Godzilla: Aftershock

Godzilla: Aftershock
Godzilla Aftershock review
  • North American Publisher / ISBN: Legendary Comics - 978-1-6811605-3-5
  • Release date: 2019
  • UPC: 9781681160535
  • Contains adult content?: no
  • Does this pass the Bechdel test?: no
  • Positive minority portrayal?: yes

Aftershock references the 2014 Godzilla movie, and is touted as a prequel to the 2019 film Godzilla: King of the Monsters, introducing several of the cast, including palaeontologist Emma Russell, as played by Vera Farmiga in the film. Also featured is terrorist Alan Judge, and you can bet your overcoat Charles Dance playing him in the film is nowhere near as physically active as Judge is here.

Mindful of his audience, Arvid Nelson takes a very cinematic approach, concentrating on the human cast and minimising Godzilla’s appearances for maximum effect. Emma is single-minded in researching every possible opportunity for greater knowledge of Godzilla, and reckless with her own safety when called in by the Monarch organisation. She tours some very deep caverns, all the while increasing her expertise by learning of ancient legends around the globe. Nelson’s dips back into history are suitably framed in ancient phrasing, sometimes oblique such as “And then our prayers were answered. With the radiance of a thousand sons, great Dagon opened his eyes”. Best not to concentrate on what may read well, but isn’t actually greatly logical, but then myths are myths, not truths.

Drew Johnson is far better known as a cover artist than one of internal strips, so it’s nice to see him back producing stories, and he’s billed as Drew Edward Johnson to commemorate the occasion. This is very good art. The sample pages concentrate on his spectacular Godzilla illustrations, because that’s what people want to see, but given the cinematic nature of the plot, they’re restricted, and Johnson is equally good, although necessarily less flashy, when it comes to conversations moving the plot forward. His cast likenesses are approximate, suggesting people rather than picturing the actors exactly. He’s also called on to draw a form of mythical Godzilla, referenced a few times during Aftershock, and devises an appealing tiled look to illustrate the legends.

Aftershock’s plot has to set the Monarch organisation and leading cast in place for what happens in King of the Monsters, and between them Nelson and Johnson do this efficiently while still providing their own exciting action drama. It’s tense, reveals new information about the Kaiju, and it looks great. In that respect, job done, but Aftershock comes as a hardcover with a hefty price tag for 112 pages, so the cheaper digital version may be the preferable option.