Comic: Godzilla: Aftershock

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Godzilla: Aftershock


English Comic Title

MonsterVerse - Godzilla: Aftershock

Authors:

Arvid Nelson

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

Drew Edward Johnson
Drew Edward Johnson
Allen Passalaqua
English
2019
Legendary Comics
112

Covers:

Christopher Shy, Arthur Adams

Comic

Monsters



Review

By: Nicholas Driscoll

It’s no secret that I was sorely disappointed by the last MonsterVerse tie-in graphic novel, which I found incredibly boring and uninspired (though it seems in general most other fans liked it more than I did). So it was with some wariness that I approached my reading of the sequel, the tie-in for 2019’s Godzilla: King of the Monsters, this one titles Godzilla Aftershock. I was provided a free review copy, and being conscientious about such things, after reading the thing, I ordered my own (admittedly Japanese) copy so as not to feel indebted to Legendary. My money is on the line here, too.

Money on the line or not, though, I did think this comic was much better than the previous one.

Written by Arvid Nelson (a comic book veteran who also did the script for the Kong: Skull Island tie-in) and with art by Drew Johnson (who has worked on many DC titles, among others), Godzilla Aftershock follows Dr. Emma Russell and Dr. Serizawa and their troupe as they zip about the earth, attempting to find a way to contain and destroy a new monster, Muto Prime, all the while dodging a dogged terrorist with inside information on Monarch and a penchant for violence. Godzilla also is pursuing Muto Prime, and more about the longstanding rivalry between the Muto species and the Godzilla species is revealed, including the Muto Prime’s dastardly ability to inject its young into Godzilla. Will Godzilla survive?! Will Russell and Serizawa be able to find a way to defeat the Muto?!?! Let them fight!

And they DO fight! One of my biggest frustrations with Godzilla Awakening was that the conflicts between Godzilla and the Shinomura were so terribly staged, with no real progression, no real give-and-take. Here, the MUTO Prime and Godzilla trade blows and injure each other meaningfully, with the fight nicely escalating to an over-the-top but pretty satisfying conclusion.

The art of the monsters and the conflict is also mostly satisfactory, although some of the individual sequences were kind of confusingly staged (though not the level of bewilderment I had in Awakening). Johnson’s artwork of the monsters is quite detailed and mostly consistent. While not up to the standards of, say, Art Adams, it was more than serviceable. That said, the appearance of MUTO Prime might be off-putting to some… especially his cranky old-guy face. While the male and female MUTOs from the first movie look like bizarre alien bugs, MUTO Prime looks like a bizarre alien bug with a wrinkly geezer face and orange-goop encrusted gorilla arms. For the most part, I still thought she was cool, but as always mileage varies, and even I was not a fan of the geriatric snarl.

Johnson also turns in compelling artwork of the human cast, which tends to look recognizable like the human cast of the films. Most of the sequences are fairly well laid-out, with only an occasional page in which I was a smidge confuzzled.

As far as the story goes, again in stark contrast to the first volume, here the human storyline has a lot of drama and action. The human cast must face up against a lot of danger, from the monsters but also from the aforementioned terrorist, Jonas, who reminded me a little of the Saradian agent SSS9 from Godzilla vs. Biollante (1989) (though unfortunately Jonas never has as classic a line as “Kiss you guys!”). As the humans globetrot and fight and panic and plan, I was pretty entertained for the most part.

Which is still not to claim by any means that we have here a flawless Godzilla narrative. So let’s nitpick a bit.

This book seems to forget that MUTO is a generic term for kaiju and, unlike the first book, uses the term only to refer to MUTO Prime and the other giant insect-like monsters. Of course the first movie also acted as if MUTO primarily referred to the two insectoid beasties, and GKOTM seems to have replaced the general term “MUTO” with “Titan,” but it still feels a little weird to me. Calling the new monster MUTO Prime still feels like “Monster Prime” to me.

Speaking of names, the monsters go through a LOT of them in this book. MUTO Prime is also called the Unclean Thing, Jinshin-Namazu (sort of), and Jinshin-Mushi. Dagon is a name given to another Godzilla that appears on ancient Phoenician paintings, but Godzilla is also called Raijin at one point. It can be mildly confusing. (That said, I was amused to see that the high-tech backpacks used to scale a cave are called “katatsumuri,” which means “snail” in Japanese.)

Parts of the story are also a little too… easy, I guess. Things get tied up really quickly sometimes, such as Jonas (though I am guessing he probably features in GKOTM in some capacity), and there is a point in the story where Emma needs a special gadget to use against Prime and she coincidentally had worked on just such a device years before and manages to get her hands on it in the nick of time.

In my copy, too, there are a number of pictures sprinkled throughout the book taking up whole pages which are just… sightings of Godzilla, I guess. Stuff like a photograph of vacationers at the beach with Godzilla’s spines sticking out of the water, or a surfer riding a wave partially glowing or somesuch, along with notes from Monarch about how this might be Godzilla. The pictures have nothing to do with the story in the comic and seem completely superfluous, just taking up pages without adding anything to the story. I mean, gosh, it’s not like readers of the book are going to be surprised that Godzilla exists in the universe of the comic. Why include this stuff?

Oh yes, and the explanation of MUTO Prime is really quite strange. Emma presents a few wacky theories, such as maybe MUTO Prime is the fully adult version—more adult than the MUTOs who were fully capable of breeding in the 2014 film. The theory is that, after mating, the female MUTO might eat the male and then grow into a Prime. Or maybe it’s like a version of the MUTOs that results when MUTOs overpopulate an area and then kill each other in mortal combat, the last remaining one being a buffed up evolutionary superior version. Or something like that. It’s pretty wacky.

Still, for the most part I enjoyed the comic. It’s a nice little adventure, with some tie-ins to the Kong Island comic, and even a taxidermied Death Jackal in the background of one scene (in the same panel can be seen a pic of Ghidorah on one of the monitors). The painted cover art is also very striking on the standard book, and the Art Adams cover is also pretty awesome—I prefer both over the art for the first book. While nothing particularly groundbreaking, for fans looking for a reasonably exciting side-story to add a few details to the expanding MonsterVerse, this book pretty well fits the bill.