Godzilla Kingdom of Monsters #9
 Jason Ciaramella
Pencils: Victor Santos Inks: Victor Santos
Language: English Release: 2011
Publisher: IDW Publishing Pages: 32
Colors: Ronda Pattison Cover: David Messina
Monster Appearances: Aliens, SDF, & Misc Appearances:
Godzilla, Mechagodzilla, Anguirus, King Ghidorah -
Anthony Romero

Writer Jason Ciaramella takes over on the series for the first time with this issue, continuing the story with Mechagodzilla that was set up by Eric Powell before him. While this one feels different from the eight comics that lead up to it, there is enough similar about it that more than a few probably won't realize the creative team has changed, thanks in part due to Victor Santos still being on art duties here.

The issue's story focuses again on Steven Woods and his piloting the Mechagodzilla he located, which the president is frantically trying to get in contact with. The robotic monster stumbles upon and confronts Anguirus before advancing on the battleground of Godzilla and King Ghidorah from the previous issue.

All eyes are the story for this one, as previous writers Eric Powell and Tracy Marsh have stepped down and handed the reigns of the series over to Jason Ciaramella, writer on The Cape and Kodiak. Sadly, the jury is still out on how Ciaramella might do, as this issue tends to build up the framework for the next. One thing that can be said, though, is that if you are a fan of the approach of Eric Powell earlier in the series you will probably be a little disappointed at the slight change in tone as the "grim dark", "things can only get worse" sentiment that seemed to drip from Powell's writing is replaced. It still plays within the world that was left them, giving a progress report even on the devastation, but lacks the same sense of hopelessness and dread that it had before.

Still, even though this issue felt like a bridge to the next, lets give a thorough review of Ciaramella's style so far in contrast to the first eight issues. On the positive side, the issue actually starts to develop the president and his situation. This is nice because, up until this point, Steven Wood, Allie and the twin girls that have since got sidelined were the only characters of interest and the series desperately needed a bit more meat to it, which might be provided if we have two situations fleshed out, especially one that gives more of a vantage point of everything happening across the US and if the President continues to be at odds with Steven Woods. On the downside, the Steven Woods' character feels different under this new writer. He picked up a "revenge against Godzilla" plot due to the death of his parents at the monster's hands which really had no indication from the prior issues that Woods harbored that as a goal or even that he had any alternative motives besides survival. It feels a little cliché, and certainly something that has been seen before in films like Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla (1994) and the Kiryu films with him now driving Mechagodzilla. Thankfully, some of the "Mary Sue" shine has been taken off of him where it seemed he was always in control and on top of everything, as he makes a few mistakes here, grossly underestimating Anguirus for one.

In regards to the art, not much has changed. Victor Santos still feels out of place on the series, and his approach is too comedic and "loose" for the contents of this story. Mechagodzilla in particular tends to fare worse than he did during his introduction. To the artist's credit, though, the battle between Anguirus and Mechagodzilla is at least done more interestingly than the one in the previous issue with Godzilla and King Ghidorah fighting. In fact, even though the overall art style still doesn't quite click with me, Santos is getting more comfortable and improving his art as these issues go along.

For the covers, neither is very indicative of the contents of the comic. The main one, by David Messina, shows a Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla (2002) circa Godzilla looking down on a sub, which isn't in the comic, while the background has "Gojira" in Japanese and a dotted design. The alternate one is done by Matt Frank and shows a Showa era Gigan crashing down. Again, not in the least related to the particular comic at hand, but of the two the Gigan one is clearly the more engaging of them.

Overall, this issue does some things right and wrong. Its different from the comics before it in tone, and might find some fans who were unhappy with the current direction, but likely won't change most people's minds one way or the other. Still, it ends on a cliffhanger and it will really be the next few issues that define how good Ciaramella is as a replacement on this series.

Variant Covers