Picked up Gangsters & Goliaths #2 yesterday. My thoughts:
- I was in a bit of a rush, so I just grabbed the first cover I could find, which I think is the Ponticelli version (the one with Sato in the rain and Mothra in the background). Which is a shame, 'cause the one I wanted was the one with the nightclub scene (that was for issue #2, right?). Ah well.
- The comic opens with Sato on a rainsoaked Tokyo rooftop, a gun pointed at the Shobijin's case, staring down Mothra and ordering her to help him. Whoa! Now THAT is an opening!
- Flashback to 12 hours earlier. Sato returns to Tokyo to find his name tarnished and himself a wanted man. But he tires of trying to hide quick and decides to do the last thing anyone expects: waltz right into Police Headquarters and surrender himself. We meet his boss (I'm a little confused whether he's the Chief of Police, or just the Chief of Detectives), Nakamura, who turns out to be a dirty cop on Takahashi's payroll and the rat who sold out Sato and his partner. After Nakamura refuses Sato's offer to do the right thing, Sato is suddenly bust free from prison by Mothra, who tears a hole in the wall and flies off, dumping Sato on a random city street (to the bewilderment of crowds).
- Sato picks up a gun he stashed and returns to a hotel he'd checked into earlier. Turns out he'd had the Shobijin stashed in his coat pocket the whole time (why the heck is he holding them like that?) and that's why Mothra freed him. Sato is stunned when the Shobijin still refuse to help him, so in desperation he threatens to shoot them and demands an audience with Mothra so he can make his case to her personally. Cut back to the book's opening scene: Sato tells Mothra she needs to make a choice, help him or kill him (and the Shobijin with him).
- We cut to the grand opening of a penthouse nightclub "not far away" that's actually a front for Takahashi and the Yakuza. Takahashi gets to demonstrate again how delightfully evil he is ("Chop off his left ear, and a thumb of his choosing!" XD) before a couple of the goons from last issue arrive to fill him in on what's happened. Takahashi is genre savvy, though, and realizes Sato is alive as soon as they tell him they never saw his body. He's barely finished saying as much when Mothra suddenly tears the roof off the building! The nightclub is destroyed, but it seems nobody was killed by the attack. Takahashi's lieutenant wonders since when Mothra singles out particular buildings to attack, and Takahashi proves he's far smarter than the average comic book villain when he not only points out that this never happens, but seems to immediately realize that Sato has somehow gained control over the monster (but dismisses it). Our comic ends with Sato calling to confirm Takahashi's worst fears: Sato is alive, he has control of Mothra, and he's going to destroy everything the crime boss as worked to build piece by piece before finally going for him too!
Overall: This was a tough decision, but I'm going to give this one a 4.5 out of 5/(A), though I was REALLY close to giving this a full 5 out of 5. A fantastic issue, and I suspect people will probably disagree with my reasons for docking that .5. ^_^()
On the first page, the comic fixed my biggest complaint with Issue #1: Sato. In the first issue, I never felt like I knew him much and he came across like any other generic "I've been framed!" good-guy detective. But this issue quickly fixed that by painting him as bold, driven and ultimately good, but now at wits end, obsessed with his vendetta, and desperate enough to do ANYTHING. Now THAT is interesting! ^_^
I still love Takahashi as our villain, and the plot is still very strong. The remaining cons may seem nitpicky, but they're all that's standing in the way of a perfect score. Firstly and most important, the art style. As mentioned in the previous review, while the monsters look great the people look ATROCIOUS. I could forgive it more in Issue #1 'cause there was quite a bit of Godzilla and Mothra, but this issue is much more character-heavy. The art is least forgiving toward the Shobjin, who look absolutely terrible (best example: the comic's last panel). Far less important, but puzzling: where's the military? Mothra spends the issue flying around Tokyo unopposed. Not only does Tokyo seem unconcerned, I'm not even sure it's common knowledge that Mothra's there! Nobody seems to be panicking that a giant monster has invaded the city. It's not that important, but it certainly bothered me.
Again, fantastic issue (the best Godzilla comic yet from IDW!) and I very much look forward to Issue# 3.
Oh, and my scores for each issue:
KOM #1: 3 out of 5 (C+)
KOM #2: 4 out of 5 (B+)
KOM #3: 3.5 out of 5 (B)
KOM #4: 4 out of 5 (B+)
G&G #1: 4 out of 5 (B+)
G&G #2: 4.5 out of 5 (A)