Godzilla Legends #5
 Bobby Curnow
Pencils: Dean Haspiel Inks: Dean Haspiel
Language: English Release: 2012
Publisher: IDW Publishing Pages: 32
Colors: Ronda Pattison Cover: Arthur Adams
Monster Appearances: Aliens, SDF, & Misc Appearances:
Godzilla, Kumonga, Mutant Bird None
Anthony Romero

The final chapter in what has turned out to be a very enjoyable series from IDW Publishing. For the last issue, editor Bobby Curnow, who has worked on all five issues of Legends and also the Godzilla Gangsters & Goliaths series, pens his first Godzilla story. The end result is good, striking the right balance where it's not too outlandish for the concept, although doesn't reach the heights of the previous issues due in part because of the uneven artwork in the issue.

In terms of plot, the comic focuses on retired adventurer Bryson Allworth who is called in for one more challenge by the government: climb Godzilla. The adventurer recalls the assignment, outfitted in a radiation suit as he leaps onto Godzilla in an effort to collect tissue samples. On the creature's back, Allworth discovers new mutations and tragically witnesses the monster's destructive power first hand. Things are complicated, though, as Godzilla stumbles into a giant trap planted by Kumonga, endangering them both.

The fact that this story premise has been done before, in Dark Horse's Godzilla King of the Monsters #14, is a testament to how many stories the almost 60 year old icon has already been in. However, Bobby Curnow makes this particular version stand out a bit better than the 1990's comic thanks to the development of the "Evel Knievelish" Allworth character. His "over the hill" situation gives a bit of novelty to the whole plot, although it lacks when it comes to tension. Part of the problem is that the reader knows that Allworth survives due to the fact that he's telling the story after the fact. Not that everything turns up roses for Allworth, although I won't spoil how it ends.

As for the monsters, Kumonga seemed like an interesting choice to headline an issue, as he was easily the least marketable of the five. However, it wasn't to be, as unlike the other four issues, Godzilla is the focus here and the giant spider only shows up for the climax battle.

Sadly, the downfall of this issue is the uneven art by Dean Haspiel. While I have thrown around the term uneven before to describe some of IDW's Godzilla comics, this one is far more overt for that label. On the positive side, Allworth and all of the human characters are drawn well, especially the retro looking radioactive suit for the lead character which clicks with the style. There is a level of detail in them that gives more weight to their interactions, while still being light enough in the lines to make them seem a little more cartoonish, which is a nice contrast. On the negative side, Haspiel really struggles with the monster characters. Godzilla in particular tends to suffer the most, outside of a few well done panels. His victory roar after doing a nuclear pulse, and how Allworth survived that on Godzilla is a bit of a mystery, looks particularly off. Kumonga fares better, but even the spider looks on the poorer side of things in his final page. This is unfortunate as Haspiel did a good job on the human cast, yet the issue is almost evenly divided between human and monster panels and that means roughly half the art doesn't get a passing grade.

In regards to the cover art, Arthur Adams does his final connecting cover, although it's hard to see how well this will connect with the previous issue as there seems to be a good portion of the image missing to the left. It's still well done, but the more interesting of the two, and more true to the comic, is the alternate done by Bob Eggleton. The alternate shows a King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962) era Godzilla holding back the legs of Kumonga as Allworth is subtly seen climbing. It's very well done, and probably the most visually appealing cover of the Legends series alongside the Anguirus Art Adams one done for Godzilla Legends #1.

Bottom line, Godzilla Legends #3 and Godzilla Legends #4, my favorite two comics from IDW thus far, were going to be a tough act to follow. While Curnow delivers an interesting take on the scaling Godzilla concept, the art tends to hold the material back. Overall, #5 translates into an issue that is more enjoyable than Godzilla Legends #2 but not at the same level as the other three Legends comics or the Gangsters & Goliaths series.

Variant Covers