Godzilla: Kingdom of Monsters #1
July 7, 2014
The King of the Monsters is here! ...But let's focus on a bunch of different humans every page, instead.
Linkara: Hello, and welcome to Atop the Fourth Wall, where bad comics burn. (throws out arms excitedly) It's the 301st episode! (pause awkwardly) I can't actually keep the celebrations going, can I? (drops arms) Yeah, I didn't think so. So... Godzilla, anyone?
(Footage of a Godzilla movie is shown of Godzilla battling several other monsters)
Linkara (v/o): Yeah, this review probably should have come out in May, when the most recent Godzilla movie was relevant, but hey, it was either this or, uh... "Zolastraya and the Bard"... You can, uh... see why... that took precedent.. Okay, so I'm an idiot and thought the movie was coming out in August. Whatever. Point is, gotta love the big G-man. And while I certainly enjoyed his latest outing, I understand why people unfamiliar with the franchise wouldn't, especially given the apparent lack of Godzilla in that film. But hey, as someone who has now seen 26 of the 29 Godzilla films, and will be seeing the last three soon, I can confirm that it's pretty much a staple of the series for the guy to take his sweet-ass time getting out of his trailer so we can focus on the really important stuff, like Japanese schoolchildren in tiny shorts, classrooms full of psychic children, or the love triangle issues of a woman, some guy, and her one-eyed scientist boyfriend who wants to use his oxygen destroyer invention for peaceful purposes, and said oxygen destroyer eventually evolving into a giant crab monster and then the devil.
Linkara: But hey, everyone's entitled to their own opinion. I'm still getting flak from people over the "Red Hood and the Outlaws" review, so who am I to judge? (beat) All right, I'm a critic. Look, point is, if you didn't like the movie, more power to you. However, it's still probably better than what we've got today.
(A montage of shots of Godzilla comics are shown)
Linkara (v/o): As I've stated before, Godzilla comics are quite numerous and across several companies. There's Marvel's Godzilla, where fought the friggin' Avengers at one point... and yes, I'll review that one someday. There's also the Godzilla comic I reviewed for a live show last year that came from Dark Horse. But one comic I've gotten quite a few requests for is "Godzilla: Kingdom of Monsters". What's weird about the requests is the inverse pattern I've seen. Some say the early issues are godawful and they get better later. Others say the early issues are really good and it got horrendous later.
Linkara: Which of the two do I think is the right one? Well, let's dig into (holds up today's comic) "Godzilla: Kingdom of Monsters #1" and I'll tell you.
(AT4W title sequence plays, and the title card has "Godzilla" by Blue Oyster Cult playing in the background. Cut to a closeup of the comic's cover)
Linkara (v/o): The cover is perfectly okay: a black-and-white image of Godzilla smashing a city and firing his thermonuclear breath. Perfectly serviceable, but then there's that little logo in the bottom right: Dynamic Forces. What's the deal there? Well, this cover is actually an alternate cover.
(Cut to a shot of a certificate of authenticity that accompanies the comic)
Linkara (v/o): It even comes with a certificate of authenticity on the cardboard back of the bagging board, stating that this is a special limited edition cover. Only 800 copies feature this one... which probably explains why this copy was nine bucks at my local comic book store, despite nothing else being different about it.
(Cut back to the cover)
Linkara (v/o): Yeah, I'm not really a big fan of alternate cover collecting. I only care about whether the cover is appealing to the eye enough to make a reader want to pick it up. Dynamic Forces is a company all about limited-edition and autograph material, particularly comic book-related stuff, so it makes sense that they've got the tie-in here for a limited edition cover.
Linkara: If that's your thing, good for you, do what you want. But me personally, I don't appreciate that my only non-online option ordering for getting this comic is a version that's three times the price that it should be, especially if this comic is actually really, really bad, and it's about eighty times what it's worth.
Linkara (v/o): Although, that does make it a bit amusing for me that the back cover for this is just a color version of the front. Although, both actually look pretty nice. Kudos to the colorist here.
(The comic opens to the first page)
Linkara (v/o): We open on a beach, where two kids are playing.
Boy: Look at all the dead fish!
(Cut to a clip of the 1998 version of Godzilla)
Nick Tatopoulos (Matthew Broderick): That's a lotta fish.
(Cut back to the comic)
Linkara (v/o): The girl is making sand castles while the boy has a monster toy that he's repeatedly smashing down on a dead fish.
Linkara: A young Guillermo del Toro gets his first inspiration for Pacific Rim.
Linkara (v/o): Not quite sure why these kids want to play here, though. Dead fish are not exactly known for smelling all that great, especially when they're rotting in the sun.
Girl: You're not keeping that in our room now! It's going to smell like fish guts!
Linkara: As opposed to this beach, which no doubt smells like Irish Spring right now.
Linkara (v/o): And just to be an asshole, the boy smashes her sand castle with his toy. Dick.
Boy: I wish I had a real monster.
Linkara: (as the boy) Then my dream of ridding the world of all sand castles would (holds up fist) be fulfilled.
Girl: That's stupid.
Boy: No, it's not! If I had a real monster, it would be my friend, and we would have adventures!
(Cut to a clip of a commercial for My Pet Monster)
Announcer: My Pet Monster has breakaway chains! From AmToy, an American Greetings company.
(Back to the comic again)
Boy: I'd ride on his back, and I'd have him step on Kazuo's house! He's mean!
Linkara: Unlike you, kid, who has as gentle a soul as the Fixer.
Girl: Dad would never let you–
Linkara (v/o): Uh, let him what? Want to finish that sentence? They just suddenly look out at the water. And yes, a panel later, the water explodes upwards, but there's not even a sound effect to indicate what got their attention or interrupted them. Or did they just both suddenly realize the serenity of the ocean? Actually, the tip of a tail rises up out of the water. I was actually kind of confused at first, since the perspective of the first panel made it seem like the tip was only just taller than the kids, but of course, it's just a neat bit, with a third panel showing how monstrously larger that it is.
Girl: What is it?
Linkara: (as the boy) I don't know, sis, but it looks delicious!
Linkara (v/o): I was about to ask why Godzilla would be rising tail first, but the answer quickly becomes clear when a set of teeth rises up from the sand around the two kids. And the big G-man rises up... evidently with the kids still in the sand in his mouth. Oh, goody, the comic begins with two children being eaten by Godzilla. Still, this does raise some new questions. For starters, why was Godzilla apparently sleeping with his mouth wide open underneath a beach? Or was he in the ocean swimming towards their island, but he accidentally overshot his target and ended up surfacing on the beach instead of the water. It's gotta be really uncomfortable for him, too. The sand cannot taste good. The next page is surprisingly not showing the King of the Monsters spitting out sand and groaning in frustration, but rather cutting to the father of the kids on a fishing boat. Judging by the flag on the boat, it's pretty evident that we're starting off in Japan. The thing that's kinda confusing me about that, though, is that they're all speaking English. Now, you can probably presume it's just translated from Japanese, except usually in comics, American ones at least, they put chevrons around the text to indicate it's not really English for us. This doesn't have those.
Linkara: I've heard that in Japan, they'll randomly insert English words onto t-shirts and songs just because it's (makes a "finger quote") "cool", so... maybe these are all just a lot of people who want to be hip.
Linkara (v/o): In town, a man running a fish mart sweeps the front of his store when suddenly, the area starts to shake and he's knocked over. Sirens start going off, either indicating the town is about to be absorbed into the Otherworld of Silent Hill... or giant monster attack. Either option is possible with Japan, frankly.
Old man: I-It's a monster!
Linkara: (as a bystander) Izumi, you said that last week when your car got towed!
Linkara (v/o): (as Chester A. Bum) And oh, my God, this is the greatest monster attack I've ever seen in my life! (normal) The store owner's wife comes out, asking if it's another earthquake, but they quickly spot Godzilla.
Store owner: You have to be %$@#ing kidding me!
(Cut to a clip of The Thing)
MacReady (Kurt Russell): You've gotta be fucking kidding!
(Cut back to the comic)
Linkara (v/o): A mad rush of people start running like hell, knocking over an old lady. A guy stops to help her back up, but then the two are smushed by Godzilla.
Linkara: Great, combined with "Holy Terror" last week, apparently, I've begun an unintentional theme month: "Being Nice To People Gets You Killed"... Month.
(Cut to Dr. Linksano, who rises up, cackling)
Dr. Linksano: We'll be right back... with some SCIENCE!
(He cackles again as the AT4W logo appears in the corner and we go to a commercial break. Upon return, we see Dr. Linksano again)
Dr. Linksano: And now we're back! ...With, uh, slightly less science than I thought we would have.
(The AT4W logo appears in the corner. Cut back to the Godzilla comic as the review resumes)
Linkara (v/o): Meanwhile, at a... somewhere, a guy wearing a red X on his back gets a call about Godzilla.
Linkara: Oh, I get it, they're calling in the X-Men to deal with this.
Man: (on phone) Hello... Yes, speaking.
(Cut to a clip of Birdemic: Shock and Horror)
Rod: (talking on the phone) Okay, I'll give you that and a fifty percent discount. Can we close the deal today?
(Back to the comic again)
Man: What are you talking about?!
(Cut back to the Birdemic clip)
Rod: Can I place your order today?
(Cut back to the comic)
Man: Is this some kind of joke?!
(Cut again to the Birdemic clip)
Rod: Great, thanks. We appreciate your business.
(Back to the comic again)
Linkara (v/o): And he spots Godzilla and runs out.
(Cut back one more time to the Birdemic clip)
Rod: (pumping fists in the air) Whoo-hoo!
Ramsey: (entering the room) Hey, what's with all the noise?
Rod: Caught the big fish.
(Cut back to the comic)
Linkara (v/o): The Japanese Defense Forces quickly mobilize their jets and launch to attack Godzilla.
Linkara: I'll give you two guesses how well that plan goes.
Linkara (v/o): Yeah, your standard-issue missiles blow up and all it does is piss Godzilla off. Er, wait, that sound he makes. That's not a Godzilla roar. "SKRREEEE-OOONK!"
(Cut to a clip of The Self-Destruction of the Ultimate Warrior, showing the Warrior making a noise that apparently reads "SKRONK". Cut back to the comic again)
Linkara (v/o): Erm, so, anyway, Godzilla doesn't have pupils in this comic, unless you get really up close, like in this one shot, in which case he looks kind of like he's smiling.
(Linkara is standing close to the camera, off to the side in imitation of Godzilla's pose and expression)
Linkara: (as Godzilla) Ehhhhhh...
Linkara (v/o): After Godzilla destroys a jet with his tail, we cut to the Japanese Command Center, where the Prime Minister is being told the situation. It seems in between the page cut, Godzilla has returned to the ocean after devastating the small island, leaving hundreds dead.
Linkara: Godzilla is one of the weirdest characters in existence for simultaneously being a hero and a villain. And I don't mean in an antihero sense; I mean in a "Hmm, today I feel like killing lots of people. Yesterday, I felt like doing a funny dance in outer space."
(Cut to a clip of a Godzilla movie showing Godzilla doing a victory dance of sorts, then cut back to the comic)
Linkara (v/o): Godzilla's on his way to Tokyo Bay, and naturally, that can't be allowed, since, well, they'd rather not have it kill thousands if not millions of people. So, what's their suggestion?
Commander: Conventional weapons failed us. To save the lives of our citizens... to be sure it does not reach Tokyo... I believe we must look to a nuclear recourse.
Linkara: (stares, then puts his finger to his ear) Scusi?
Commander: I believe we must look to a nuclear recourse.
Linkara: (looking uncomfortable) Okay, for the record, I'm not in shock and confusion here because nukes were their only shot against Godzilla, since in this universe, it's the first time they've ever encountered it. But... Japan isn't part of the nuclear club. They have the capability, but they've been pretty explicit about avoiding nuclear weapons.
Linkara (v/o): Now, from what I've read, they do have the ability to produce weapons-grade plutonium in a pinch on the off chance they should need it, buuuut considering how close Godzilla is from the bay and the fact that we see a submarine launching a nuclear missile on the next page, that this was apparently just sitting around and they didn't have time to get said plutonium into a proper missile for the job. At first, I thought this might have been an American military advisor, but no, he explicitly says "Our citizens." I don't know, maybe they contacted Russia or the USA and asked them to fire the nuke, but it doesn't come across that way. So yeah, nuke gets launched from a sub and hits Godzilla right in the face. Also, the defense forces are monitoring the situation with a drone plane that's... rather close to the action from what it looks like. I don't know, maybe it's shielded from the EMP, but still. We also get another "SKREEE-OOOONK!" from Godzilla. I mean, I don't know how I would describe Godzilla's roar in terms of onomatopoeia, but I just wouldn't have ever figured it was the same sound that a donkey makes. And so, yeah, Godzilla takes the full force of the atomic blast in a rather nice-looking panel, with Godzilla inside the silhouette of the mushroom cloud. Nice. Back at H.Q., everyone's celebrating the apparent destruction of the creature, since, well, what could withstand nuke to the face? They also start pondering the questions that need to be answered, like where it came from, are there more like it, etc. However, before they can think too hard about it, the smoke from the explosion drifts away, revealing... a RED GODZILLA?!
Linkara: Oh, my God! (looks up) It's a shiny Godzilla! (takes a Pokeball down from the shelf, laughing) I am gonna stuff you in a tiny ball!
Linkara (v/o): Oh, but you're gonna love this. The first thing Godzilla does is shoot its atomic breath into the air in a kind of distorted line. Man, this version of Godzilla's got a curveball with his thermonuclear breath.
Scientist: (to the Prime Minister) Sir, it appears that the nuclear blast has somehow enabled this creature to breath fire.
(Cut to the obligatory pane from "Superman At Earth's End")
Hitler Clone: Of course. Don't you know anything about science?
(Back to the Godzilla comic again)
Prime Minister: You have to be %$@#ing kidding me!
(Cut to a clip of Silent Hill: Downpour)
Man: You gotta be kiddin' me...
(Cut back to the comic)
Linkara (v/o): And then we cut to Tokyo three hours later, where Godzilla is devastating everything and using his curved atomic fire to create a wave of death and destruction.
Linkara: Soooo... yeah... (puts comic down) That could've gone better. (takes a set of papers and writes in it) I am making a note here, changing the name of this from "Operation: Death Lizard" to "Operation: Whoopsie".
Linkara (v/o): Wait a second, that woman in purple... (a shot of an earlier panel is shown of the same woman) She was on the island that was attacked! And that guy in blue next to her, he was the guy that was crushed!
(Cut to a clip of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 gang watching Space Mutiny)
Crow T. Robot: I think it's very nice of you to give that dead woman another chance.
(Back to the comic again)
Linkara (v/o): We cut to the White House, where President Obama is having something of a bad day.
Obama: Hi, Dave. Did you see the latest from the whackos? Now I'm a socialist witch doctor out to perform Mengele-style experiments on infants in order to brainwash them into becoming Muslims.
Linkara: Well, that's just stupid. A witch doctor would be using magic. Mengele was a horrific scientist. Consistency, people, it's all I ask for.
Dave: Mr. President, we have a problem.
Linkara: (as Dave) It seems some uppity Internet critics are pissed off about our legislation. We're getting offers from some Emperor Palpatine-looking dude to get rid of them. (normal) What? This was published in 2011.
Obama: Worse than being accused of forming a legion of brainwashed Muslim babies? It doesn't make sense... babies can't even vote.
Linkara: You know, I'd ask why the hell he isn't in "serious" mode right now, but apparently, not even the military are taking this seriously, since they sent this Dave guy to tell him instead of, you know, the Defense Secretary or one of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Hell, tell him he needs to go to the Situation Room...
Dave: Sir, Tokyo is being destroyed by a giant creature.
Linkara: (as Obama) It's not one of those angel things again, is it? We scrapped the Evangelion program years ago.
Obama: That's a good one, Dave! Is it a socialist monster?
Linkara: (as Dave, stroking chin) Well, Godzilla did turn red a few pages ago...
Linkara (v/o): And so, our comic ends with Dave turning on the TV and showing Godzilla, or at least the previous pages of the comic.
Obama: The war... the economy... the oil spill... now this... You have to be @%$#ing kidding me.
Linkara: I ran out of clips for that line. (sarcastically) Thanks, Obama. (closes comic and holds it up) Anyway, this comic... (hesitantly) Well, it doesn't suck, but it's not very good either.
Linkara (v/o): I know it's supposed to establish this universe's version of Godzilla, but there's no meat to this: Godzilla appears, lots of people running, hit him with a nuke, President Obama makes jokes, end of issue. Say what you will about the latest Godzilla movie's human characters; at least it focused on them. In this, we meander around to a whole bunch of people like the kids, the shopowner, the Prime Minister, the cop, and none of them are developed, aside from the kids, who I'm pretty sure are dead in the first five pages. Still, the artwork's pretty decent.
Linkara: Yeah, this episode's kind of short, with us just covering the first issue, but last week, I spent an hour and a half ranting about Frank Miller. I think we could use a bit of a breather with something just okay at best. Besides, if what I've heard about "Kingdom of Monsters" is true, we're not done with it and we'll be coming back later on. (drops comic, gets up and leaves)
(End credits roll)
You'd think the news of a giant monster attack (plus the nuking of said giant monster) would have reached President Obama's desk a little quicker.
The sequel technique to "Boot to the Head" is "Nuke to the Face."
(Stinger: The MST3K gang is watching Godzilla vs. Megalon, particularly the part where Godzilla slides around on his tail and attacking with his feet out. Everyone laughs)
Tom Servo: Oh, that's rich.
(Godzilla backs up to attack a second time)
Crow: (as Godzilla) Wait, wait, I'll do it again! Look, I can do it even better this time! Okay, okay, wait, wait...