After an exceptional opening issue, Godzilla: Cataclysm is back for Round 2. Is it good?
Godzilla: Cataclysm #2 (IDW Publishing)
Last month, we established that the Toho Kaijus had destroyed the world, disappeared, and were now back. We open the second issue by establishing that the Toho Kaijus had destroyed the world, disappeared, and are now back.
Despite my snarkiness over the repetitive nature of the issue’s first few pages, we do get some nice insight into the religious fervor that has cropped up over the monsters’ various and lasting legends. We also get a good excuse for another gorgeous, monster-filled splash page by Dave Watcher, which is always appreciated.
Page 2 Says: “Go ahead editors…just try and cut me…if ya got the stones for it.”
Things then shift to the epic battle between Godzilla and Biollante. As if that wasn’t cool enough, Mothra shows up…and throws Biollante a heal (?). Something’s definitely very different in Cataclysm’s universe, made all the more apparent when Godzilla nearly roasts his one-time friend/ally before appearing to finish off Biollante for good.
‘Friends’? Where the hell were all my ‘friends’ back in 1998?!”
Meanwhile, the people on the ground are justifiably losing their minds. Some want to flee, while others want to go full dark ages and make sacrifices to appease the newly returned beasts. But one man seems to know more about the creatures’ sudden return than anyone else… including the terrible secret about why Godzilla is in such a grumpy/murderous mood.
Is It Good?
Once again, Cullen Bunn and Dave Watcher turn in another masterfully crafted issue. Let’s get the missteps out of the way first, though.
Like I said in my recap, the opening was a bit too reminiscent of the first issue’s opening. Some of the scene changes were also so abrupt that it caused the narrative to become a little jumbled.
But past that, this book was all types of fun to read. I don’t know anything about these characters, but Bunn has already made them accessible and very human. They aren’t reacting to the kaijus and their respective potential for destruction with mild curiosity; they’re realistically freaking the hell out.
The depiction of the monsters is even better. I already knew who/what Biollante was, but even if I hadn’t, Bunn and Watcher clearly establish the creature’s biology (and its unexpected ramifications for the world around it) in a way that the most unfamiliar of Godzilla readers could easily understand.
“EVERYDAY IS EARTH DAY!!!”
This isn’t just a big ole monster slugfest, though. Bunn took the opening chapter’s simplicity (Monsters Were Gone. Monsters Come Back) and in one ominous panel hooks us with a potentially fascinating story idea. He also uses that story angle to give us a different type of Godzilla. This one isn’t our destructive savior or a monster that we root for (yet). It’s a vengeful force of nature. That might be a little hard to swallow at first, but it also makes for one heck of a terrifying villain.
When you frame all of this great story work with Watcher’s art, you get what’s shaping up to be a legendary miniseries for one of IDW’s biggest franchises. This one could still go off the rails, but right now, Godzilla: Cataclysm is currently providing the Big G comic I desperately wanted after seeing the movie this summer.