Godzilla Kingdom of Monsters #1
 Eric Powell and Tracy Marsh
Pencils: Phil Hester Inks: Ronda Pattison
Language: English Release: 2011
Publisher: IDW Publishing Pages: 32
Colors: Cary Porter Cover: Alex Ross
Monster Appearances: Aliens, SDF, & Misc Appearances:
Godzilla -
Anthony Romero & Chris Mirjahangir
We are doing things a little differently with this review. Rather than doing the traditional one person, one review for the product, we are dedicating two people to the task, each doing a slightly different take. For Chris' review, we are actually breaking the mold and doing a graphic intensive one that has been turned into an editorial, which can be found here:

Graphic Editorial Review by Chris Mirjahangir

We are also doing a traditional text only review by Anthony, which can be found below ~

In October of 2010, IDW Publishing made a formal announcement of their upcoming Godzilla comic series called Godzilla: Monster World. Five months and a title change later, the first issue of Godzilla Kingdom of Monsters finally sees release. Creative work on the writing is a collaborate effort between Eric Powell, of Goon comic fame, and Tracy Marsh while the art is done by Phil Hester. So how does this first issue measure up as a kick off to IDW's new comic series on the legendary character? Eh... so-so.

The issue starts off on a beach with a pair children, who are inadvertently eaten by Godzilla a few pages in as he emerges from under the sand on the beach. The King of the Monsters then attacks the nearby town where he is confronted by a squadron of jets whose attack seems unsuccessful. The Japanese prime minister decides to then launch a nuclear missile at the creature, which ends up only increasing the monster's power and giving him an atomic ray. Godzilla then attacks Tokyo before the issue ends.

While I considered holding back on spoilers, essentially above is the entire issue. There really is no stand out human cast or any other details to elaborate on. The kids get some dialogue, but are killed off. The prime minister talks a bit with his general where they pretty much instantly agree to launch a nuclear strike against Godzilla (more on this later). While the president of the United States closes the issue with a page for him discovering the news. If any of these characters are going to be reoccurring is hard to say, outside of Barack Obama who is mentioned in a later issue summary, but what the first issue does not do is develop the human cast in anyway. No frame work is set up for this going forward, making one wonder if its only going to focus on the monsters and only have minor commentary from a constantly cycling backdrop of human characters. The problem with that approach is it makes the story seem incredibly simplistic.

Let's go back to the nuclear strike, though. If anyone has seen The Return of Godzilla (1984), they are probably going to find it odd to see Japan portrayed as a nation so quick to resort to nuclear weapons. Yes, jets weren't able to slow down the creature, so what's a modern country to do? Some would probably opt for that nuclear option right off the bat, but Japan, which is a country that doesn't even have nuclear weapons, would probably be more resistant. Heck, scratch out "probably", we know they would be, as this is a country that still has watch groups who look for respectful depictions of nuclear strikes and their effects, which is what resulted in Prophecies of Nostradamus (1974) going under its self imposed ban. However, the Japanese prime minister here shows no hesitation when presented this option by a general, which will probably ring a little off with those familiar with the nation.

So what about Godzilla himself in the comic? Well its hard to get a feel for the overall direction. He kills the kids, along with an elderly woman and a young man trying to save her, and so it seems they are trying to portray him as a horror figure. Nothing is mentioned about his origin, though, and the story would seem to indicate that this is his first appearance. So the jury will have to be out until later issues to come to a conclusion on how this works and if any depth is added over time. One thing that's not handled well at all is the pacing, though. The issue seems to jump all over the place. For example, having the jets fire missiles at Godzilla before cutting away to the prime minister... only to find out that this is much later and the jet attack is over. Kind of artsy, but then a similar approach is done from jumping to Godzilla out at sea gaining his ray and suddenly him inside Tokyo. It lets them cover more ground in less amount of time, but really makes the issue feel like its on fast forward.

In terms of the art, Phil Hester does a good job. The nuclear strike and other sequences are done well with a stylized look and some of these images do a good job at impressing the reader. Godzilla looks great most of the time, except in a few shots and when they actually draw in the eyes. In fact, in regards to the eye aspect its very inconsistent. Sometimes Godzilla will look like he is straight out of Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack (2001) with completely white eyes. Other times the eyes will be totally drawn in, and there seems to be no rhyme or reason on why sometimes this is done and sometimes its not. Typically, though, Godzilla has the all white look to his eyes.

So how does this issue as a whole stack up? It will be hard to judge. Right now, I wasn't left impressed. It didn't really hook me to read more, or give me any sense on where this was going. Outside of showing Godzilla getting his ray, it felt like a pretty generic story featuring the monster. To put it in contrast, it lacked that "oomph" that the first issue of Dark Horse's run had, Godzilla: King of the Monsters #1. To be fair, that wasn't quite their first issue with the character, but the comic did a number of things: introduced G-Force for those who weren't familiar with them, presented the unique and almost iconic comic image of a Godzilla foaming blood at the mouth, while it also ended with a promise of a showdown between Godzilla and Cybersaur in the next. That issue was memorable, set things in motion and captivated you to want to read the second issue. With Kingdom of Monsters, its more of a benefit of the doubt for picking up issue two as this one really does none of the above. In the end, its disposable so it will be a wait and see if it improves once more of the Toho monsters are thrown into the mix.
Variant Covers