Godzilla: Cataclysm #1
 Cullen Bunn
Pencils: Dave Watcher Inks: Dave Watcher
Language: English Release: 2014
Publisher: IDW Publishing Pages: 32
Colors: Dave Watcher Cover: Dave Watcher
Monster Appearances: Aliens, SDF, & Misc Appearances:
Godzilla, Anguirus, Mothra, King Ghidorah, Kamacuras, Biollante N/A
Anthony Romero

The fourth Godzilla mini-series from IDW Publishing, and the first one released after the landmark 2012 mini-series Godzilla: The Half Century War, Godzilla: Cataclysm is off to a promising start. It offers something slightly new with a post apocalyptic setting, while the art is generally solid.

For the story, its been almost twenty years since a global kaiju assault wiped out most of civilization. The survivors are holed up in camps constructed from rubble. The kaiju themselves have vanished in the two decade span that followed the original devastation. Arata and Shiori, two younger boys living in one camp, are preparing to go into Tokyo to scavenge with others. Arata's grandfather warns them to stay behind, telling them something doesn't feel right, but the advice is ignored as the boys venture to the destroyed city...

The issue spends a few pages to set the scene of the worldwide kaiju assault. This includes a splash screen of Godzilla [Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla (2002) design], Manda [Godzilla: Final Wars (2004) design], Anguirus [Godzilla: Final Wars (2004) design], Mothra [Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S. (2003) design] and King Ghidorah [Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack (2001) design] duking it out. From the get-go, the comic starts with a visual flair as artist Dave Watcher paints the scenes in blood red, giving the sequence an "end of days" feel. This is contrasted nicely with the blue tones as it changes to 20 years later with the grandfather waking. The art is a little uneven, but takes risks and is generally a large strength of the book.

It's too early to say how the story and run as a whole might work, but author Cullen Bunn is off to a nice start. Writer on Venom and Magneto, Cullen has been in the industry for many years working largely at Marvel but also on his own comic The Sixth Gun. Cullen strikes a nice mix of bringing a bit of mystery, asking the question why the kaiju destroyed much of civilization before vanishing, and also starts to build his cast of characters. The strange situation they are in, such as day-to-day tasks of searching rubble to try and find stuff to survive, gives them an interesting angle.

Now I have avoided spoilers, but going to let some fly now. I recommend backing out if you haven't read the book yet. That said, the last third of the book is action packed. The intro to the comic shows the cause of the destruction, the middle shows the result, and the climax places the main characters in danger. The group of scavengers come across a dead bear, and soon find the source: Kamacuras. This marks the first time the insect has appeared in the IDW run. Artist Dave Watcher uses the Godzilla: Final Wars (2004) design, but with his own twist. The mouths are done differently here, and make them look more frightening than their movie counterparts. I'm not going to spoil the very end, but I will say a gruesome fate does befall one of the insects.

In terms of covers, there are four to choose from. The main one by Dave Watcher packs a ton of detail, and the vivid use of color mirrors his work inside the comic as well. The first alternate is one done by Mehdi Cheggour. While there is some artistic license taken with Godzilla, the scene is impressive and has enough going on in the frame to sit and gaze at it as the onlooking survivors watch Godzilla roam in the post apocalyptic city. Next up is a subscription only one by Godzilla regular Bob Eggleton. He showcases Godzilla emerging from underground and a ruined building in the background. Eggleton is always dependable for a great cover, and this is no exception, although it doesn't quite capture the ruined civilization angles of the others as memorably. Finally, there is a Hastings exclusive cover by Brent Peeples. The Hastings exclusive details the mankind in ruins angle, but is the weakest of the three as it depicts a generic looking Godzilla who is lacking in detail.

Overall, a solid issue that has me waiting for more. IDW has a good track record on their mini-series, and Godzilla: Cataclysm looks to follow that trend.

Variant Covers