'Godzilla: Rulers of the Earth' features the King of Monsters going up against a wave of new creatures sent by aliens to make Earth monster-free to make it easier to colonize. What does that mean for the reader? A lot of monsters bashing into each other while humans comment on it, just like a Godzilla movie. Unlike a Godzilla movie however, we don't get the benefit of wonderfully dorky rubber suits and detailed models of Tokyo to smash, which seems to be the big thing standing in the way of a successful Godzilla comic. Apparently there have been some really good ones, even recently from IDW (http://www.warrenellis.com/?p=14075), but the challenge remains in translating to comics a character that arguably works best on film. Now I used the words 'new monsters' rather loosely, to be specific they are new to the universe of the comic which to the best of my knowledge seems to be removed from existing Godzilla canon. For fans of the series, the comic is a who's who of Big Smashy Monsters, as the new characters are Godzilla regulars like Mothra, Rodan, and Destroyah. There aren't compelling human characters, staying true to the Godzilla formula, just a collection of slightly differently shaped mortals whose exposition is required to help sort out what's going one when Big Monster #1 hits Big Monster #2.
It's hard to tell how much of the writing is a tribute to corniness of classic Godzilla films and how much is just a product of bad writing. The dialogue is awkward, with occasional strange expressions that made me have to read certain bubbles two or three times to make sure it wasn't just my brain farting. It's difficult to tell if anything of consequence happened either, but I don't know what I should be expecting from a Godzilla book.
The art is serviceable and better than my two other recent forays into the dingy world of licensed comics. The human characters are rather bland and ugly, but the monsters look good and have character and excusing one or two panels it's easy to understand what is happening, an achievement when drawing a giant monster fight. It actually like artist Matt Frank wants to draw what he's drawing which is more that can be said for a lot of these kinds of books. Colorist Priscilla Tramontano matches the art well, with bright colorful organized tones.
Not being a hardcore Godzilla fan I can't really say whether the book does it's fanservicey duties. Are Godzilla fans interested in a serviceable book about the most familiar characters in the franchise slapping each other in static comic book form? Maybe, and the book is actually good enough to leave that question up in the air. The book does nothing for me as a non-fan but doesn't leave me in angry writhing like the reprehensible 'Robocop: The Last Stand' did. If you're a fan, maybe give it a go.
Story: Chris Mowry and Matt Frank Writer: Chris Mowry Artist: Matt Frank with Jeff Zornow Publisher: IDW Publishing Price: $3.99 Release Date: 9/25/13