"Kill All Monsters! Omnibus: Volume 1" Graphic Novel Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Dark Horse Comics
Written by Michael May
Illustrated by Jason Copland
2017, 368 Pages
Graphic novel released on July 19th, 2017
Giant monsters vs. giant robots. For some of us, that's all the information you need to dive into a book or movie. Kill All Monsters! delivers that and adds a layer of actual human character development, which is a rarity in these types of tales. I have a love / hate relationship with Godzilla comics for this reason. It's often just a bunch of monsters stampeded around while a handful of humans helplessly flee for their lives. Sure, it looks cool, but there's nothing much past that.
Kill All Monsters! definitely showcases some awesome monster-on-robot fight scenes. What sets it apart is the human element that adds a much needed relatability. This war has been going on for decades and mankind is on its last legs. It's up to these few pilots and their mech-suits to return us to the top of the food chain.
Artist Jason Copland offers a wide range of players from both sides. The design for the robots could have all been the same, but that would have been boring. Instead, they're all unique and each is pretty cool. They would make awesome action figures. There's a definite influence of old-school stuff like Gundam or Voltron in the look and feel of the robots. I mean, one of them has a lion's head with dreadlocks. That can't possibly serve any functional purpose. It's just made to look cool.
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On the other side are the kaiju, which are even more varied. As the book goes on, there are more types introduced. These could have easily been villains that Voltron or Godzilla squared off against down the line. They range from giant versions of normal things like beetles to deformed floating squid beasts.
Copland creates some expert-level fight choreography which keeps the battles intense and exciting. The giants are just punching each other really hard. The robots are leaping around like they're a fraction of their size, using every weapon at their disposal to take out these creatures. That could be blades, missiles, or as is the case in the opening chapter, the top of the Eiffel Tower. (Yes, it's as awesome as it sounds.)
We get a bit of the backstory as to where the monsters came from, but it's left a little vague. In the scheme of things, it's not that important. Instead, we're laser focused on what the remnants of humanity are doing to put an end to the monster menace once and for all, as well as the obstacles that stand in their way. It makes for a very compelling story that only gets more intriguing as time goes on. This is an alternate timeline where kaiju showed up in the 1950s and decimated the world. The comic picks up decades later as mankind is trying to scrape by.
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This omnibus collects a ton of content, only some of which was originally available as a web comic. There's some new tales exclusive to this edition that expand on the world introduced in the first massive story. It shows the scope and breadth of this mythos. There are countless stories that writer Michael May and artist Jason Copland can tell here.
Kill All Monsters! is the kaiju comic I've been looking for for years. It delivers on insane fight scenes on an epic scale and balances that with strong character development that makes you really care about the story. It's much more than just big monsters and robots stomping around a major city. Yes, it certainly has that and you might come for it, but you'll stay for the humans. When was the last time you heard that about a Godzilla story?