I’m a huge fan of Godzilla, but I lean heavily toward the defender of the earth incarnation in the original series of films. Yes, Gojira is a masterpiece, but you expect a giant monster to rampage. It’s more interesting when the monster decides to become the guardian of the planet.
Godzilla’s change in attitude actually occurred as a continuity point. Mothra shames the heretofore destructive Godzilla and the malevolent Rodan into switching sides and fighting Ghidrah. Perhaps, like Rogue, a taste of goodness was all the Big G needed.
The Godzilla that arises in IDW’s latest licensed project is not one of the good guys. His first act is to callously snuff a Gamera fan and his sister; the boy would like to ride on an imaginary beast’s back, a standout moment though not a common occurrence in the Gamera flicks. Clearly, the writers suggest that this is not the Godzilla who battled Megalon. In fact, judging by the reactions of the populace, they’ve never seen Godzilla before.
This idea of Godzilla being an unknown quantity isn’t a new one. Godzilla has been reborn in two cycles of films, each cycle holding tenuous threads to the classic series. One of the cycles relied on time travelers to alter Godzilla’s past. This could indeed explain Godzilla’s newfound élan for extermination. It could also explain the latest run of Godzilla films as history attempting to realign itself. In the last Godzilla film, Final Wars, Godzilla and humanity reach a truce, and Ghidorah is back to being the bastard that he always was. None of this warm, fuzzy King Ghidorah nonsense.
It came as a surprise to me that I still found myself enjoying Godzilla. I think that this is because everybody involved brings their passion for the Big G to the book. This comic book looks, feels and reads like a rather hip Godzilla film, and Godzilla his own bad self is a most impressively illustrated monster whose scale and size send shivers up one’s spine. Kudos to Phil Hester, Bruce McCorkindale and Rhonda Pattison who melds just the right shade of gray and green for the scaly King of Monsters and lights up the panels with radioactive fire.
The behemoth arises in the modern, global era of the planet where everything is connected. The Japanese government must first deal with Godzilla, and a more realistic Japanese Self Defense Force attacks with all the gusto they can manage. The situation becomes even more disastrous and Tokyo finds itself once again, for the first time, under Godzilla’s merciless assault.
President Obama guest stars when the United States receives feeds about Godzilla’s assault on Japan, and Eric Powell and his writing partner Tracy Marsh characterize Obama with a sly sense of humor that brilliantly carries the running joke framing the absurdity of the situation.
Significantly, Powell leaves a lot of questions unanswered. Where did Godzilla come from? Why did he resurface? Is this in fact the bona fide Godzilla in the first place and not his alien doppelganger Mecha-Godzilla? I look forward to the answers.