Home > comics, review > ‘Godzilla: Kingdom of Monsters #1 and 2’: A Comics Review

‘Godzilla: Kingdom of Monsters #1 and 2’: A Comics Review

Issue 1 fold-out (aka Awesome)

First things first. Godzilla is AWESOME. When I heard Eric Powell (The Goon) was co-writing (along with Tracy Marsh) a Godzilla comic series I had to give it a try. Godzilla: Kingdom of Monsters is a reinvention of the Godzilla/kaiju (monster) universe. The fold-out variant cover (done by Powell as well) teases a lot of the potential for the series. While a lot of the prior works were focused at some extent on writing of the characters and such that is harder to do with a Godzilla comic, because the key to a great Godzilla destruction, and occasionally the human response. With that, the first two issues of Godzilla: Kingdom of Monsters.

Writing:

As just mentioned it’s harder to evaluate the characterization of a Godzilla work, because the emphasis on the entertainment of destruction. Unlike most of the film incarnations of the series, Godzilla’s rising from the sea isn’t really explained, it just happens. Godzilla also doesn’t immediately posses his atomic breath, which is triggered in this iteration by a nuke being dropped on Godzilla. Knowing Godzilla canon this part of the series is perplexing. Godzilla is supposed to be risen from his sleep (having been a dinosaur of some sort) by nuclear radiation, which is why traditional and nuclear weapons are ineffective against him. But this iteration, lacking that direct correlation with the films in terms of radioactivity, is odd and it can only be assumed that’s the cause of his rising and his immunity to the nuke. But that doesn’t explain why he didn’t already have atomic breath. Oh well. Enough nitpicking.

From that point on it gets better. The human reactions to the kaiju, which starts with Godzilla in Japan, then Angrius in Mexico, and Rodan in Russia, is nice in that it’s utterly futile. While there’s no visuals of corpses, the sense of death is definite. This human futility is done nicely in the case of a fisherman whose two kids are killed by Godzilla and attempts revenge by ultimately fails at the end of second issue getting killed in a building destroyed by Godzilla’s atomic breath. The second issue gives a strong sense of the scale of the series which appears promising. There’s a lot of teases for the reader who wants to see some kaiju fighting, which is imminent in the next issue or so.

Design:

Godzilla: Kingdom of Monsters is the most unique in terms of design of the comics/graphic novels that I’ve reviewed of late. Commonly figures will exist outside of their panels. At other times white space is used to make landscape and focus exclusively on a figure, typically Godzilla or one of the other kaiju introduced. Sometimes this is really effective at creating a scene to fit the use of the space, but most of the time it fills too much of a page with white space and seems kind of amateurish. So, while the change of spatial figures in terms of panels is refreshing, the use of white space for landscape coud’ve been replaced with a full landscape and probably would have been more effective.

Art:

Artist Phil Hester’s art for the series is probably the weakest point of the series. His art can be simply out as cartoon-ish. The colorist (Ronda Pattison) uses bright colors, and out of the visual creative team is probably the strongest point considering warm and effective her color use is. While Hester’s cartoonism this isn’t necessarily bad, it’s not the most fitting style in terms of the narrative for the series. It doesn’t really match the human futility of Powell and Marsh’s narrative. It works in the case of the destruction caused by the kaiju, which of course is the intent of the series. I just wish it could do both.

Final Opinion:

The first two issues of Godzilla: Kingdom of Monsters are a nice start to what will most likely be an entertaining series on the whole. It’s not the strongest Godzilla work, hampered by Hester’s cartoon-ish art and odd white space, but it’s definitely not the weakest (*cough*Manila*cough*). The second issue offers a lot of potential for the standard kaiju action in future issues.  If you’re a Godzilla fan and you have a few extra bucks I’d recommend this to you, but if you’re not you’ll probably not enjoy it that much. I know I did though and I look forward to future issues.

Godzilla is owned by Toho Studios. Godzilla: Kingdom of Monsters is licensed and published by IDW Publishing. It’s co-written by Eric Powell and Tracy Marsh. It’s penciled by Phil Hester and colored by Ronda Pattison.

The series also has several variant covers. I highly recommend both covers done by Eric Powell, though the standard cover for Issue #1, done by comic-painter Alex Ross, is pretty good too.

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