Godzilla: Rulers of Earth #5
 Chris Mowry
Pencils: Jeff Zornow Inks: Jeff Zornow
Language: English Release: 2013
Publisher: IDW Publishing Pages: 32
Colors: Priscilla Tramontano Cover: Jeff Zornow
Monster Appearances: Aliens, SDF, & Misc Appearances:
Rodan, Varan, Gaira, Sanda, Godzilla, Hedorah, Mechagodzilla, Gigan, Titanosaurus, Anguirus N/A
Anthony Romero

Round five for Godzilla: Rulers of Earth, which feels like a total gear shift after the last issue from a mostly Godzilla-less adventure staring Varan and Rodan. The art is also done, for the first time, solely by Jeff Zornow while story duties are still under Chris Mowry's pen. The result is an interesting issue, but one that feels notably detached from the four before it.

The plot kicks off where the last ended in China with Varan attacking kaiju enthusiast Lucy Casprell and her coworkers. The military put up a struggle, but ultimately its Rodan who flies to the rescue and does battle with Varan. Their skirmish sends Lucy and the group into escape mode thanks to intervention from the Chinese military, as Lucy gets inadvertently knocked into one of the Chinese bases and stumbles upon a dark secret within.

Unless the military turn out to be related to the aliens, this issue is totally devoid of the alien and even Steven Woods plots that had been running up to this point. Instead, the focus here is on Varan, mostly, along with Rodan and a rather seedy Chinese military, run by general with a scar on his face who keeps grimacing to give off a Kato from Tokyo: The Last Megalopolis (1988)/M. Bison from Street Fighter II type of vibe. Speaking of, this is the first full Godzilla issue from IDW with art from Jeff Zornow and he does a good job. The previously mentioned general is given a nice level of detail, while Varan and Rodan both look stellar through out. While the art is pretty solid, there are some panels which are slight misfires, such as the professor in Lucy's group who is drawn oddly at times while the last panel with Godzilla is a little embarrassing, as there is no detail at all in the background making it disorienting.

Sadly, it's a little unfortunate to see Matt Frank off the issue primarily as the cast of coworkers for Lucy are still under developed and the shift in art style makes it even harder to try and pinpoint them. One would hope that a whole issue dedicated to them would allow for them to be fleshed out a little... but this is the issue's biggest weakness as Lucy still feels vapid and the whole middle section with her and the professor, where she blurts out a military secret in the open, comes off as cartoony and makes all of the characters seem a little bipolar. About the only one explored a bit is Jeremy, and is the only one besides Lucy that is mentioned by name, who cements his status as an all around douche for pushing one of his coworkers behind him as he tries to escape. How that does not become a major issue of contention in the group is beyond me.

Now I have avoided spoilers so far, but would implore anyone who hasn't read the issue yet to stop reading this review as I'm going to dive into them, plus feel this comic is better read with a few surprises. That said, looking at the character icons on the second page, it should be apparent that this issue is the grand debut of Gaira and Sanda from The War of the Gargantuas (1966). Gaira has a pretty substantial role as well, and in fact the highlight of the issue is his battle with Varan. The much smaller Gaira is brutal and the fight packs a lot of energy into the panels thanks to Zornow's art. Plus, as a Toho fan, its pretty refreshing to see him in new media, since its not often the monster gets a highlight like this.

As for the covers, the main one is done by interior artist Jeff Zornow and boasts Varan and Rodan fighting over the Great Wall of China. The alternate, for a change, is by Matt Frank and has an outline of Godzilla, with Varan inside, against a backdrop with Rodan in the sky. Both covers are great, but the Zornow one has the more dynamic pose and is the more eye catching of the two.

Overall, an okay issue that gets bonus points for featuring the Gargantuas and very enjoyable to read battles. One-off stories like the one in this book, which hark back to the days of comics before they were written for trades, are enjoyable but the series needs to start fleshing out the characters to give the reader something to latch onto if more plots of this nature are introduced going forward.

Variant Covers