• Godzilla In Hell

    Godzilla In Hell
    Released by: IDW Publshing
    Released on: February 17th, 2016.
    Written by: Various
    Illustrated by: Various
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    With the five issue series collected in this one hundred and thirty page trade edition of Godzilla In Hell, the creative types at IDW Publishing tried something different. Rather than just once again get the ‘Big G’ to stomp Tokyo or trash a city while various human character putter about trying to figure out how to stop that from happening, they took the world’s most famous kaiju and, quite literally, sent him to Hell. If this sounds like a weird idea, well, it is, but sometimes weird ideas are the best ideas. This is hands down the best Godzilla comic of IDW’s run with the character so far.

    The first issue, written and illustrated by James Stokoe, literally sees Godzilla fall down a massive pit. He slams against the bottom and looks up to see the words ‘ABANDON HOPE ALL YE WHO ENTER HERE’ cared into the rock, but as Godzilla probably can’t read, he just gets up and blasts it with his Godzilla breath ray. As he walks away from the rubble, the word ‘LUST’ forms in the dust. He heads out to see what he can see, strange eyes working their way out of the odd buildings built out of stone, smoke emitting out of what look like the cooling towers of a nuclear power plant visible in the distance. When he inspects those towers a mutated creature emerges and attacks, but you know Godzilla isn’t going down in the first issue.

    As he approaches what looks like a storm could, Godzilla soon realizes it’s not a cloud but a swarm of human bodies, big enough to overtake him… or maybe not. On the other side of that swarm he comes face to face with a modern version of himself – recognizable, but different, just like in the movies. It’s a very cool touch. But this creature is not what it seems, It mutates quickly and they do battle…

    …which sends Godzilla down to the next level, written and illustrated by Bob Eggleton. In The Abyss, Godzilla, the leviathan, does battle with the great demon Rodan, a creature with leather wings who swoops down at him with ‘pure brute strength.’ The cities around them are damned from the start, epic detestation ensues and when Godzilla makes it out, he finds himself in icy catacombs of sorts, where Anguirus waits for him, frozen in the ice. They battle, the ice shatters, and from the depths of the sea comes his next foe, Varan, but as easily as Varan is vanquished, it’s nothing to prepare him for the emergence of King Ghidorah!

    Ulises Farinas and Erick Freitas write the third issue, which is illustrated by Buster Moody. With Godzilla having been swept down yet again into the bowels of the underworld, a destitute land of smoke and ash that may or may not be a Hellish version of Rio de Janeiro, he once again faces an alternate version of himself. Space Godzilla emits a massive blast, destroying much of the city surrounding the two titans, but he gets it back in return. Eventually the planet explodes, and Godzilla wakes up in a serene field of flowers and… moths. They guide him to a massive mountain covered in eyeballs that tell him ‘Submit, Serve, Peace’ over and over again but after he kills one of the moth people he’s once again kicked down into another layer of Hell where miniature devils flutter about the shoulders of Space Godzilla, not yet down for the count.

    Issue four is written by Brandon Seifert and illustrated by Ibrahim Moustafa and it begins with a dramatic splash page depicting Godzilla standing over the body of King Ghidorah and laying next door, Destroyah. But they’re note dead. They emerge from the rubble and team up against Godzilla, the three monsters laying waste to a city as they do battle. Godzilla is impaled but the wound is not fatal – or is it? Once Destroyah and Ghidorah turn their sites on one another, the shift of the skirmish will change. But will the wall surrounding the city keeping the combatants inside ever come down?

    In the fifth and final issue, written and illustrated by Dave Wachter, Godzilla runs across an empty plain into a massive snowstorm. So cold is this storm that icicles form from his breath but soon enough he makes it into a cave where things heat up very quickly indeed, particularly the massive river of blood that flows through the crevices. He falls through the floor to some stalagmites below only to be attacked by a horde of winged, and very toothy, creatures. The swarm chases him, he can’t escape, in fact they follow him back outside where he attempts to climb a mountain only for everything to come tumbling down around him…

    At the end of the five issues proper there’s also a cover gallery showcasing the regular covers of each issue as well as the different variant covers that were produced for the run. There are also some pages from Eggleston where he talks about his influences, how and why he brought Millennial Godzilla into the story and where his visions of Hell came from.

    Five issues, five very different art styles –but it works. The story flows really well from one issue to the next, which isn’t common in collaborative works such as this one. Each artist and writer brings something unique to their specific issue which means that things stay fresh from start to finish. The storyline evolves from basic monster mash mayhem to surrealist takes on what it means to be in Hell to, when it is all said and done, the meaning of redemption but at any given time you can expect fantastic detail, dramatic layouts, great use of color and some of the best damn monster battles you’re ever going to see in comic book form.

    Although this seems like light reading at first, the more you get into it the more you’ll get out of it. There’s a lot more to this than just making Godzilla fight other monsters in barren Hellish landscapes, there’s an evolution throughout, a way in which Earthly sin seems to manifest and seek vengeance against that which committed such foul atrocities in the first place. In some ways, this is a very Catholic Godzilla, penance seems to play a part here too. It’s trippy, heady stuff and it’s really, really well done. All involved should take a bow, it’s hard to imagine the mini-series working any better than it does in this incarnation. Top notch monster comic craziness!