I’m honestly not sure what the heck was going on last issue, so let’s just dive right into this one. Is it good?
Godzilla: Rulers of Earth #18 (IDW Publishing)
This issue opens in Brazil, where the researchers are fleeing for their lives from a recently hatched giant bug… right before Lucy kicks the creature in the face and starts yelling at it.
But after that bit of silliness is over, we’re immediately treated to Godzilla and Ebirah locking horns in one of the most spectacular fight scenes Matt Frank has ever drawn.
“PREPARE TO BE DIPPED INTO WARM BUTTER, VILE CREATURE!”
As if that weren’t awesome enough, Megaguirus enters the fray as well, resulting in a breath taking double page spread that will make digital readers like me curse not having a hard copy of the issue.
While Lucy and the other researchers flee for their lives (rather than philosophically discuss why the monsters should be protected or some crap), Chris Mowry choreographs a fight scene between the three kaiju that is equal parts beautiful, brutal, and chaotic.
We also get a callback from Lucy to her encounter with Mothra from issue #9. This got me all kinds of excited because it’s the first time I’ve felt like I was ‘on the inside’ of the title’s dense mythology.
But I digress… the issue ends with an interesting revelation about where the plot may be going (!) along with Godzilla getting put into what could generously be described as an unappetizing situation. From a reader standpoint, however, it’s a delicious conclusion due to a couple of factors:
– It’s a great cliffhanger that flowed organically from the spectacular fight scene that dominated most of the issue.
– It sets up another kick ass fight for the next issue
Is It Good?
This is what the title needs to do every week.
I know that I don’t speak for all (or even most) of the Godzilla: Rulers of Earth readership, but I think everyone can agree that this was a fantastic issue. So why did it inspire me to lavish glowing praise upon it instead of my usual negative-tinted analysis? I’m glad you asked…
1.) Matt Frank went completely berserk in this one. The guy always delivers, but this was on another level even for him.
And it’s not like he was even working with the best-looking kaiju, either. Most depictions of Ebirah that I’ve seen (both in film and comics) have been more likely to inspire a craving for Red Lobster than any sort of shock and awe. But in Frank’s hands, the kinetic, thrashing energy of the beast truly made Ebirah appear to be a formidable threat.
“BRING ME MORE CHEESY BISCUITS!!!”
A big part of that credit should also go to Chris Mowry, who choreographed the hell out of the issue’s epic fight scene.
As far as Megaguirus is concerned, Frank’s pencils were greatly aided by Priscilla Tramontano’s coloring working, which make the creature’s powers/features pop beautifully off the page.
But this series has almost always done fight scenes incredibly well. So what else helped it to be by far my favorite issue of the series since the opening story arc?
2.) None of the series antagonists showed up to act like the villains from 1980’s cartoon shows. I know we’ll get back to the purple dude eventually (ugh), but it was wonderful just to watch Mowry/Frank tell a classic-feeling, action packed story.
3. I’ll be honest—at the beginning of the issue, I was ready to give up. Those opening pages were a microcosm of everything about this series that drives me nuts…or to be more specific, the ridiculous actions of the human characters. Unlike in Godzilla: Cataclysm, the humans in ‘Rulers of Earth’ make me want to slam my head against a wall. Repeatedly.
But in this issue, we got to see them react to the chaos around them in a way that felt very real and relatable. There was also the great callback to Lucy’s encounter with Mothra, which added a nice buffer of dramatic tension between kaiju fisticuffs.
I’m totally fine with the series being ‘fun’, but the characters felt a lot more mature in this issue (aside from the kicking a monster in the face thing), which in turn made me actually care about them when kaiju dung started hitting the fan.
I know that the following issues will probably need to dive back into the Cryog/Space Godzilla/Alien Invasion stuff, but I hope that we see more issues like this one. But even if the series did move in a direction to tell more stories like this (and make me one of the happiest people in the world), the incredible work produced in Godzilla: Rulers of Earth #18 would still be hard to top.