Review: Godzilla: Rage Across Time #1

(IDW-2016)

Writers: Jeremy Robinson and Matt Frank

Artist: Matt Frank

Colors: Matt Frank and Paul Hanley

Editor: Bobby Curnow

Godzilla is not an interesting character. Destructive? Yes. Intimidating? Without a doubt. Hulk-equivalent? That’s an argument for another day.

I don’t hate Godzilla, but a Godzilla story is at the mercy of its surroundings and context.

With the success of Godzilla in Hell, IDW once again handed the big guys reigns over to writer Jeremy Robinson (Project Nemesis) and artist Matt Frank (Godzilla: Rulers of Earth) for the new five part mini-series Godzilla: Rage Across Time.

Screen Shot 2016-09-02 at 11.11.54 AMIn issue one we are thrown into the world of feudal Japan in the year 1274 during the Mongal invasion of Japan. Godzilla takes priority though, and does water battle with a few Mongolian Kaiju. Everything a good Godzilla story needs.

Godzilla is at its best when it represents something larger in a cultural sense. In 1954 Godzilla was a metaphor for the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Later it transitioned into fear of natural disasters, and Japan’s imperial past.

In Godzilla: Rage Across Time #1, Godzilla takes on the moniker of the typhoons that destroyed over 200 Mongolian ships in the battle of Hakata Bay. 

The Japanese were out numbered, and out gunned (or in this case out arrow’d).

This issue weaves together Godzilla and history perfectly to create something interesting and special.

Screen Shot 2016-09-02 at 11.11.39 AMWhat Robinson and Frank do with the story, art, and layout is amazing. The reader will be whisked away as the book is drawn and decorated like an accent historical scroll being placed before you. 

The colors, toned down and earthy with sparsely used dull primary colors, finish off the feel of this nicely.

This first issue feels more like a performance art piece than a comic book. The creative team really stepped up and did something different, and pretty great here.

But just as I was completely immersed, and ready to bow down to this masterpiece, we get thrown a curve-ball. An ugly Charlie Hough level trash-ball…not pretty ladies and gentleman.

Screen Shot 2016-09-02 at 11.12.06 AMFor some reason during this beauty of an issue, someone decided to through in a few pages of “Present Day” researchers discovering what happened back in 1274. Why in Cthulhu’s name did they think this was a good idea?

It wasn’t just the story being thrown out of whack. It was the bright Saturday morning cartoonish style that derails the tone that the creative team had done such a good job setting up.

I honestly had to go back and re-read the last previous few pages, because I knew there was no way this was from the same comic. It had to to be an error, or maybe an oddly placed PSA about scuba safety. So be prepared. 

Besides that hiccup, I really liked the way they went with this first installment. The history and layout was great. And although I hated the “Present Day” stuff, that may end up being a through-line to connect the five different times that our boy Zilla will be raging across, it is worth checking out. 

They say you can’t make an omelette without breaking a few eggs. Well if you can handle a few gritty pieces of shell, this omelette is pretty dang good.

JonathanJonathan Winchester is a writer from Dallas, TX where he lives with his wife Maddie and their annoying cat.  He believes Han was the lone shooter, that nothing looks better than a silver age comic in Mylar, and that there is no better feeling than walking into a dimly lit movie theater.

Twitter- @TexasWingnut

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