IDW likes to have a Godzilla mini-series running alongside the current ongoing. First they had the popular Gangsters and Goliaths, which combined the human element with the monsters well, then the next one was the highly acclaimed Legends, which was a bunch of one shots featuring different monsters. Those ran alongside Kingdom of Monsters. With the current ongoing about to reach its forth issue, Half Century War has come upon us. I gotta say as a longtime Godzilla fan, this mini-series sounded great. Add to the fact that my favorite Godzilla design is being used, it’s a win win situation. The first issue is a pretty good start which is only plagued by some sub-par writing.
Here’s the official description from IDW:
Introducing a new and exciting look at Godzilla’s reign of destruction, courtesy of Orc Stain creator James Stokoe! The year is 1954 and Lieutnant Ota Murakami is on hand when Godzilla makes first landfall in Japan. Along with his pal Kentaro, Ota makes a desperate gamble to save lives… and in the process begins an obsession with the King of the Monsters that lasts fifty years! Don’t miss the first decade in a tale of a lifetime!
This first issue takes place in 1954, you know what that means, right? Even a non-fan should know that was the year Godzilla first attacked Japan in the classic film Gojira. So this comic is a retelling of sorts from the point of view of Lieutenant Ota Murakami. I think it’s a great idea to have the story take place in a canon world as opposed to it being its own thing. Of course what I just said is something really only fans can appreciate. If it’s one thing this comic got right, it’s Godzilla’s destruction scenes and its aftermaths. We don’t really get to see exactly how bad the destruction he causes in the current ongoing, or really any comic for that matter. Here we really see the carnage and destruction, which is thanks to the amazing art by writer James Stokoe.
Talking about the art for a second, I have never seen a better drawn Godzilla. This is perhaps the best Godzilla I have ever seen in a comic, even beating the classic Dark Horse series. (It also helps that it’s the Millennium design, my personal favorite from the franchise.) Some fans might be a little disappointed that the original design wasn’t used, since this is taking in 1954. While I do understand that, I think it also makes sense this way. This is not the films where the look changes, for this mini-series it makes sense that Godzilla would look the same, so they went ahead and picked his arguably best design. Have I mentioned how awesome it looks? This issue has some of the greatest splash pages I’ve ever seen in a Godzilla comic. Stokoe’s work on the humans look a little manga-inspired. Not bad, but it’s obvious the most work was put into making Godzilla look amazing. The main cover is fantastic, showcasing a looming Godzilla in the distance. The second cover is a black and white throwback, it’s very nice and fits the 1954 atmosphere.
The only negative is that the writing could be a little sub-par sometimes. Ota’s narration boxes are great, but his actual lines could be better. There’s also a really unnecessary comic relief character at the end that would better fit in a manga. This comic does juggle the human element and Godzilla’s destruction well, there’s nothing that drags on at all in the story. I just love how they incorporate the 54 film’s history into this, eluding to Dr. Serizawa and the Oxygen Destroyer. This is a comic Godzilla fans will get the most out of.
Overall, a good start to The Half Century War. It’s great how they’re using Godzilla’s original attack as the backdrop. While the writing leaves a little to be desired, it isn’t cringe worthy like some of the earlier Kingdom of Monsters issues. We also get the best drawn Godzilla ever, this mini-series has a lot of potential.