Godzilla Legends

Writer / Artist
Godzilla Legends
Godzilla Legends review

Earlier versions of Godzilla in American comics were from publishers who only paid Toho Productions to licence the use of the main monster. IDW pushed the boat out, and also sprung for the rights to use assorted other monsters Godzilla’s battled across cinema screens over the years, and Godzilla Legends spotlights five of them in solo stories. Respectively we’re treated to the armadillo-like Anguirus, pterodactyl Rodan, Titanosaurus, smog monster Hedorah, and the spider Kumonga, each from a different creative team.

While all stories provide the monster rampages we want to see, there’s a problem prompting speculation the entire budget has been spent on licensing, as the book opens with Matt Frank (sample spread left) whose pages resemble those of a promising fan artist needing guidance. All too often Anguirus and fellow monster Destoroyah are seen in close-up, and when viewed from distance they’re covered in smoke and shadow to prevent Frank having to draw detail. Clumsy layouts and poorly drawn people compound the problem, and the quality kills a story Frank co-plots with Jeff Prezenkowski.

It’s a relief to the turn the page and reach Simon Gane’s collaboration with Jonathan Vankin. That concerns an obsessive military scientist for whom research is all, and how his son suffers for his father’s eccentric reputation at the base’s school. It’s amusingly dark, and by concentrating on the people rather than Rodan it may disappoint some, but it’s solidly produced.

The same concentration on people is also apparent in Mike Raicht and Tony Parker’s look at Tristan, whom we first see being contacted telepathically, and follow through his leaving home and subsequent training in a specialist school for those gifted with mental abilities. The plot’s functional but it disappoints for spending too much time on events that could have been contracted, leaving Titanosaurus almost incidental in his own story.

Chris Mowry and E.J. Su focus on the people piloting the mechanical Mechagodzilla as they encounter Hedorah. Fighting smoke is a near impossible task, but fortunately there’s an intervention. Su keeps the art simple and effective, and Mowry has an environmental twist to deliver.

Adventurer Bryson Allworth is lured out of retirement for the closer, and tasked with climbing Godzilla. It’s a nutty idea from Bobby Curnow, well drawn by Dean Haspiel (sample right), and an experience offering surprises and humour, if rather postponing the expected Kumonga until halfway through. However, the very different approach and poignant ending make for the best offering.

It’s ironic and purely coincidental that the poorest of the five stories is the one with the greatest focus on the actual monsters, but if you can work your way past the art on that there’s fun to be had.