The Comic You Should Be Reading This Week: ‘Godzilla: Half Century War’ #1

Senior Contributor
08.09.12 11 Comments

I’m a moderate G-fan. Not “own-all-the-movies” G-fan, but I had the original Japanese cut of Gojira on DVD well before it officially arrived in the US. One of my best movie-going memories was seeing Godzilla: Final Wars at the Brattle Theater with a packed house. And I’ve still got a soft spot in my heart for Godzilla Vs. Megalon, a movie I freely admit was a cinematic atrocity even by the standards of Toho in the ’70s.

That said, there is a ceiling to the quality here. A lot of the Godzilla movies, not to put too fine of a point on it, blow. And that’s not even getting into recent giant monster movies: Cloverfield remains a bitterly disappointing movie because all it needed were characters who weren’t brain-dead and jerks on top of it and it would have been an amazing movie, putting a human face on a giant monster stomping a city.

IDW, on the other hand, seems to be doing just that with this book.

It should be said I’m not the biggest fan of IDW’s Godzilla ongoing; too much gruff military jerks, not enough radioactive lizard.

This book is different, though. It starts with Godzilla’s first visit to Tokyo, and it centers around a member of the Japanese Self-Defense Force who picks a fight with the big G… and survives. As you might have guessed from the title, it’ll be lasting a bit longer than just one battle.

It’s basically everything the grown-up film nerd in me wanted out of a giant monster book: It’s got plenty of destruction and giant monsters, but James Stokoe has centered it around a very human protagonist, Ota Murakami. Stokoe also handles the art chores, and he strikes a good balance between capturing Godzilla and keeping the art just cartoony enough to give the book a sense of fun.

In short, these twenty-two pages are already better than about half the franchise’s movies. Not that that’s saying much, but this is worth checking out.

Some Other Comics Worth Reading:

Gambit #1: They’ve dumped the stupid suit and centered it around Gambit’s thieving prowess. Sold.

Dancer #4: The more I read this Cold War relic story, the more engaging I find it.

Suicide Squad #12: Easily the most deliciously nasty book in the New 52, this actually has some funny moments and some truly great moments. Black Spider gets the best line in the book, however.

And One That Isn’t:

Archer & Armstrong #1: I’ve been cool to Valiant’s attempts to relaunch their books, with the exception of Bloodshot. X-O Manowar is just way too slowly paced, and Harbinger is a little too centered around whiny teenagers. This, though, is awful.

Granted rebooting one of the best buddy comedy comics of all time is a tough job, but consider that the first page of this book features a bloated family of three in a fundamentalist theme park… looking for “second lunch”. And one of them is in a mobility scooter. Yes, the original book had Archer’s parents as televangelist child molesters, but Bob Layton and Jim Shooter knew how to make that outrageous and ridiculous enough to have it work. Not helping is that this turns Archer into a moronic jackass that you want Armstrong to cram into the nearest toilet.

Especially disappointing is that this comes from Fred Van Lente, who’s better than this. It gets worse: the evil secret society behind all of this is called… The One Percent. Ugh. Not that I mind politics being injected into superhero books: I just dislike them being hamfistedly beaten in. And fists don’t get hammier than this.

How about you? What were your favorite comics of the week?

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