Godzilla Kingdom of Monsters #2
 Eric Powell and Tracy Marsh
Pencils: Phil Hester Inks: Ronda Pattison
Language: English Release: 2011
Publisher: IDW Publishing Pages: 32
Colors: Cary Porter Cover:Phil Hester
Monster Appearances: Aliens, SDF, & Misc Appearances:
Godzilla, Anguirus, Rodan N/A
Anthony Romero
While the first comic in this series didn't leave much of an impression, Eric Powell does a nice 180 degree turn to deliver a satisfying second issue. Its not without some faults, but overall is starting to gain its own identity and is building up nicely in regards to developing a monster torn world. Pacing especially is improved, as this feels like a more engaging and well constructed issue than the first, with decent art by Phil Hester.

In terms of story, Godzilla continues his rampage across Japan while a father, whose children were killed in the previous issue, contemplates how to combat the monster. Meanwhile, Anguirus appears in Mexico approaching the Texas border. In Moscow, Rodan hatches from an egg a kid took from a museum, only to escape and fly off with the three kaiju on the loose by the issue's end.

Although the story sounds simple, this issue does actually provide some backbone to add some depth to the destruction. The biggest step forward is simply that the human characters are actually focused on. President Ogden (apparently a stand in for Obama, but considering the attention paid to detail in modeling him after the president they should have just called him thus) continues to deal with the issue and we get some decent real world moments of him being confronted on why he isn't using the military to attack the creatures in the other nations right now. A Texas governor, building a large border to try and block off Anguirus in Mexico, is also focused on briefly, although the latter is a little cheesy and lacks any subtly in its political statement. The stand out character, though, is the father who was seen briefly in the first issue. The man becomes extreme in his determination to stop Godzilla and avenge his children, to the point where he does an unsuccessful suicide bombing against the King of the Monsters. Suffice to say, the world that Powell is crafting here is very dark, but he is constructing original ideas for the franchise and will be interesting to see how this translates in future issues. The issue is certainly slanting toward a direction where its not for children, though, unlike the previous comic series about the character.

As for how the three monsters are presented, and spoilers ahead for those concerned, they are done okay. Godzilla doesn't get to do a whole lot as the comic interweaves the scenes of Japan's destruction with the rest of the story. By the issue's end, he's doing the same thing he was at the start and all the way through: destroying a city in Japan. Anguirus awakes in Mexico and does his famous "rolling ball" move from Godzilla: Final Wars (2004) before leveling a school and moving toward the Texas border. Rodan is a bit of a surprise, as its actually a pet sized infant freshly hatched from an egg a kid in Moscow stole from a museum. The child ends up being pretty twisted, talking about squishing birds heads earlier and feeding the quickly growing Rodan any animal he can find. This sets it up for the story inevitable where, after trying to feed Rodan his neighbor's cat, the monster eats the kid instead and flies off (don't worry, the cat makes it out okay to see Rodan fly off). For whatever reason, the issue focuses twice on mass animal death when both emerge, with ravens falling dead out of the sky when Rodan's egg is found and cows up and dying before Anguirus emerges from the ground. Neither is explained, so will have to wait for later issues to see if its explored. All in all, its a decent representation of the monsters, although its odd to see Rodan portrayed as more of a horrific figure, ala the Gyaos, as that hasn't been done since his debut film.

In terms of the art, it takes a step back from the previous issue. Godzilla still looks good, as do the human cast. Rodan doesn't look all that impressive, though. There isn't much detail in Hester's Rodan and he looks a little generic, not based on a particular version from the films at all. Anguirus fares much better, with some really dynamic and great frames with the character. His model seems to be based off a mix of the Showa and Millennium versions. Its an uneven rendering, though, as there are a few points where Anguirus isn't drawn so well, such as when he first emerges from the ground.

The covers for this issue number four different ones in total. There is the default Phil Hester one, seen above, a variant done by Eric Powell, another variant by Matt Frank and finally an ink only version of the Hester one. The main comic cover is okay. Its not too memorable, but is a decent image that looks very appealing. The Powell cover is good, except Anguirus looks a little off. Finally, the Frank one with Rodan is easily the best of the four, and is a great rendering of the character as its a good meld of the Heisei and Millennium characteristics.

Overall, not a great issue, but a good one for those who like their Godzilla with a dark, slightly real world edge. Its definitely paving its own path and feels unique, so it will be interesting to see how the series progresses with even more monsters brought into the fold. Suffice to say, this is a notable improvement over the first issue.
Variant Covers