Review: Godzilla: Awakening

MINOR SPOILERS AHEAD—YE HAVE BEEN WARNED Godzilla will once again stomp on the big screen, courtesy of the second attempt at an American version of the Japanese classic movie monster.  The reassuring factor that this effort will be substantially better is that the movie studio handling the production is the same that delivered Nolan’s Batman films, The Hangover, Pacific Rim, and 300: Legendary Studios.

Legendary provides Godzilla Awakening as a prequel measure to drum up hype and get people interested in seeing the film—as if we really needed any more reason to go see Godzilla on May 16th.

Many things have been done right with this prequel.  First, the cover is by Art Adams, a devoted Godzilla fan and artist who provided illustrations on Dark Horse’s run with Big G.

Three artists divvy up the work of the 82-page graphic novel (actually, 71 pages of comic and 11 pages of end-of-graphic novel filler such as documentation, pencil sketches, and ads).  The artwork brings Godzilla to live in a savage and ferocious way.  The whole book’s inexpensive price can be justified by page 27’s full spread.  I won’t spoil the shot, but you will soil yourself when you see just how cool it is.

The monster fights look great, and there’s never any confusion as to what’s happening.  The M.U.T.O design takes on an ethereal, bat like demon shape.  What’s even better is the fact that the creature feeds on humans.  Yes, this Godzilla has taken on the same intensity we saw with the recent Gamera movies when creatures like Gaos consumed humans for sustenance (and horror).  This Godzilla pulls no punches, and the action serves of some great moments.

Godzilla_Awakening_cover-1I must note that some of the artwork looks to have a Sam Keith/Todd McFarlane fell to it, and that serves the comic well.

We get a fare dose of Godzilla in this story that chronicles the origins of the two monsters over the span of time.  Most of the story follows Serizawa and his travels to hunt and repel the monsters attacks.  General Patton takes a multi-nation taskforce to stop the creatures.

All the necessary plot points are included, especially the connection to atomic energy.  Wisely updated for the modern version, Godzilla: Awakening provides logical elements that never pull one out of the story (granted, it’s not much to argue logical plot elements when speaking of a giant dragon creature, but this comic makes a damned good case with the culpable storytelling).

Because this is a prequel, the conclusion of the novel doesn’t leave much for surprise.  However, the content within—both story and art—make this a great set-up for the film’s release in eight days.  You will have a great deal of fun with this book, and you will want to order your tickets as soon as you finish reading.

Score: 4/5

Writers: Max Borenstein and Greg Borenstein Artist: Eric Battle, Yvel Guichet, Alan Quah and Lee Loughridge Publisher: Legendary Comics Price: $19.99 Release Date: 5/7/14 Format: OGN, Print/Digital