Oftentimes, when you hear the name "Godzilla," your mind will conjure up campy images of guys in floppy rubber suits playing around in toy cities and befriending adorable scamps. However, in Eric Powell and Tracy Marsh's new iteration of the lizard beast, things hearken back to the original 1956 movie Godzilla: King of the Monsters, where he was just a terrifying force of destruction – but with The Goon writer's particular brand of black humor injected in the proceedings.
In the first issue of Godzilla: Kingdom of Monsters, we start right off the bat with Godzilla emerging from the seas and killing two children playing on the beach. He starts to storm onto land, stepping on the elderly and the noble, destroying everything. Most of the book is a constant stream of "what the @$*& is that?!" They go right to the nuclear option and discover that all that does is grant the monster the ability to breathe radioactive fire. Japan is well and truly hosed.
Now, in issue #2, we get more monsters showing up all over the world, with scads of mysterious dead animals as their harbingers. There's Anguirus, a giant four-legged spikey rolling creature in Mexico crashing through the anti-immigration wall into Texas, and a baby Rodan in Moscow that a sick little thief kid brings home only to wind up swallowed whole by it when it grows to tremendous size in the span of a day.
While the Obama-looking President Ogden tries to manage the situation in front of reporters, the father of those two kids from the first issue copes with their loss by trying to find a way to kill Godzilla himself. Strapping himself with all the bombs he can find, he manages to climb to the roof of a skyscraper and have a staredown with the monster, screaming for the loss of his children and detonating himself in the beast's face. Which all amounts to nothing more than an itch on his nose.
This ain't no Godzookie stuff. This is Powell's dark comic sensibility, which just seems to fit in this bleak, hopeless struggle against invulnerable behemoths. Phil Hester's angular art is giving us a great sense of this immense scale, and Godzilla has that perfectly classic look. One has to wonder how long a series starring a large, wordless animal can be sustained, but with human characters that actually stand a chance of being interesting thanks to the twisted writing team, maybe we can forget for a while how much Godzilla loses from not being able to hear that awesome GRRRROOOOOOOONKKK!