax Shepherd raged across the world. Some believed them to be gods, others to be devils from beyond, but either way, giant monsters shooting fire and radioactive blasts in their city meant the end of human civilization. The art in this sequence is really impressive, by the way, and the battle sequences are all colored in deep reds that enhance their horror, but when we shift to the story’s present day, we find ourselves in a world of muted grays and greens, the better to show the ruined landscape in which the survivors live. We follow a raiding party out into the ruins of the city (heavily implied to be Tokyo, but Bunn and Wachter are pretty subtle about that aspect), leading to some nice imagery, including a group of people standing in a massive Godzilla-footprint crater. There’s a little foraging about plant growth that might be important later, but for the most part their foraging goes well, until one of their number is suddenly attacked by unseen forces, putting everybody on the run.
THINGS GET WEIRD
Where it all goes off the rails is the discovery that the “unseen forces” are enormous insectoid creatures, which then get attacked by the foreshadowed vines, and then… Well, the book isn’t called “Survivors In The Wilderness,” Faithful Spoilerite. I have to say, I like the way the reveal at the end of the issue is handled, keeping our titular monster as a remote force of nature rather than try to tell a story from his perspective. Bunn gives us realistic consequences of kaiju, while Wachter shows us the unrealistic massiveness of the monsters on the prowl, including keeping the “likenesses” of the legendary monsters true. (That may be the weirdest praise I’ve ever given a comic book.) My biggest problem with the book come in the deliberate pacing: After a big battle sequence, spend the bulk of the issue building tension about whether or not that kaiju might return, when the title and premise of the book declare that they must. I admit that this is less a valid complaint and more my personal preference on how to construct the story, but my enjoyment of the issue was affect nonetheless.
THE BOTTOM LINE: INTERESTING, BUT BRIEF
All in all, this is an interesting story, one which gives us an interesting take on what it would REALLY be like to live in a world filled with giant monster attacks, and one that honors the Godzilla stories that have gone before in manners both obvious and subtle. Godzilla: Cataclysm #1 takes familiar playing pieces, but changes the entire field of battle, and gives us a starting point that really makes me want to read more in this world, earning 3 out of 5 stars overall. Also, the most important bit: They spelled “SKREEE-OOONK!” right.