Godzilla Gangsters & Goliaths #3
 John Layman
Pencils: Alberto Ponticelli Inks: Alberto Ponticelli
Language: English Release: 2011
Publisher: IDW Publishing Pages: 32
Colors: Jay Fotos Cover: Dan Brereton
Monster Appearances: Aliens, SDF, & Misc Appearances:
Godzilla, Mothra, King Ghidorah Elias
Anthony Romero

At issue three, the Gangsters & Goliaths mini-series has officially reached its halfway mark of its five issue run. Author John Layman keeps up the interest in this comic, continuing to craft a pretty original monster story, while once again the art is the comic's major drawback.

In terms of plot, the issue opens with an attack by King Ghidorah that happened twenty years ago. A young Makato Sato is trying to protect a crowd by ordering them away from the monster, while he comes into conflict with his wife, taking priority for his job over his family. Back to modern day, Sato warns one of his sons of his actions, of using Mothra to attack the Takahashi crime syndicate, and that they will likely seek revenge. Sato, meanwhile, attempts to coax the Elias into letting Mothra finish off the syndicate; however, Godzilla arrives to prove the Elias right about the shift in "balance" while the crime syndicate has discovered the detective's location.

Layman's story has hit full gear here, producing mostly stellar results. To start off with the downside, Sato has been revealed to not be a loose cannon afterall or the dark anti-hero he seemed earlier. The Elias, effectively, call his bluff and his inability to hurt innocents. In a way, this works with the character development seen in this issue and his extreme dedication to his service as a law enforcer, even at the expense of his family. However, it takes the edge off Sato and in many ways makes the story far more predictable. Despite some lost potential, the story is still pretty solid with excellent pacing. Layman's style of jumping to flashbacks from the present feels very well constructed and thought out. In effect, he's making the most of the comic medium to tell a story quickly with a lot of detail. Sato's son, who is introducted and has his relationship with his father developed, is already starting to play an important part by the issue's end and will likely be a key figuring going forward.

This comic also ramps up the monster angle, although without the impact that Mothra had in issue #2. Her actions here are all seen briefly in flashback, while King Ghidorah's role at the start could have been interchangeable with just about any kaiju. Godzilla does make a nice appearance toward the end though, making his real first impact in the series so far.

In relation to the monsters, although the human cast suffers far more, the drawback of this issue is the art by Alberto Ponticelli. His style is distinct and loose, to be fair, but sadly suffers too much of the latter. The human characters in particular change in appearance dramatically from panel to panel, to the point where one is thankful for their clothes to help tell them apart. Colorist Jay Fotos doesn't help matters either, getting sloppy with a character bleeding from the face in one panel and then clean the next, or white bandages being colored a flesh tone by accident. While he did okay with the other issues, his work here feels rushed and a little sloppy, outside of some excellent work in crafting King Ghidorah's gravity bolts at the start.

As for the covers, there is one by Dan Brereton of Godzilla and another by Alberto Ponticelli of Sato, his son and Mothra. Both are decent, but as far as covers go neither packs that punch that a good cover should. Ponticelli's had potential, but the strange angle of Mothra's wing and the odd placement of the boat and cars make it seem more like a metaphor for the issue's contents rather than an action scene.

Overall, its not as solid as the first two, but then halfway points rarely are in a mini-series. It does a good job of developing the cast more and still maintains the reader's interest for the next issue. Layman is proving that he is more than up for the task of infusing some creativity in a genre often plagued with feeling very similar. Now if only the art would match the writing quality...

Variant Covers