Friday, 20 November 2015

Godzilla in Hell Review (James Stokoe, Bob Eggleton)

I’ve never read a Godzilla comic before so I’m not sure if this is like Hellboy in Hell where it’s the next part of a years-long story or whether Godzilla in Hell is just a one-off, standalone Elseworlds-type deal. It seems self-contained anyway so newbs like me can experience comic book Godzilla in a done-in-one book. 

Godzilla's in Hell – never has a title been so apt! A different creative team handles each of the five issues, all of which are silent except for issue two, which makes sense – Godzilla shouldn’t have any inner or outer monologue! Each issue he fights some of his deadliest Kaiju buds until the weird Buddhist ending. 

There’s not much to the story, characters, etc. – the major (and really only) selling point is the amazing art in each issue. James Stokoe writes/draws the first issue which was definitely my favourite. Besides the epic scale, confident, clean line and beautiful detail in the comic, I liked how Stokoe drew Godzilla’s eyes which wordlessly and brilliantly indicated a keen intelligence and wary personality. 

Bob Eggleton writes/draws the second issue, the only one with narrative boxes, which is also apparently the first painted Godzilla comic ever. Eggleton’s inspirations for this issue come from artists like John Martin, Gustave Dore, and JMW Turner, giving Hell this rich, classical look with icy tundra, roiling seas and a foreboding sense of horror – wonderful! 

The third issue, written by Ulises Farinas and Erick Frietas with art by Buster Moody shows us how Godzilla came to be in Hell (which is of course OTT), while the fourth issue (written by Brandon Seifer with art by Idrahim Moustafa and Marissa Louise) is a classic Godzilla story with lots of Kaiju fighting in a city. It’s definitely the weakest in the collection for falling back on this indistinct, generic approach. 

The final issue written/drawn by Dave Wachter has some pretty cool imagery even if it doesn’t shed much light on what the book’s story was supposed to be! Then again, maybe Godzilla fans don’t care about that sort of thing? Throughout, Godzilla battles the likes of Rodan, Anguirius, Varan and King Ghidorah, whipping his tail and using his fire breath to defeat them all – isn’t that all the fans want? If so, fill yer boots here! I suppose in that regard he’s quite a limited character too. 

There may be the barest of stories here with no effort at characterisation and the lack of words makes for a very quick read, but Godzilla in Hell is a visually spectacular book. It’s definitely worth checking out if you’re a fan of amazing art featuring Godzilla and his rogues gallery.

Godzilla in Hell

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