By: Cullen Bunn (writer), David Wachter (artist)
The Story: Some say the world will end in fire, some say in ice. But they all agree that it will end.
The Review: Though you wouldn’t know it at first glance, IDW’s Godzilla: Rulers of Earth is a direct sequel to its previous two Godzilla series. Particularly of late, I’ve been impressed by how that series’ writer Chris Mowry has handled the continuity, but when you’re dealing with giant monsters, it’s kind of rough knowing that nothing can change that a future series doesn’t have the option to change back. It’s a problem that most comics featuring long running characters face, but perhaps that’s why Godzilla: Cataclysm has such an innate energy about it.
Set twenty years after an all out monster invasion, Cataclysm introduces us to a world devastated by kaiju. Survivors live in shanty towns, hunting wildlife wandering through the ruins of “the world that was”. The whole thing is impressively atmospheric.
Cullen Bunn does an admirable job of giving us a taste of the monster action we came for through flashbacks, though I imagine that some readers will be disappointed with the long wait for a present day kaiju appearance. More important this issue is the human cast. Though the characterization they’re given is hardly conclusive, the attention paid to Arata and Shiori seems to imply that Bunn intends to tackle the frequent problems of human overexposure and irrelevance head on. They could become beloved figures, but for now I’m happy to see that the series has a way to give a human perspective on the age of monsters without propping up its characters like some kind of straw man observer. Of course the character who steals the show is Arata’s grandfather.
Though he appears limitedly, the unnamed old man is the one character who we get to know this issue. Clearly the same writer who gave us the beautiful, if wordy, Magneto, Bunn crafts an impressive monologue for the issue, one that immediately demonstrates the almost mystical power of the kaiju and the degree to which they dwarf human buildings, bodies, and pride. It’s a well written and intelligent way to open the series, but I hope that Bunn has some more original ideas to introduce or it may grow stale.
While the tone and characterization are resonant, it does feel like other elements were sacrificed for them. The world Bunn presents seems a little confused. Despite twenty years of silence and the claim that most people don’t even believe in kaiju any longer, Tokyo remains a ruin. It’s fun to see the gritty post-apocalyptic aesthetic applied to the daikaiju genre, but it doesn’t entirely make sense, nor does it seem the most interesting choice. At the risk of editorializing, I’d be much more interested to see how different parts of the world have dealt with the Cataclysm and the varying ways they’ve rebuilt.
Another problem is the pace. The book changes focus roughly every five pages and, while it benefits from the slow burn approach it takes, not all of these sections mesh with that decision. Particularly during action scenes it becomes apparent how significantly and unevenly decompressed this issue can be. In comics, time and space are one and the same and you only get so much.
Filed under: IDW, Reviews | Tagged: Anguirus, Arata, Biollante, Chris Mowry, Cullen Bunn, David Wachter, Godzilla, Godzilla Rulers of Earth 12 Review, Godzilla: Cataclysm, Godzilla: Cataclysm 1, Godzilla: Cataclysm 1 Review, Kamacuras, King Ghidorah, Manda, Mothra, Shiori | 1 Comment »