This piece was originally published August 15th, 2011.
Back in April, The Mystery Box took a look at a new Godzilla comic book series called Godzilla Kingdom of Monsters ( check it out here ).
I was very excited to see the return of the “King of All Monsters” to comics again after a long slumber, courtesy of the great folks at IDW Publishing.
Once again, there’s a reason to be cheerful if you’re a fan of Gojira and all things Kaiju. For the last few months, IDW has published yet another stand alone Godzilla title.
It may even be one of my favorites so far.
On the down side, it’s only a 5 issue mini-series and by the time you read this—we’re already at #3—there’s only a couple of issues left, but I recommend going back now and collecting this mini-series.
Godzilla: Gangsters & Goliaths has a completely unrelated story from Godzilla: Kingdom Of Monsters.
It opens with a Japanese Police Detective named Sato, who has been framed for the murder of his partner. From this point the story, which includes ruthless Yakuza gangsters, murderous henchmen, and some brutal John Woo styled violence, takes some nifty twists, turns and gritty back alleyway moments as the reader is carried along Sato’s hellbent mission of revenge. A mission that ends up with the unlikeliest of partners helping Sato.
For myself, this mini-series has the feel of a true Japanese film with the writing by John Layman (of Chew fame) including superbly done flashbacks, insightful Japanese family connections and elements of both Yakuza gangster films and some of my fave Godzilla classics – for instance, the ’60s greats, Ghidorah, The Three-Headed Monsterand Invasion Of Astro Monster seem to almost be inspirations for this series.
As has been the case with the Godzilla: Kingdom Of Monsters series each issue of Godzilla: Gangsters & Goliaths has superb artwork by Unknown Soldier’s Alberto Ponticelli and a number of variant covers including some coveted sketch covers.
At the moment I am waiting to see where the storyline for Godzilla: Kingdom Of Monsters is headed. With its abundance of political, sociological and celebrity based satire plus focusing more on humanity’s way of dealing with monster attacks and how disasters would affect all of us, there has yet to be that much of an all out, fantastic giant monster battle slant.
To be honest, it has been a little depressing and not as much fun as I am hoping for.
Add in an artist switch to using Victor Dos Santos with the latest issue #5 (not an artist I like as much as the former ones for this series, his work has a bit of a loose, goofy quality) and I have to say, while I am patient, I am not enjoying the series quite as much as I wished for, but the potential is definitely there, and I still can’t wait to get each issue. Hopefully, things will quickly take a positive turn as more monsters are introduced to the series.
Thankfully, Godzilla: Gangsters & Goliaths has only rewarded more and more with each issue and sated my need for great Kaiju comic books with touches of classic Manga and Yakuza film enjoyment.
Rumor has it that yet another mini-series will be released soon by IDW with the very promising title of Godzilla: Legends and also in September Godzilla: Kingdom Of Monsters Volume 1, a collection of the monthlies so far, will be out and ready for purchase.
Until then, kudos to IDW once more for taking the chance on Godzilla and providing me with more worthy additions to add to my ever growing pile of Godzilla and friends…