Godzilla Kingdom of Monsters #4
 Eric Powell and Tracy Marsh
Pencils: Phil Hester Inks: Bruce McCorkindale
Language: English Release: 2011
Publisher: IDW Publishing Pages: 32
Colors: Ronda Pattison Cover: Eric Powell
Monster Appearances: Aliens, SDF, & Misc Appearances:
Godzilla, Anguirus, Battra -
Anthony Romero
After two solid issues, the Kingdom of Monsters series slips, if ever so slightly. The fourth issue is still better than its meager start, but feels like its missing something compared with the last two publications. The odd part is that this is actually the first issue containing a monster battle too. Rather than making the kaiju battle the focus, though, the human characterization kicks into high gear, producing mixed results of its own.

In terms of story, the book follows recently returned solider Steven Woods, who is coping with life back as a civilian. His return to society is short lived as Godzilla and Anguirus both begin to head to Los Angeles, set to converge and meet. Called back into duty, Steven tries to evacuate as the two monsters fight each other. Meanwhile, the twin girls Minette and Mallorie enjoy free reign over Paris thanks to Battra.

Four issues in, this comic, oddly enough, has the most character development of the entire series so far in the form of Steven Woods. The problem is that the character isn't executed very well, though. His overall view point is that society is complacent, quick to take interest in celebrity gossip to drown out the horrors happening. Its a powerful, and frankly true view point in society today. The problem is that authors have no subtlety in addressing it. Not only does Steven monologue and spell it out, but there is one over the top example after the next to try and drive the point home. It makes the reader feel like they are being talked down to, and frankly removes any punch or meaning to what might have been a more compelling angle. As for the girls Minette and Mallorie, who return from the last issue, they trade in their spooky, horror-like quietness for being more talkative while they enjoy stealing stuff from a mostly vacant Paris. Overall, it makes the two easier to read story segments about them, but at the same time feels like the wind was taken out of the sails as they were far more interesting and memorable before.

For the monsters of this issue, Godzilla returns to the focus point after being downplayed in the past few issues. It builds up nicely to the conflict between him and Anguirus, which deserves a tip of the hat for producing three issues before jumping into doing a "payout" monster fight. The bout starts off nice with some double page folds, although the issue abruptly ends while the monsters are still fighting. In terms of Battra, she blasts a tank toward the start of the issue and... doesn't do much else. Despite getting a fair bit of page time, her appearance here feels more like an effort to make sure we don't forget about her for later on. Sadly, the cliffhanger from the last issue, which showed the Shobijin, isn't even touched on at all.

As for the art, Phil Hester gives an uneven performance, although generally a more positive than negative one. The book has a couple of really nice shots, such as the first two page spread of Godzilla and Anguirus squaring off, but tends to feel rushed in parts. The human sequences are generally pretty solid; however, Godzilla, especially towards the end, is given less and less detail which makes the battle scene far less impressive than it could have been.

The covers are good this time again. Eric Powell gives a nice cover of Godzilla with the Hollywood sign burning in the background, which is the only true to source cover. Matt Frank gives a great one of Mothra, although feels premature given that Mothra hasn't appeared yet or is even mentioned in this issue. The Jeff Zornow is probably the greatest of the lot this go around, as his Mothra contains an amazing amount of detail and he also crafts an interesting situation. However, Godzilla's head is once again looking a little off.

Overall, its better than the first issue, but a notable step behind the last two. Unlike Godzilla Kingdom of Monsters #3, where I couldn't wait to follow up on the cliffhanger, this issue has me apathetic for the next, even with the promise of more of the Godzilla and Anguirus fight. Hopefully the Battra storyline picks up a bit in the next issue, on top of showing more Los Angeles, to give a more complete feeling experience.
Variant Covers