Comic: Godzilla: Monsters & Protectors #4


Godzilla: Monsters & Protectors #4

English Comic Title

Godzilla: Monsters & Protectors #4 - Rise Up! Part 4


Erik Burnham


Dan Schoening
Dan Schoening
Luis Antonio Delgado
IDW Publishing


Dan Schoening / Christian Gonzales





By: Nicholas Driscoll


 I am afraid that, at this point, about anything I can say about the poorly-conceived Godzilla: Monsters & Protectors comic is going to come across as something like an obnoxiously negative broken record, but with the advent of chapter 4, I have really lost any hope of author Erik Burnham pulling anything decent out of this monstrous wreckage of a mini-series. The book continues to have the same problems as before—boring and pointless meetings, story inconsistencies, and meaningless monster fights with basically no drama and a complete and total disconnect from the central human action—a recipe for mediocrity and worse. Friends, this is bottom-tier monster storytelling.

 Now I will be going over all the spoilers in this issue, too, so if you don’t want to read that stuff, skip to the last paragraph, where I will give some summative thoughts.

 The story picks up with another episode of Cedric Nakamura’s MeToob vlog (a conceit so tedious it was annoying even in the first issue), and he explains what happened to the Shobijin when they disappeared in the last episode. Apparently they rode the nameless human twins over to the headquarters of Linival to talk with their CEO to try to get him to back down on the whole usage of power plants and Biollante. In order to do this, they hypnotize his secretary, and they try to hypnotize the CEO as well, but he is so assured of his own righteousness that he refuses to back down.

 We return to Cedric, Emily, and Anderson, who are on the field in the midst of a game of dodgeball. All three children have been suffering from dreams in which Godzilla shows up on a beach and blasts the ground with his nuclear ray. The Shobijin arrive, and promptly dismiss the nameless human twins from the narrative, then explain to the Cedric and the others that they want to use the children’s sense of hope in combination with Mothra’s powers to placate Godzilla. The children agree, and Godzilla appears off the coast of Chiba at just that moment. Linival sends Biollante to fight him, and Godzilla, somehow much stronger than before, just grabs the plant by her vines, swings her around, then picks her up, chucks her bodily into the air, and roasts her mid-flight with his nuclear power breath.

And that’s the end of the episode.

In my review for issue three, I complained about how stupid it would be if the Shobijin actually expect to conclude the shenanigans against Godzilla with an application of hope from some random kids. But that’s what we’re going with. In this issue, in response to the Shobijin, Emily took the words right out of my mouth when this is explained to them and says directly, “Okay, you know what, this is DUMB.” And it is. It’s completely uninteresting, and requires nothing of the human characters. There are no stakes to it, and nothing is really required of them other than a set of comfortable feelings that are, I guess, amplified through the giant hope bug Mothra.

There is no sense of sacrifice or danger or character development. Nothing that has been shown intrinsic to these characters seems necessary for their choice as main characters. They have no connection to the Shobijin, no connection to Godzilla, nor to Linival, nor to the CEO of Linival, nor to ecological concerns, nor to anything at all. It’s the worst.

In the last issue I complained that the Shobijin could have just found Cedric and his pals through their mental powers, and that the human twins were absolutely superfluous. And I was right. The human twins (do they even have names?) were summarily kicked out of the story here, never allowed to even develop the vestiges of personality, and the Shobijin then just up and use telepathy on the other children anyway, despite their declaration that they wanted to avoid telepathy in the second issue. This comic tries to play off that May and June (suddenly the Shobijin have names in this comic) needed the human twins’ legs to get around, but I mean… they could’ve just flown on the bird, right? And apparently they need never to have worried about being spotted by people at the school when they first arrived (this was an important plot point), because in this issue, they declare that only Cedric and his cohort can see them for who they truly are—and we the comic readers are treated to a scene in which it is revealed that the other kids on the dodge ball field now witness May and June as normal-sized children.

It was about this point that I said out loud, “I hate this comic.”

At every turn the comic undermines itself narratively, shooting its own legs out from under it, going back and hacking away at its own plot points. Every story decision is boring and insipid, and even in the penultimate issue, with the entire future of the world apparently at stake, the book makes it feel like none of it matters, that everything can be solved with a few nice thoughts, that even Biollante and Linival are pretty much superfluous to the story.

I conjectured in a previous review that Linival, the CEO and his goons, were going to be revealed to be aliens. I thought the writing was hinting, what with their advanced technology and some of their costumes and turns of phrase, that the people working for Linival were actually X-Seijin or apes from the black hole or something. I now think I was wrong—it’s too late for such a reveal, and the Shobijin have met the CEO but didn’t seem to pick up anything interesting from him. Now with the elimination of Biollante (in a quick, perfunctory fashion fit for Godzilla: Final Wars), Linival itself seems to be out of a role in this stilted and boring tale.

And Cedric himself remains absolutely insufferable, bragging on and on in his awful MeToob show about saving the world and being all-that and a sack of ranch potato chips.

Even the freaking visions of the end of the world are inconsistent. We get the explanation that Cedric and his buds are now receiving apocalyptic dreams because they leaked over from contact with the twin fairies. But the twin fairies’ vision had Godzilla in the middle of a city, suddenly glowing all blue, blasting the earth until a giant blue ball rises and creates a nuclear winter to hide the sun. In this awful fourth issue, Godzilla boils out of the ocean at a beach and simply begins blasting the earth (I guess like in Godzilla vs. Kong), and that’s how the vision ends.

This is author Eric Burnham’s own story—why can’t he keep even the most basic plot points consistent over four issues? Maybe Toho is influencing the story, or maybe he was rushed to write the scripts, or maybe editor Megan Brown asked for some quick fixes, or… well, I don’t know, but the end result is just another slipshod issue with gobs of languid, tangled plot points that make me want to scream.

Even the jokes and references seem weaker than ever in this issue. There is an ad for a vacation at Monster Island. We see Cedric playing with a soccer ball, even though he is supposed to be a football nut and we even see his football paraphernalia in the background. Godzilla shows up at Chiba, which is on the west side of Japan’s main island of Honshu, but Cedric says that a kid in Nagano with a camera caught the fight between Godzilla and Biollante (this nameless kid is apparently the only person who recorded any of the fight—huzza-what?). Nagano is on the EAST side of Honshu, hundreds of kilometers away, on the opposite side of Tokyo from Chiba. Did Godzilla just jump over the Japanese capital to fight Biollante?

This comic is so bad. It’s lazy, boring, inconsistent, has terrible characters, stupid and pointless monster fights, no sense of stakes or excitement, and not even the humor works most of the time.

Now… if there is a bright side, it is in the artwork, as usual. Schoening’s pencils/inks are wonderful and cartoony. As with previous issues, Schoening utilizes dramatic angles and staging well, and his pages are, as ever, complimented by Delgado’s fantastic coloring work, which add a vivid freshness to every vista, conversation, and confrontation. The fight with Biollante is, if overly one-sided, still sketched out in a way that is easy to follow and which showcases the monsters and their powers with some sense of majesty and impact. A shot of Mothra confronting Anguirus (in flashback) is also gorgeously portrayed. I also love the expressions on the human characters, their emotions, their humorous reactions. They add a sense of grace and fun to the story, which otherwise would be utterly a waste.

The three covers, meanwhile, are a real mixed bag. The Dan Schoening cover is perhaps his weakest yet, with three jets attacking Godzilla as he powers himself up in the midst of a fiery and destroyed city. None of this happens in the story, really, and it feels pretty generic. The photo cover is a shot of Godzilla from Godzilla 2000: Millennium (1999) in the city, which—again—seems appropriate of nothing. The Godzilla design in this book is not influenced whatsoever by that suit, so… why? The third alternative cover is the best, featuring Godzilla rising from an orange sea and posing dramatically as an oversized vision of Biollante rears up in the background. The art by Christian Gonzales, who did the linework and colors both, is dramatic and impressive and actually connects with the story—this should be the standard cover, even if the Godzilla design doesn’t full match up.

The long and the short of it is, the fourth issue is just as bad as issues one through three. They all have too many sequences of characters sitting around explaining things to each other. The human characters continue to feel a lack of a meaningful connection to the monster events. There is a continuing sense that nothing is logical, that plot points don’t matter, that characters are completely interchangeable, that the monster fights are total throwaways. I am just absolutely blown away by how this series feels like pieces of junk loosely banged and smashed together with a minimum of care, without much of a sense of character motivation, meaning, theme, or basic storytelling. The art has real love and charm and a sense of fun, both in the great linework and in the chromatic dazzle of the colors, but gosh this might actually be the worst-written comic in the entire IDW line—and that is really saying something.

Variant Covers

Photo Cover
Christian Gonzales Cover