The new series, Godzilla: Monsters & Protectors #1, has an animated style that lends itself to the middle-school narrator and general audience-friendly premise. It could actually serve as a good template for Warner Bros. if they want to develop their recent Godzilla franchise into an animated form, much like what Universal did with Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous.
In the premiere issue, that narrator is young junior-high student Cedric Nishimura. He’s your typical Hawaiian kid who now lives with his parents in Tokyo and attends an American school. He also hosts his own social media podcast called The C-Vlog, and this is how he’s telling the story.
One day in science class, Cedric’s teacher turns on the broadcast of an historic, new clean energy plant being activated by the Unival Corporation. It will be able to transmit energy via wireless electromagnetism, and it’s stationed on a completely artificial island that was constructed by the corporation through 3D printing. As Cedric and his classmates watch, the power switch is turned on; however, the radiation’s effects on sea life prompt a retaliation from the Earth’s “immune system,” the one and only Godzilla.
In this continuity, it has been years since anyone has seen Godzilla. His last appearance pre-dates Cedric’s birth. Is there something else besides the Unival event to cause his return? Could someone be controlling Godzilla? Cedric and his friends, Emily and Anderson, hypothesize about the causes of and defenses against his new rampage, not knowing they will be tied directly to the fate not only of the king of the monsters, but of the entire world.
Even though this comic is aimed at a younger audience, the script suffers from being uneven. Unlike Godzilla, this first issue is top heavy. It’s curious just how much space Burnham’s script gives up to a press conference explaining the gobbledy-gook Unival technology, when any reader knows it’s just a means of bringing Godzilla into the story. I would be curious how young readers respond to such a drawn-out expository scene, because after several readings, it’s still not entirely clear how it works.
It’s also unclear how Cedric and his friends will tie into the larger story beyond being mere spectators. One last image on the final page provides a clue as to a possible opponent for the king of the monsters, but not our narrator’s involvement.
Luis Antonio Delgado is a great colorist. The shading and textures to Schoening’s pencils add three dimensions to the stylized, two-dimensional designs. Strangely enough, the best panels were directly related to how the light and shadow was rendered in a classroom scene and in panels under the sea, not necessarily the action panels of Godzilla knocking down power plants or hurling atomic breath at other monsters.
Hopefully, as the series progresses, the characters and story elements will tie more closely together. It would make sense for an animated series to borrow the style and perspective of this comic as inspiration to develop an animated series.
For all readers. Features mayhem and scenes of destruction.
Creative Team: Erik Burnham (script), Dan Schoening (art), Luis Antonio Delgado (color), Nathan Widick (letters and design), Megan Brown (editor), Tom Waltz (supervising editor)
Publisher: IDW Publishing
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