Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Marvel Comics' "Godzilla" Issue # 3 "A Tale of Two Saviors"

Synopsis: Godzilla surfaces in San Francisco, threatening the Golden Gate Bridge. The L.A.-based superhero squad "The Champions" are alerted to Godzilla's appearance, and speed to the rescue in the "Champscraft," landing on the Golden Gate Bridge itself. In the meantime, S.H.I.E.L.D.'s helicarrier is also heading for Godzilla, setting up a clash not only between man and monster, but competing "first responder" teams. Their efforts do nothing to prevent the destruction of the bridge, and Godzilla once again heads back out to sea.

High Point: The destruction of the Golden Gate Bridge deserved a bigger panel, but it remains the payoff moment of this issue.

Low Point: The Champions' Hercules (yes, that Hercules--even though in the Marvel universe Hercules speaks in Elizabethan English...and I quote: "Dost thou know to whom thou speakest, mortal?") "succeeds in the impossible" by straining, Altas-style, under one of Godzilla's feet until he flips Godzilla on his back. I mean, come on.

Hmmm Moment: The theme of "Godzilla as a friend to good-hearted humans" is expanded, ever so slightly, as he "almost playfully" crushes the S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarrier's dorsal fin. Again I quote: "Later one of the crew will liken the curious gesture to that of a wistful uncle tweaking his cute nephew's button nose. The crewman, it should be mentioned, is far more perceptive than anyone suspects...including himself."

Bottom Line: The same story arc has now been repeated three times: Godzilla attacks; defense forces engage him; they are ineffectual in stopping the Big G; and he rides off into the sunset. The most promising storyline--the construction of the anti-Godzilla weapon--is dangled for one page to make sure the reader is still hanging around. The introduction of true comic book superheroes marks a change in tone, taking the series out of the realm of science fiction and into the universe of comic fantasy. There is something fun about that, yet the mix of kaiju and superhero seems uneasy at best--and at worst (i.e. Herc's flip move) it lapses into absurdity. For better or for worse, the series is about to take an even stranger turn...


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