Godzilla Gangsters & Goliaths #5
 John Layman
Pencils: Alberto Ponticelli Inks: Alberto Ponticelli
Language: English Release: 2011
Publisher: IDW Publishing Pages: 32
Colors: Jay Fotos Cover: Geof Darrow
Monster Appearances: Aliens, SDF, & Misc Appearances:
Godzilla, Mothra, Rodan, Anguirus, Battra, Kumonga, Titanosaurus, Mechagodzilla Elias, F-15J Jets
Anthony Romero

The final issue of Gangsters & Goliaths, which wraps up the story John Layman created. The series started off fresh, unique and well paced. The last two issues got a little more cliché for what the genre is used to, but regardless the series ends as being an enjoyable read as a whole, with its only consistent downfall being the art of Alberto Ponticelli, who actually ends the series with his best work of the five issues at least.

In terms of the story, the issue starts with Detective Makato Sato being gunned down by crime lord Takahashi and a subsequent funeral for the man much later. As Layman is fond of doing, the issue then backtracks to the events that led up to the shooting with Sato and his sons driving Mechagodzilla directly where Takahashi is hiding out to try and save the Elias and end the all-out monster assault on Tokyo.

While I considered doing a no spoiler review for the issue, ultimately one has to discuss the conclusion to really review it. So consider this fair warning to stop reading if you want to enjoy the events of the issue... now. That out of the way, the end of the comic unfolds with Sato being given a non-fatal shot. His death is faked to save face for the corrupted chief who supported Takahashi's crime syndicate, while the monsters actually vacate Tokyo the minute the Elias are returned to Mothra. Those are two points, so lets dissect the first one. Personally, I thought the idea of Sato being killed was a bitter sweet end to his character arc. Having Sato make the ultimate sacrifice to undo what he had done and in a way work toward the gruff character that Layman had set him out to be earlier in the series. Instead, he actually returns to Monster Island at the very end to watch over the Elias. It makes the first few pages a tease, but Ponticelli also fails a bit in the art, as Takahashi clearly shoots Sato three times in what appears to be the midsection, yet later he appears to only have a wound on his arm based on how he holds it.

In regards to the monsters, them leaving Tokyo does work for the pacing, but to have all of them leave with the Elias makes it feel oversimplified given the sheer number of kaiju in Tokyo and really the plot probably would have worked better had it just been Mothra and Battra, although that loses the marquee value of Godzilla. Still, despite criticism, its not the best issue but the series as a whole shaped up to be an intelligent and different read so hats off to Layman for doing that.

Praise of the overall story aside, the art of Ponticelli stayed consistently the downside of the five issues. This one is probably a high mark of the five, with the human and monster characters tending to be depicted better than past ones, but there are still some fairly awkward shots, such as the Elias or an over simplified Kumonga, that just look off.

In terms of the covers, the main one with Godzilla is fairly generic, but is none the same a great image with a nice contrast of lighter colors and a detailed Godzilla. The other one by Ponticelli is also fairly interesting, showing Sato and his son uncovering Mechagodzilla. The first is more eye catching, but in this instance both covers are nice.

Overall, the series didn't end as I might have hoped, but praise is deserved to Layman for creating a mini-series that really feels different and ended up being fairly consistent in its overall quality. The first three issues stand above the last two, but the series as a whole has enough for everyone, really focusing on the human angle in the first three before going all-out with the monsters to appease those just looking for some kaiju action. While I'm glad this is the final issue and the story never dragged on, I do hope Layman some day returns to craft another story with the King of the Monsters.

Variant Covers