Godzilla: The Half-Century War #5
 James Stokoe
Pencils: James Stokoe Inks: James Stokoe
Language: English Release: 2013
Publisher: IDW Publishing Pages: 32
Colors: Heather Breckel Cover: James Stokoe
Monster Appearances: Aliens, SDF, & Misc Appearances:
Godzilla, King Ghidorah, Gigan, Kiryu N/A
Anthony Romero

The final chapter in James Stokoe's landmark Godzilla: The Half-Century War, marking a conclusion to a phenomenal comic series on the King of the Monsters with a large popcorn battle, packed with action and a fitting end to the ongoing story of the main character, Ota Murakami.

The story takes place in 2002 in Antarctica, humanity pushed to the brink from continued assaults from alien invaders, King Ghidorah and Gigan, that appeared roughly a year before. With half the world destroyed, the Anti Megalosaurus Forces (AMF) is set to make their last stand in the frozen area, having deployed both a new Mechagodzilla, Kiryu, and the Dimension Tide, a miniature black hole gun. Lieutenant Ota Murakami and Kentaro Yoshihara are at the scene as well, although Ota has an ulterior motive: to steal Kiryu and face the alien monsters, but more importantly confront Godzilla whom he correctly predicts will arrive at the battleground...

Plotting wise, the issue has all the tell-tale signs of a story climax, wrapping up the Ota story with a return trip into Mechagodzilla, although this time Kiryu, to confront the two world destroyers. Being much older now, and the stakes higher with half the world destroyed, the sentiment is much different this time when Ota finally does get into the cockpit versus in Godzilla: The Half-Century War #4. What follows is a long battle, probably one of the longest in the IDW comics, for the conflict between Godzilla, King Ghiodrah, Gigan and Kiryu. The only downfall being that this one feels like it could have used a bit more build up, to truly sell home the threat of the two space monsters, although that would have ruined the year jumping format the series has gone with and is understandably absent for that reason.

As for the battle, Stokoe handles the pacing very well, something that can be tricky with the number of combatants involved, but the action flows very cleanly. Part of this is probably attributed to the fact that Stokoe is doing both writing and art duties as he has in the previous four issues. The art, as before, is nothing short of amazing as well. This particular issue was quite delayed from its original release date, but the extra time clearly was worth it as this is one of the more polished looking issues in the series. The three-headed monster in particular looks fantastic, the best he has in comic form, and looks truly imposing in the shots where he towers over the smaller Godzilla. Simply put, the splash page of King Ghidorah and Gigan destroying the battleship fleet is one of the best in the series.

As for the conclusion of the story, I don't intend to spoil it here. Many can probably predict how it will end after all the foreshadowing at the start of the issue, with the introduction of the Dimension Tide from Godzilla vs. Megaguirus (2000) and an earlier speech by Ota, but sometimes that's how a series should end and the conclusion here is certainly no exception, giving a poetic closing chapter to Ota's half-century war with Godzilla.

In terms of covers, the main one by James Stokoe is a great shot of Godzilla upending battleships. My preference would have been something showing the two space monsters as well, but all the same a visually pleasing shot. The variant, done by Simon Roy, is okay. His version of Godzilla is a slight miss, with an odd look to the head, but the Gigan and King Ghidorah in the distant is a visually pleasing look as is the black hole opening next to them... just a shame a bit more action couldn't have been fused into the cover design.

Overall, The Half-Century War will probably go down as one of the greatest comic series on the King of the Monsters, not being topped anytime soon if ever. While I felt the first half was stronger than the second, the entire series was solid, original and at the same time with the right level of fan service to give those nice "geek out moments" us fans seek. If you haven't been keeping up with the series, now is a good time to start or seek out the trade when it arrives later.

Variant Covers