Comic: Godzilla: Monsters & Protectors All Hail the King #3

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Godzilla: Monsters & Protectors All Hail the King #3


English Comic Title

Godzilla: Monsters & Protectors All Hail the King #3

Authors:

Erik Burnham

Pencils:
Inks:
Colors:
Language:
Release:
Publisher
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Pages:

Dan Schoening
Dan Schoening
Luis Antonio Delgado
English
2022
IDW Publishing
27

Covers:

Dan Schoening

Comic

Monsters

Godzilla
Godzilla
King Ghidorah
King Ghidorah



Review

By: Nicholas Driscoll

One of my biggest complaints about the original Godzilla: Monsters & Protectors comics tale was that for much of the comic, there was no real action, and when some creature clashes did take place, the sense of stakes never really developed. Even with the book being for kids, I think you can still create a sense of danger and excitement—juvenile fiction doesn’t have to be pure vanilla (though come to think of it, most of the kid-friendly G-novels by Scott Ciencin had a similar problem). Just like with the first series, with the third book of All Hail to the King we have our first real monster battle, and while I think AHTTK stumbles in some big ways, nevertheless I still think the book is an improvement over the previous series.

Not to be a looping MP3, but once again I am planning to go over spoilers freely in the body of this text, and those averse to vital details may freely prance to the final paragraph.

In the previous book, May and June had just contacted Cedric and his crew about the imminent danger of King Ghidorah’s arrival, and the Xiliens were planning to use mind control on the triple-noggined nasty to take over the world. At the beginning of this issue, we get a MeToob video (oh, noooooooooooooo) with Cedric explaining that people are having dreams about the alien dragon’s… I mean wyvern’s arrival. We then switch to a sequence in which the Xiliens oversee Ghiddy’s awakening, wherein the golden triplets burst from the volcano, silencing Linival CEO Nomura’s mockery. Two weeks pass, and we get ANOTHER MeToob video, with Cedric reporting on Ghidorah’s unstoppable rampages across the world, and his continued dislike for Karen Higa. Some time hence, Cedric, Amelia, Anderson, Karen are meeting, and they have a discussion about whether Godzilla will defend the world against the alien threat, and why Karen never called her guardian monster to fight last time. As Cedric and Karen snipe at each other, Ghidorah flies overhead, and…

We have yet another MeToob video.

Oh, man.

At any rate, Godzilla and KG fight one another in Sagami Bay, and both manage to injure the other before mutually retreating. In the process of the fight, the mind control devices on KG’s heads get fried. We get a few more chipper comments from Cedric, and a final sequence showing the Xiliens and their assessment of the situation—which is to say, they pretty much think they’re screwed.

As should be obvious from my summary above, I was not a fan of the prominent return of the MeToob videos. One of my big issues with their use in the previous series was that they drained away much of the narrative tension; we knew from the start, basically, that Cedric and team had won, and everything was told in flashback. This time the MeToob videos are used with more finesse—Cedric doesn’t tell us the result until after we get to see the fight ourselves. However, the affectations of using the MeToob videos as a narrative tool still feels a bit annoying, and Cedric stoops to a new low, actually showing Karen’s face and mocking her in his public vlog. What a total jerk! And Karen doesn’t even call him out on it!

On the plus side, though, one thing I do like about the MeToob vids is that they allow for in-jokes for fans sometimes in the recommended videos. This time we have a recommended video for a kaiju kart racing game, which seems to feature either Sanda or Kong driving a kart. One of Cedric’s vlog titles also references Monty Python, which surprised me. It’s not a very funny reference, but just seeing it used had me at any rate giving a nod of appreciation. (Maybe I should just be thankful he isn’t making DikDoks.)

Other than Karen failing to address Cedric insulting her by name in his public video (and even revealing her connection to a guardian monster!!!), most of the character work in this issue works well enough. Emily and Anderson bicker a bit at last (like they used to do), and Karen and Cedric continue to fight, with Cedric continuing to be depicted as the worst of the Kennys. Seeing Nomura and the Xiliens poke at one another, too, was a nice touch.

Just as an aside, the Godzilla lore here was a little interesting. KG apparently shoots lightning instead of gravity beams (if Karen is right), and this time King Caesar is apparently contacted not by singing but through some psychic messaging system. Neither of these changes I think are a big deal, though I will admit—I was kind of hoping Karen would have to sing a cute ditty to call forth her giant Shisa pet monster.

The monster fight between Godzilla and KG has a few nice touches, but is the weakest battle in the series so far in its composition. Starting with the positives, the fight has a better sense of Japanese geography compared to Godzilla’s fight with Biollante across Chiba—here, the pair of titanic combatants manage to smash things within a reasonable area. Having Godzilla free KG from the mind control (and having the mind control manifested through disk-shaped metal caps on Ghiddy’s heads) are also effective, moving the story forward effectively (if perhaps feeling a bit derivative of the recent Godzilla/Power Rangers crossover). My main beef with the fight is that the progression of the action is confusingly rendered, such as when Godzilla (waist-deep in water) blasts Ghidorah and then suddenly they are both underwater. The dream fights in the previous issues were better than that.

That said, I still love the art from Schoening and Delgado for the most part, even if some of the action feels less fluid than other issues. Godzilla still looks a bit ho-hum, Ghidorah looks great, and the city attacks and appearances feel like references to the films (though why does he have three toes?). Character expressions and postures continue to exude energy and charm. The colors remain excellent and provide an effective sense that we are reading a cartoon.

There are three cover variants, and they might be the worst crop yet. The main one is from Schoening and Delgado, and Godzilla is battling with KG, and lighting/gravity beams fork out around them. The kids are in the foreground (minus Karen), looking at the battle. The main problem I have with this image, as dynamic as it may be, is that the way the cover is illustrated, Ghidorah appears to have two heads—the third is coming up from the ground as if it has detached as a separate snake monster that has wrapped around Godzilla’s belly. It looks quite strange. The second cover is by Andrea Bell again, this time showing her running along the shore with KG splashing in the water in the background. I like Bell’s work, but KG’s look doesn’t jive with me, and the image feels unconnected from the story. The last cover is the worst, a return by John Yurcaba showing Karen depicted as a depressed-looking overweight woman on a train, holding a book of Okinawan folklore—and I guess Godzilla and KG standing on the train, too, with their big feet in the background? The image looks terrible, as I can’t even tell what is going on. It’s hard to see the monster legs around her on the train (or maybe the bus?), the sense of scale is all off… I really don’t like it.

While I have been pretty positive about the series so far, Hail to the King issue 3 is a bit of a step down from the previous two books. The action hits, and we have a sense of stakes that feels more real than the previous mini-series, but the return of the MeToob framing is unfortunate, and some of the action is not well-constructed. Still, the characters work well enough, and there is still a sense of interest here—I am looking forward to King Caesar showing up next time. Still not bad, but not enough for me to quite hail this book as some kind of great second coming, either.


Variant Covers

Andrea Bell Cover
John Yurcaba Cover