Godzilla Legends #3
 Mike Raicht
Pencils: Tony Parker Inks: Tony Parker
Language: English Release: 2012
Publisher: IDW Publishing Pages: 32
Colors: Ian Herring Cover: Arthur Adams
Monster Appearances: Aliens, SDF, & Misc Appearances:
Titanosaurus, Mechagodzilla, Godzilla, Mothra, King Ghidorah, Rodan, Destoroyah Psychics
Anthony Romero

With a changing of the guard for every issue in Godzilla Legends, you never quite know what you are going to get. While I enjoyed the first entry, I was let down by Godzilla Legends #2, but was still interested for what the others might do with their respective characters. Simply put, I was not let down by Godzilla Legends #3; in fact, it was the polar opposite as Mike Raicht's work on this issue made it my favorite of any of the IDW Publishing Godzilla comics to date. What makes it work so well is that it simply excels with its human drama, creating a compelling backdrop that hooks the reader in, if there is a monster on panel or not, while the art greatly helps to convey those emotions and bring the human cast to life, even though the inks are a little uneven at times on the monsters themselves.

For the plot, the issue opens with a young boy named Tristan being awoken by a voice in his head. He rushes to the window to find a woman, Miki Saegusa, telepathically talking to him as she approaches his house to try and convince his parents to let Tristan enroll in a program for other psychics. Tristan, while still chatting telepathically with Miki, manages to persuade his parents that this is the right choice. Once at the program, Tristan and a very select group of six others get to meet the headmaster, Mugal, who introduces them to their objective: to find any way possible to communicate and maybe stop the kaiju of the world, as Miki once did with Godzilla. During his first month of training, Tristan manages to unknowingly reach and communicate with Titanosaurus, awakening the monster who is now linked to Tristan and his emotions.

While the story might not sound that engaging in a summary, Raicht really knows how to structure the pacing of a comic and Godzilla Legends #3 just pops at getting the reader hooked. The issue makes a lot of nods to the framework of the movies that came before it, finding a new and more in-depth way to explore the Miki Saegusa character while making everything seem fresh through greatly fleshing out a concept that was under used in the films themselves. What ultimately leads this concept to be a success, though, is characterization. The story has three principal characters in the form of Tristan, Miki and Mugal. In particular, the relationship between Miki and the young boy is very well done and feels organic, leading the reader to have a vested interest in the development, while Mugal acts as the more stern figurehead who still comes across as caring but is after results in the end.

Now this is one of those issues where I feel that not being spoiled is important. So I would actually implore that those planning to get the issue stop reading this review now, as the ending is going to be given away. With that said, Raicht discussed in his interview for Toho Kingdom that he would like to continue this story someday, and that should be a slight hint that this comic does not wrap everything up. In fact, it ends on a very "to be continued..." type of sequence. First off, yes, the Black Hole Aliens factor into the plot. For those who were tipped off from page four when Mugal is first introduced, bravo. Miki and everyone else are really being tricked into working for the alien race as they look for other monsters to join, what appears to be a, fleet of Mechagodzillas they are creating. Through exploiting Tristan and his relationship with Miki, the aliens see the opportunity to have Titanosaurus as one of their war horses for their plans. The story ends on the cliff hanger, leaving the reader really wanting more. The best part about the story is that it ends up being a very smart and subtle homage to Terror of Mechagodzilla (1975) in general, although this isn't clear until the final few pages where even the Black Holes Aliens are modeled after their 1975 appearance rather than the ape-like one from their debut film. Suffice to say, the ending is abrupt and that will probably turn a few readers off, although its also a testament to how engaged the audience is by the end.

As for the art, Tony Parker does a good job with the material here. His Miki Saegusa doesn't really look anything like any of the movies she has been in, but otherwise the human cast is drawn well and the emotions are conveyed expertly, especially in the few sequences where Tristan is panicking or whenever drawing Mugal who is consistently great through out. Titanosaurus also tends to look good as well, being a little loose in his intro attack on Seattle but looking superb when he confronts Tristan eye-to-eye for the first time. The two page spread of the Black Hole home world is also breath taking and creative, working as a great way to close the comic. Sadly, there is one weak panel which is during Mugal's presentation where he demos some of the monsters he is discussing. A few of them, especially Godzilla and Destoroyah, looked rush and off. Its one panel, but also a key one in terms of something the reader will focus on.

In regards to the cover art, Arthur Adams, with Peter Doherty on colors, has submitted another cover of the focus character. His work on this one isn't quite as strong as his previous two, with Titanosaurus' jaw being altogether too large and Rodan and Anguirus both creeping over into the pane so their covers can connect to this one (and its slightly odd that this one fits in between #2 and #1). The variant cover by Bob Eggleton, however, is stunning. Its a perfect rendition of Titanosaurus while the Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla (2002) era Godzilla in the background does a nice job of filling the frame and making for an overall very interesting cover design.

Overall, I loved the issue and was real sad to see it end. I know I wanted to keep reading long after the story had finished, and really hope that Raicht is given the opportunity someday to continue the plot here. While it might not please everyone, as its light on the monster action and more heavy on the main cast interaction - kind of an anti-thesis to Godzilla Legends #1, I found it to be the most compelling read yet from the company.

Variant Covers