Godzilla: Rulers of Earth #25
 Chris Mowry
Pencils: Matt Frank / Jeff Zornow Inks: Matt Frank / Jeff Zornow
Language: English Release: 2015
Publisher: IDW Publishing Pages: 52
Colors: Priscilla Tramontano Cover: Matt Frank
Monster Appearances: Aliens, SDF, & Misc Appearances:
Godzilla, Trilopods, Magita, King Caesar, Kiryu, Moguera, Kamacuras, Baragon, Titanosaurus, Jet Jaguar, Zilla, Gigan, Rodan, Anguirus, Sanda, Gaira, Gorosaurus, Kamoebas, Varan, Kumonga, Mechagodzilla, Mothra Cryog, Shobijin, Super-X, Ra, Type 66 Maser Beam Tank, ASTOL-MB93, Oxygen Destroyer
Anthony Romero

The last issue for Godzilla: Rulers of Earth, taking with it a record for the longest running title on Godzilla in terms of number of issues. While Godzilla: Rulers of Earth #24 placed some of the focus on the human element, this one makes an effort to place the monster action front and center. With an extra 20 pages, there is a lot of monster battles in this issue.. a lot. While there are some great moments, it is held back a little by the art, which ranges from stellar to disappointing.

In terms of the story, the issue begins with Godzilla facing off against a legion of Trilopods. The King of the Monsters is outnumbered, but help is on the way. Joined by Kiryu and Moguera following an air bombardment, the three battle the Trilopods. Meanwhile, inside the pods, King Caesar begins to rampage, breaking himself free and rescuing the other monsters there. On the outside, the Trilopods gain the upper hand, overpowering Godzilla and the two mechs as Godzilla makes a large battle cry...

Chris Mowry is known for his popcorn entertainment, and this issue showcases that pretty well, being almost non-stop monster fights. The comic shifts from battle to battle and is constantly raising the stakes while introducing more combatants. The issue does a pretty good job of being a climax to the series, wrapping up the Cryog's invasion efforts while also showcasing a giant melee between Earth's forces and the Trilopods. The issue makes use of the large roster of monsters that IDW has licensed at this point. The way it even spells out Kameobas, who has been a relative no-show up to this point, got a chuckle out of me as well. To give Mowry additional credit, the narrative feels fresh as well, not like its overly relinate on past plot beats from the films and avoiding what some of the mini-series suffered from: needlessly giving the story an inflated roster.

Now if you want to avoid spoilers, this is a good time to stop reading. That said, the issue introduces another new monster, the Magita: a giant Trilopod. It acts as the comic's big bad and gives the various monsters a run for their money. Sadly there are two things about the ending which could have been better, both of which are massive spoilers so will mention again it might be a good time to stop reading. That out of the way, the comic features the death of Steven Woods, who has been the main character of the series. The problem is the structure here is unclear, Woods suddenly appears injured inside the pod and sacrifices himself for Lucy and crew. There is no build up to this, and to make matters even more confusing is that he shows up at the end of the book, says a line and then dies in a silent panel. They could have at least given him a proper farewell, maybe a line about taking care of Allie from the Kingdom of Monsters series or something.

The other concern is how the big bad Magita is dispatched. The creature bests the combined forces of the other kaiju, leaving Godzilla to fend the Magita off. The King of the Monsters does this through a super charged Spiral Fire ray. It feels... kind of anti-climatic. Like there should have been a more creative send-off for the new monster.

In terms of the art, this is sadly where the issue falters a bit. It's a split art job by Matt Frank and Jeff Zornow, although Zornow does a majority of the artwork. Now Zornow does some nice covers, but I'm not his biggest fan at this stage of his interior comic art. This issue is not one of his stronger efforts either... that goes for both Zornow and Frank, though. I'm going to hazard a guess that the expanded art duties, with the larger page count, taxed both artists as the normal high quality work, in particular from Frank, lacks in its normal consistency. The Cryog aliens are a great example of this, usually looking stellar in earlier issues, or a goofy face shot of King Caesar as a he rips a Trilopod's arm off during the climax. That said, there are some impressive panels as well, like the scene of Titanosaurus and the Trilopod Titanosaurus exchanging wind gusts, or the shot of Zilla appearing for the first time. Another issue is the sometimes awkward art transitions between the two artists. Sometimes it's seamless, other times it overtly obvious, with the lines and colors going from dark tones to a very light and vibrant array with less line work.

Overall, I enjoyed this issue, although there are better in the series. It makes good use of Mowry's talent for writing popcorn entertainment battles. Sadly, those battles do depend on solid art to really sell them, and this issue falls a little short here when it could have helped to hit it out of the park.

As a side note, the final page of this issue is loaded with references to past Toho films. This includes the Super-X from The Return of Godzilla (1984) and a blink and you will miss it shot of the Oxygen Destroyer from Godzilla (1954). Arguably the most interesting of these Easter Eggs, though, is a shot of the Gotengo... or at least it looks like a Gotengo, although it doesn't share the exact design for any of them. It actually most resembles the Ra from Super Atragon (1995).

In closing, it's been 25 issues... a historic run on the character and the comic series has really sparked with some creative match ups and uses for the large roster of Toho kaiju. Hopefully we get to see some of these characters again soon, as IDW prepares their next Godzilla series, Godzilla Into Hell, by James Stokoe who did the phenomenal Godzilla: The Half-Century War series.

Finally, thanks also goes out to artist Matt Frank for the shout out to Chris Mirjahangir in the closing of the comic.

Variant Covers