Godzilla Legends #2
 Jonathan Vankin
Pencils: Simon Gane Inks: Simon Gane
Language: English Release: 2011
Publisher: IDW Publishing Pages: 32
Colors: Josh Perez Cover: Arthur Adams
Monster Appearances: Aliens, SDF, & Misc Appearances:
Rodan N/A
Anthony Romero

After an entertaining first issue in the Godzilla Legends series, the second... sadly dissapoints. The story here feels a bit too childish for the material, clashing with the juvenile against a slightly grim back drop, and character motives never feel properly developed. The art by Simon Gane is at least a bright spot compared to other recent IDW Publishing comics for the King of the Monsters, although its not enough to transcend the puzzling story choices that drag the comic down.

In terms of plot, the issue begins in 2007 with a Marine bringing an egg back to a US base in Okinawa as a personal trophy, only to have the base quickly place the egg on lock down as their fear becomes true as Rodan emerges to try and recover it. Destroying most of the base, Rodan fails to recover the egg. In 2011, the egg continues to be studied while Rodan periodically attacks to try and recover it. Tired of the assaults, the Japanese and US government both agree to destroy the egg to the horror of Doctor Holder who has studied it over the past four years. His research consuming him, he continues to neglect his son, Ethan, who is bullied at school. Hearing of the plan to destroy the egg, Ethan strikes up a rather bold plan to steal the egg to save it.

Where to start with the story? First, it sounds better on paper than in execution. Both Doctor Holder and his son in actuality come across as half insane and the other half childish. Neither seem based in reality in their actions, which greatly hampers the overall story. Doctor Holder in particular is cartoonish in his over the top dedication for the egg, which is never even partly justified in terms of what he hopes to learn or even what they are trying to gain by studying it for what has now been four years. He also heavily neglects his son who is having a hard time fitting into the nearby school, where Ethan is picked on for both being American and also not the son of someone in the military like everyone else. So Ethan tries to devise an idea to save the egg and get closer to his father, while his father is continuingly getting cold feet about it and really not acting like what should be the more mature of the two figures.

Now I really can't dissect the book more without spoilers, so turn back now if that's a concern. Anyway, the comic ends with them having stolen the egg and Ethan, after being forced to still go to school, bringing the egg with him to try and have Rodan come and kill his bullies. The military, wise to Holder's actions, arrest him and arrive at the school... and here is where things get puzzling, as they have time to set up cannons and heavy artillery but don't even bother to evacuate the school while they know Rodan is on the way (!?). This leads to Ethan trying to defend Rodan while he appears to kill the bullies and a majority of the military before the egg hatches. Rodan then scoops up the baby in his mouth, while Ethan jumps on Rodan's back and they fly off into the sunset while his dad regrets everything in his jail cell.

Period. The end plays out like a child's fantasy, where he punishes his tormentors, makes his Dad remorseful for what he has done, and flies off on Rodan's back (what? I can't be the only child to have day dreamed of that). This might work if the story was light hearted, but the death of the military that is focused on in the attack give it an overly dark edge that conflicts with its simplistic and childish narrative. This leads into the art by Simon Gane, which is decent and certainly better than what has been seen recently in both the Gangsters & Goliaths series or Kingdom of Monsters. Its uneven, but there are few images of Doctor Holder and Rodan that pay off very nicely. Gane also captures the casualty aspect well from Rodan's attacks, although as already mentioned this doesn't gel with the story Jonathan Vankin is telling.

In terms of the covers, Arthur Adams does a good cover with the 1956 Rodan destroying a city, although its not a show stopper like his Anguirus cover was. In fact, its one of the few covers that seems to benefit from being in pencil form over its colored version. The alternate by Chris Scalf is an interesting design, especially with the burning city scape in the background, although Rodan looks a little generic and not a great representation of any of his movie counterparts.

Overall, the issue feels like a miss. It gave me a distinct "what the heck did I just read?" feeling after seeing the rather bizarre climax. About the most praise I can give it, is that its anything but predictable. Either way, the changing of the guard still gives me hope for what the next issue might have in store with Titanosaurus.

Variant Covers