"Godzilla: Legends" Trade Paperback Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by IDW Publishing
Originally Published as Godzilla: Legends #1 - #5
Written by Jeff Prezenkowski, Jon Vankin, Mike Raicht, Chris Mowry, and Bobby Curnow
Illustrated by Matt Frank, Simon Gane, Tony Parker, E.J. Su, and Dean Haspiel
2012, 130 Pages
Trade Paperback released on June 20th, 2012
There's something about giant monsters that is just so exciting. While Godzilla is busy tearing things up in his own comic, the other huge beasts are causing destruction of their own around the world. Godzilla: Legends turns the focus to the members of the big guy's rogues gallery and provides a varied look at some of the other creatures out there.
The book is split up into single issue stories, each centered on a different monster. You've got Anguirus, Rodan, Titanosaurus, Hedorah, and Kumonga. Of course, each chapter features guest stars because these guys need someone to fight. MechaGodzilla, Destroyah, and Godzilla himself all pop up throughout the five-issue run. One thing is clear though, regardless of the monster, the humans can't do a damn thing against them. They're powerless. Their best hope is to get out with their lives and if their homes aren't destroyed, they're lucky.
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Seriously, it's almost laughable how ineffective the people are against Godzilla and his buddies. Most of the time they just stand and watch and entire cities are leveled. Shooting the beasts with traditional guns and missiles does nothing but waste time as they're not even felt. This leads to a ton of bizarre experimental weapons like a sound that rebels monsters, telepathic children, and – my personal favorite – MechaGodzilla. Why not take the fight to Godzilla himself with a giant robot that can at least look the thing in the eye? That issue, Smog of War, written by Chris Mowry and illustrated by E.J. Su, stood out for this reason. It's framed like an old episode of Voltron with the different pilots all working to pilot the machine.
Smog of War also features the creepiest of Godzilla's foes: Hedorah. Instead of a giant reptilian monster, Hedorah is just a big pile of toxic waste. His body is acidic to the touch and he can change his shape to hide or evade enemies. Oh, and he can fly. All of this makes him a very dangerous foe and only the combined forces of Godzilla and MechaGodzilla are enough to stop him...for now. Hedorah is way scarier than the other monsters because he's not something you can just punch really hard. He's like anthropomorphized garbage and a purer representation of the pollution we've put the planet through. Godzilla was a response to that as well, but Hedorah is the literal meaning of it.
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What's disappointing about Godzilla: Legends is that there's no consistency between the stories. They're all happening on the same planet and everyone is affected by these monsters, but there's no concentrated effort to stop them. Instead there are those aforementioned hare-brained schemes that don't seem to go anywhere. There are a number of plot threads that are started up and then don't go anywhere. I haven't seen them mentioned even months later in the main Godzilla series. At some point it gets boring watching the humans try and fail to stop the monsters over and over again. I want a little more progress with the story.
Godzilla: Legends is a fun ancillary addition to the main Godzilla series. The big green guy makes regular appearances throughout the collection so casual fans won't feel like they're missing out. Die hard fans of the genre will find a lot to enjoy here. The art is varied but all pretty good, especially the fight scenes between the monsters and really that's all that matters. I wish there was more information on the human resistance, but for now it's fun to read about these things tearing through stuff. That's going to get old real quick though.