Review: Godzilla: Gangsters & Goliaths #1

The quest to figure out how to make compelling comic books about a giant monster who never speaks continues.

Andy Hunsakerby Andy Hunsaker

Godzilla: Gangsters & Goliaths #1

As mentioned previously when discussing Eric Powell's take on the big gorilla-whale (which is the literal translation of 'Gojira,' so's ya knowz) over in Kingdom of Monsters, it's always been difficult to find a way to take a super-popular charcater like Godzilla an actually build regular, recurring stories around him, since he is a giant lizard monster who doesn't speak.  However, since Marvel managed to crank out three years worth of comic stories back in the 1970s, IDW is taking a crack at it now with two different series that don't seem to connect to each other.  Over in Powell's KoM story, the monsters have just risen up and are beating the snot out of the world and humans have no clue what to do about it, so Girly Yaya sings about protecting them and what-not.  Here in Godzilla: Gangsters and Goliaths #1, however, they've all been herded onto one island and John Layman's attempting to wave a cop drama around it.

Makoto Sato is a grizzled Japanese cop who's refused bribery from a crimelord by the name of Takahashi in the name of trying to bring him down, and that got his partner killed and his sons threatened.  Sato himself is captured and dragged out to sea, but he manages to escape before the goons pull the trigger, and he swims desperately to Monster Island to try and lose his pursuers.  Of course, he doesn't, and they manage to piss off Godzilla and get fried for their trouble.  Sato, meanwhile, is rescued by Mothra and taken in by the keepers of Shobijin, aka the Elias, the little fairies who can influence the behavior of that colorfully winged beast.  No sooner does Sato learn what these two tiny women in a box can do than he immediately grabs them, books to a boat and takes off, thinking he can use them to use Mothra to kill Takahashi.  Oh, Sato.  That won't end well.

Layman's story at least promises to be an interesting use of daikaiju, and oddly enough brings to mind an old story in Marvel's original 1980s Transformers series, wherein a loser by the name of Donny Finkleberg finds a brain-damaged Megatron and uses him for his own gain.  Sato's motives are more altruistic, but they retain some of that selfishness.  This could turn out to be a pretty cool notion, but it's going to suffer from Alberto Ponticelli's punishingly unpleasant artwork.  His monsters are okay, but his humans are rarely something anyone would voluntarily want to look at.

That said, one feels somewhat compelled to see exactly how Sato plans to use Mothra against a crimelord, and any chance that a Godzilla story manages to find a good hook to keep going is a chance that should be taken.  Giant monsters are too cool not to try everything you can to utilize properly.