Review by Evan Brehany

Adorning the first issue’s re-print with a rendition of the Mire-Goji by Alex Ross, GODZILLA: KINDOM OF MONSTERS is now reaching the hands of many who couldn’t get a copy in their local comic book store just because the first issue sold out the first day, which in and of itself is a spectacular occurrence after a historical publicity stunt regarding alternate covers (get your comic book store smashed by Godzilla, art by Matt Frank). IDW, best known for making comic versions of popular films like 30 DAYS OF NIGHT and MACHETE, took the reigns of Godzilla - now in a line starting with Marvel and Dark Horse.

The first thing to realize about this comic book is just that it is a comic book. A lot have a problem with things like Godzilla eating kids and the elderly. Again, this is a comic book. Therefore, to take it as if it was a new film (like what Legendary Pictures is doing) is not a fair way to view the work. It is supposed to be fun. If Godzilla committing such acts are not your cup of tea, then this comic is not for you. Though the idea that it is something the comic book makers are doing to make Godzilla seem “dark” or “hard core” is faulty. The whole comic is just to be fun. Hence why Godzilla is within the first issue is already blasted with a nuclear bomb (which Japan wouldn’t do in the first place due to their policies) and both the Japanese Prime Minister and Barrack Obama are both quoted as saying “You have to be f****** kidding me”. Why take it seriously if things like this are in it?

The artwork is good. Not the best I have seen, kind of reminds me of Cartoon Network’s BEN 10. That is not totally a bad thing, since a good bit of it’s detail (particularly Godzilla first using is nuclear beam) is really great. The last page of the comic is what’s the bad ass thing about it though - Godzilla blasting Tokyo to Hell and back. It is also nice to see that Godzilla is not the biggest thing in the Japanese metropolis seeing how it just make’s Godzilla’s reign all the more ravenous. The Godzilla design for the comic is one which not everyone may like, though I personally like it. It is a good mix of two designs: the general Heisei design and the Finaro-Goji design - the main body is Finaro Goji - the leanness and the size of the dorsal fins show the influence of the Finaro-Goji design (an illustrated 100% accurate portrayal of . The head though is distinctly Heisei, though the pupils occasionally going pure white, conjuring memories of the Sokogeki-Goji suit from GODZILLA, MOTHRA, KING GHIDORAH: GIANT MONSTERS ALL OUT ATTACK.

Other than that, there isn’t that much to talk about. This first issue isn’t so much an issue which sets up the characters as much as an issue which is most likely going to set up the tone. Though I do not doubt the Japanese Prime Minister and Obama are going to be reoccurring characters, I doubt they will be the central human cast. Great job IDW!

Review by Donny Winter

Over a decade has passed since the Godzilla franchise was graced with a successful comic book series, the previous being the relatively well-known Darkhorse Godzilla comics. IDW Publishing, over the past few months, obtained the rights to produce illustrations and stories centered around our favorite Japanese giant monsters like Godzilla, Rodan, Mothra, King Ghidorah etc. The first installment of the series features amazing cover art boasting an upper-panned view of Godzilla breathing his atomic breath while smashing his claws through sky-scrapers, no doubt a bombastic way to introduce the character.

Unlike the previous comic book series, GODZILLA - KINGDOM OF MONSTERS seems to take more of a pseudo-satirical-political perspective when it comes to the portrayal of human characters. For those who are looking forward to a comic book series with believable humans, which we usually are deprived of in the movies, this comic does not boast that. The characters seem as two dimensional as the drawings depicting them since most of the comic focuses on the fear they experience in the wake of a monster attack. Children screaming, elderly people being trampled, sailors wondering what’s going on, militia reacting---typically the same things we see in some of the movies during destruction scenes occurs throughout the first issue. We are even graced with appearances from the Japanese Prime Minister, and a rather blunt rendition of President Barack Obama---both of which end up cussing at some point in the issue. Other than the comic making fun of famous political leaders, we also see a couple political nods to the economic recession and the infamous BP Oil Spill. This piece of work is chocked full of political statements and from time to time it’s quite entertaining.

The main character that shallows the human characters obviously is Godzilla, who I must say is portrayed wonderfully here. While he makes his appearance in the first four pages, it is surprising, spontaneous and attention getting. Much of the imagery depicting him closely correlates with Heisei Godzilla and the Godzilla from GMK. The more shadowed imagery gives him the intimidating feeling the darker personality of GMK Godzilla seemed to convey. Overall, Godzilla seemed scary, destructive and the lovable force-of-nature most of us enjoy seeing.

The art for this issue is okay, though I did notice some inconsistencies especially with the human characters. In the beginning it is difficult to tell how old the male and female are, it can be discerned that they are both young; however some scenes give them facial structures similar to that of late teenagers when they in fact are likely pre-teens judging by their dialogue. Other than that, all the other artwork is superb.

Overall, while the introduction to GODZILLA - KINGDOM OF MONSTERS lacks a significant human arc and has some artistic inconsistencies, the portrayal of Godzilla is well-done and much of the political satire is quite entertaining. Definitely a worthy start to a promising comic book series. Kudos to IDW Publishing!


Recommendation: OTAKU VERSE ZERO

It is amazing how little of a culture you actually know when you are fond of a culture that isn’t your native one. You can spend years watching films like DESTROY ALL MONSTERS, ONMYOJI, and IKIRU and that would be not even the tip of the iceberg - more like trying to shoot at it and barely grazing the tip. Then you could be part of your high school’s anime club and consume sushi, tea, and poppy sticks and it is barely any more. Japanese pop/sub culture is such a large field of interest. Sadly, only a fraction is available to us here in America.

In comes Patrick Macias. Editor of OtakuUSA and author of a lot of books on the subject, and even a presenter of some screenings of Nippon Eiga (along with August Ragone). An intellectual in the field, Macias has made this youtube series which helps give those who cannot truly go to Japan for whatever reasons get a taste of Japanese culture with a bi-lingual Macias going to different places in Japan and taking us through a tour and showing us a lot of eye candy, weather you are an anime otaku or a kaiju loving G-Fan.

I approve of the series. Macias gives us a great look at Japan. Additionally, his knowledge of everything Japanese helps makes sense for those who will experience something of a culture shock. Not to mention the occasional Japanese lesson. Macias is featured along side anime voice actress Yuu Asakawa (of FINAL FANTASY 12 fame) who at times goes with Macias to some of the events and such and sometimes just talks at the Otaku Verse Zero headquarters.

Bottom line, it is a great series - one which every Japanophile should watch. You will learn at least one thing with each episode. Thank you Patrick Macias.

A good episode to start off with for the kaiju crowd.