Review: Godzilla: Cataclysm #1

The new Godzilla title from IDW begins with a flashback revealing how kaiju appeared and ravaged the world.  Cleverly illustrated, the scene’s red tone symbolically displays the terrible power of the monsters.  Godzilla blasting Ghidora with some blue atomic breath provides a stark contrast from the crimson panels. Shifting to the story’s present, we meet Arata and his grandfather.  The central characters of the book live in an apocalyptic future living under the threat of the monsters return.  While the kaiju haven’t been seen for some twenty years, the possibility of an attack looms heavily.

GODZILLA_CATACL_01_CVR_AArata and his friend explore and come across a bear carcass.  When the carcass disappears, the two young men realize that the age of monsters has not ended.

I am elated that IDW rolled out a new Godzilla title because so many stories can be told in the character’s universe.  Unfortunately, this latest book suffers from the same problems that so many other books (except Half-Century War and Rulers of Earth) suffer.  We have a flashback of Godzilla at the start to appease the readers followed by fifteen pages of story progression before Godzilla appears.

In issue one Godzilla is not an integral part of the story; instead, he appears only to serve as the equivalent to the last-minute run-in during a professional wrestling program.  I understand that a story needs to be told in order to make the Godzilla parts so interesting.  One of my favorite Godzilla movies, Terror of Mechagodzilla, has the same formula.

The idea that Godzilla plays a supporting character in his own title makes this a difficult book to endorse.  I am fascinated by the idea of an apocalyptic future caused by the monsters.  That tone imitates the idea of a survivor fighting for his or her life in the wake of a natural disaster.

Godzilla: Cataclysm takes its place with Gangsters and Goliaths, Legends, and Kingdom of Monsters as another rehashing of a problematic format.

Score: 2/5

Writer: Cullen Bunn Artist: Dave Wachter Publisher: IDW Publishing Price: $3.99 Release Date: 8/13/14 Format: Ongoing; Digital/Print