Godzilla Kingdom of Monsters #5
 Eric Powell and Tracy Marsh
Pencils: Victor Santos Inks: Victor Santos
Language: English Release: 2011
Publisher: IDW Publishing Pages: 32
Colors: Ronda Pattison Cover: Eric Powell
Monster Appearances: Aliens, SDF, & Misc Appearances:
Godzilla, Rodan, Anguirus, Battra -
Anthony Romero

At issue #5, Godzilla: Kingdom of Monsters still hasn't, for better or worse, found an overall flow for its story. It feels slightly aimless, scatter shot, but at the same time this make for a unique and unpredictable take on the franchise. This becomes important by issue five as the comic is starting to give equal story time to all of the monsters introduced, yet still feels uneven when taken as a whole. There are good and bad moments here, but where it really suffers is in the art department under the hands of Victor Santos, who takes over from Phil Hester.

In terms of story, the issue starts out briefly with Rodan attacking Russia before the narrative jumps back to Los Angeles where Godzilla stands over a defeated Anguirus. Also in LA, two lone survivors emerge from the rubble and start to comment on their surroundings where, among other things, they find a deceased Girly Yaya and laugh about it. The US army, however, launches a poison gas strike on the nearby Anguirus, killing the survivors as a while Anguirus remains unharmed. Rodan advances on Germany and fends off a similar gas attack, while in the meantime Battra wraps itself in a cocoon in France. The issue concludes in California as Godzilla continues his destructive march across the state.

For the plot of issue #5, there is more meat to this comic and it benefits greatly from that. It actually concludes with a returning character from the previous issue too. It treats this return as somewhat important, so consider this fair warning if you don't want to be spoiled and to back out now, but Steven Woods from the previous issue returns to try and save survivors after Godzilla's most recent attack. Minette and Mallorie, Battra's handlers, are once again downplayed and reduced to stealing from museums... still, as that's where the past issue left off with them. The military efforts, against both Anguirus and Rodan, are treated as somewhat bumbling, with doing more harm than good. The overall theme, that humanity when faced with the horrors of real kaiju will turn on each other and show an ugly side, continues and makes the story even darker as the destruction around that scenario increases.

As far as the monsters go, Rodan finally returns to the story, although doesn't do a whole lot. Probably disappointing for most, the battle with Anguirus is concluded "off panel" before this issue even starts as well. Battra seems to be getting ready to change into her imago form too, similar to how Mothra does it rather than the flashy transformation the creature had in Godzilla vs. Mothra (1992). Godzilla gets the most page time here, and the most dramatic scene in the form of his attack on the highway at the end.

Sadly, the downfall of this issue is the art, without question. Phil Hester, while not always spot on, did an overall great job with the series and presented some stunning shots. He was rather consistent in his approach. Victor Santos, however, does a totally different take on the series that is far more comedic in execution and directly clashes with the tone of the book. The humans in particular all look like parodies, giving a vibe similar to reading a spoof magazine like Mad. The monsters, in particular Anguirus and Rodan, suffer as well from either a lack of detail or appearing off. To be fair, Godzilla is done okay under Santos' watch, and he actually draws the highway scene at the end with a style that makes it more powerful than it might have been. So the art isn't awful, but does fall very short of matching the performance of Hester.

In regards to the covers, I wasn't expecting King Ghidorah to appear in this issue, considering Mothra was a red herring, and that proved to be the case. All of the covers, even if two are misleading, are incredible this go around, though. The King Ghidorah profile one by Matt Frank is excellent, with a powerful stance by the creature. The Jeff Zornow cover, though, once again takes the crown for the best of the three, although I wish I was reading that story rather than this one as it shows Godzilla fighting off King Ghidorah and Type 66 Masers (which also aren't in this comic). The Eric Powell one is a bit more restrained, although is the only one to actually deal with the contents of the issue itself as it shows Godzilla, Steven Woods and the twins.

Overall, this is an okay issue that would have been far better with a different art style. Its not a bad publication when taken as a whole, but my excitement for the series, which peaked by issue three, has cooled off at this point. Much to my surprise, I'm now far more invested in the Gangsters & Goliaths mini-series that is being published at the same time, which is handling a tightly nit narrative that is almost in direct contrast with the more lucid approach on this series by Eric Powell.

Variant Covers