Godzilla #1-2

Written by Duane Swierczynski
Art by Simon Gane
32 pages, color
Published by IDW

I’ll admit that I’ve only seen a small percentage of Godzilla films, knowing more about the property via its reputation (and friends who get excited about the Godzilla pantheon) than experiencing it myself. But after initially raising an eyebrow and walking past this latest Godzilla comic, my curiosity got the better of me and I decided to take a look at what Duane Swierczynski and Simon Gane came up with. And I must say, I’m quite pleased that I did so.

Swierczynski and Gane have created in Godzilla a world that is regularly ravaged by gigantic monsters, one to the point where architects and builders actually create "monster-proof-towers" in cities like Washington DC. That’s where most of Godzilla #1 takes place, as Boxer (a Jason Statham stand-in) serves as a bodyguard for Gwen Murakami, the 15-year old daughter of a Japanese billionaire who’s helping rebuild the District of Columbia. When all the various monsters rise up and start attacking different parts of the globe, it’s Godzilla itself who of course attacks DC, leading to Boxer and Gwen having to try a harrowing escape from the rapidly crumbling (and not as monster-proof as it claimed) tower. And from there, the insanity just grows, with Boxer pulling together his team to stop the monsters. That’s what I think is so ultimately fun about Godzilla; it’s completely off the way crazy and in a fun way.

This is, after all, a series that opens with a same-sex wedding in Mexico City getting interrupted by a massive spider attacking, and one of the grooms being not only a feared killer but also vowing revenge. Swierczynski is going for the, "Wait, WHAT?" reaction from his readers, and that makes sense. This is, after all, a Godzilla comic book. Subtlety would be utterly wasted. Instead it’s loud, in-your-face, you-cannot-ignore-this moments from start to finish. If this was a remotely serious comic I’d probably roll my eyes at the movie cliches on display here, but instead I found myself cheering them on. Swierczynski understands the tropes and deliberately exploits them with a wink at the reader, and the end result is remarkably funny.

Gane’s art is probably my favorite I’ve seen from him to date; it’s a handsome, solid style that at the same time can go for lots of little, intricate details. When Godzilla first attacks the tower, for example, Gane draws Boxer as a compact and solid man (the resemblance to Jason Statham being something I wasn’t joking about earlier, although it’s rather apt considering that I could see Statham starring in a film of this comic). But as things fall apart around him, Gane draws all the little shards of glass falling, or takes the time to detail in Boxer’s stubble on his chin, and the hairs poking up through his open-collared shirt. Gane can handle the big and the small, and I’m finding myself blown away by just how great this comic looks. It’s another huge leap forward for Gane (and when I saw his art on Northlanders last year I was also quite impressed then), and I’m eager to see even more from him.

Godzilla is wonderfully silly and over the top, and it’s got the perfect two creators to tell this story. Swierczynski and Gane are clearly having a blast here, and guess what? So will you. Don’t worry that it’s Godzilla. Just think of it as the next incredible action film with huge killer monsters, but told in a comic book format. Cheer on the heroes or the monsters, it doesn’t matter, Godzilla is just fun from start to finish.

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