Comic: Godzilla in Hell #1 Title
 Godzilla in Hell #1
 James Stokoe
Pencils: James Stokoe Inks: James Stokoe
Language: English Release: 2015
Publisher: IDW Publishing Pages: 32
Colors: James Stokoe Cover: James Stokoe
Monster Appearances: Aliens, SDF, & Misc Appearances:
Godzilla N/A
Anthony Romero

...what did I just read?

This is the first entry in the multi-authro Godzilla in Hell mini series, with this issue by James Stokoe. Stokoe should be familiar to most for his phenomenal work on the Godzilla: The Half-Century War series. I will be honest that it's my favorite comic work on the King of the Monsters, and had high hopes for this new series that would be starting off with the same writer/artist. To Stokoe's credit, this feels nothing like his first series on the character. Those worried he might overuse the concept that made his first story great need not worry. In the end, this is a very surreal story... one that I liked, but still not sure how to completely feel toward it.

In terms of the plot, Godzilla goes to hell.

No really, that's the whole plot. The comic opens with Godzilla falling into hell, and deals strictly with the odd things he witnesses there. The comic immediately sets the tone with a large pillar of text that emerges from the ground saying "Abandon All Hope Ye Who Enter Here", which Godzilla blasts with his atomic ray. The story is visceral, with no dialogue or text really beyond that warning message Godzilla blasts. It's the nuclear menace in a land of strange beings. You have scenes with moons, complete with faces, stuck in the ground watching as Godzilla advances in the background.

The comic sets out to do one thing, and does it quite well: it makes the normally exotic and fantastic character of Godzilla feel pedestrian. He is the normal anchor to the story as the reader sees him go through an odd, sometimes scary terrain. It's an interesting twist on Godzilla, a reverse for his dark roots.

The artwork here is top notch as well. Stokoe packs so much detail into his drawings that it's easy to get lost in them, just soaking up the details. From the human swarm, seen on the cover, to some of the other monsters in this book, Stokoe gives the art his all and the book really benefits from this. It needs to, because without dialogue this comic falls back on the visuals all the way. Not surprisingly, the book is a very, very quick read due to no text inside. The very detailed art, causing you to soak in everything, is the only thing stopping you from not quickly skimming through.

Now, this review isn't going to cover spoilers... much. Those looking to avoid them should turn back now. That said, the comic does feature one main adversary to Godzilla. I won't spoil much, other than the creature is "Orga-like"... and now I'm hoping Stokoe names it since we haven't had much in the way of unique monsters in the IDW run other than the Trilopods in Godzilla: Rulers of Earth.

In terms of the covers, this issue actually has four to choose from. There are two from Stokoe, one being a shot of Godzilla against the human swarm and a panel lifted from the comic of the "scarred Godzilla". The first is a great image, while the scarred Godzilla one is a little dull, likely on account that it was intended more as a panel. The subscription bonus cover is done by Jeff Zornow, a long contributor to IDW's work with the character, and is phenomenal. It's a play on the old horror magazines from before the superhero rush in comics and works very well, including showing a demonic King Ghidorah. The final cover is a Comic Dungeon exclusive cover by Sara Richard featuring Godzilla destroying the Space Needle in Seattle. All of the covers are good, but the winners here are the main cover by Stokoe and the subscription cover by Jeff Zornow.

Overall, this comic is enjoyable, memorable... but even with the great art feels like a bit too quick of a read. I will wait another issue before passing judgement. I'm interested where things go from here and how the concept stays fresh for the next four issues.

Variant Covers