After a slight break from the character, IDW returns with a new ongoing for the King of the Monsters set in the same universe as their previous Godzilla Kingdom of Monsters series. This new ongoing is taking a more character driven approach, under writer Duane Swierczynski and artist Simon Gane, and while this first issue isn't ground breaking... it shows promise for future comics for the new series.
In terms of the plot, the issue starts with Kumonga interrupting a wedding in Mexico. Many are killed. The groom, Urv, attempts a counterattack using some nearby gas, but is unsuccessful in hurting the giant spider who ventures further into the city. More attacks are happening throughout the world by Rodan and Battra, while Godzilla descends upon Washington D.C., recently reconstructed. In the city is Boxer, ex-British Special Forces, who as an acting bodyguard for a young girl. Things get complicated when the building they are is attacked by Godzilla, as the two must now escape.
The story here is mostly about development for what's to come. It sets up some of the chess pieces for later comics, in this case the characters Urv and Boxer,
while giving decent action backdrops for each. The pacing is a little slow in the middle, partly due to a few flashback frames, but is otherwise well structured. The ending ties together with the start of the book as well, giving it a nice sense of self contained continuity. Speaking of, for those curious, the comic has little if any reference to the previous Godzilla Kingdom of Monsters series. In fact, just knowing that Godzilla destroyed Washington previously and kaiju are all over the world will setup the backbone of the story.
As for the art, it's handled by Simon Gane, who worked on the Rodan focused Godzilla Legends #2. The art is good overall, but uneven. The monsters generally look good, although Godzilla himself looks fantastic. Unlike the earlier work by IDW, Gane opts for using the now classic Heisei series design (1989-1995). This includes that overall build of the character and also the distinct double row of teeth that was unique to that design. The level of detail placed in Godzilla is at times nothing short of extraordinary. In particular there is a close up of Godzilla toward the end of the comic where the amount of pencil work that went into sketching is tremendous and deserves kudos. However, for as great as Godzilla is, the human characters are drawn with much less finesse. It's a catered art style, but the attention to detail for the human cast is ultimately night and day compared to their monster counterparts.
In terms of the covers, Arthur Adams is back from his work on the Godzilla Legends covers to do one for the King of the Monsters himself. Adams' design for the character is very different, almost cobra-like in the mouth, but harks back to the Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack (2001) look of the monster. One of the alternate covers shows an extended view of this picture, which also displays one of the Mothra Larvae. The other covers are good, although the one by Ryan Kelly is especially nice with a great sense of scale and posing of the two characters in the frame.
Overall, the comic was a good start, although it will take an issue or two to truly gauge if this concept will pay off. The more character driven focus is much appreciated, though, giving more weight to not only the comic but also for the collateral damage of the monster's actions to raise the stakes.