Wow. That was the word I had in my head after reading this issue. The Half Century War is the latest in IDW’s Godzilla minis. These have had pretty good track records. Gangsters and Goliaths, Legends, and now this. The first issue firmly set the tone and its version of the title character. It was a great start. (Not to mention it featured the best drawn Godzilla I have ever seen in a comic.) Usually in the films it’s more fun when the big G has another monster to fight, here it’s no different. Not only that, but his opponent, Anguirus, is treated like a true fighter. Also, this series seems to understand Godzilla’s character, which the ongoing doesn’t. Issue #2 is a definite must-read and one of IDW’s best Godzilla issues yet.
Here’s the official description from IDW:
The year is 1967 and Godzilla is on the move… to Vietnam! With a war underway, Godzilla is the last thing the country needs. Lieutenant Murakami follows Godzilla to try out some new tech on the monster, but a super-sized foe named Anguirus might just be the most effective counter-measure. It’s a rumble in the jungle, don’t miss it!
You gotta love the narration boxes here. Ota I wasn’t too fond of from Issue #1, but with this issue he has grown on me. If you want to read a comic that ‘gets’ Godzilla, this would be it. The narration boxes goes out of its way to say “He seemed to move with a purpose.” The writing isn’t as strong as Gangsters and Goliaths, often the characters sound just a bit too cartoony. Nothing really awful or cringe-worthy, let’s not get the wrong idea. Anguirus makes an appearance, and what an appearance it is. The comic treats him like a true menace and opponent. The battle between him and Godzilla isn’t as one-sided as it sounds. Like when they first battled in 1955, here they’re about evenly matched. The cheorograpy is excellent, the blows and blasts are felt. That is thanks to the extreme detail put in. This is definitely one of IDW’S finest.
The art is an extreme high point. Godzilla, he looks utterly fantastic. The detail is incredible, and its consistent. (Something Kingdom of Monsters lacked.) The way he’s drawn gives him a little emotion, as opposed to being a ‘walking event.’ (Which he is in the current ongoing.) Anguirus is drawn based on his Final Wars design. A lot of fans don’t like that look, but I understand why it was picked, it looks more fierce than his Showa counterpart. With that said, he too looks fantastic. His emergence splash page would make a good computer background. I also admire the work put into the battle, there’s a panel where Anguirus bites Godzilla’s wrist, then the latter roars in disbelief pain and presides to pin him down. It’s not some empty short battle, it’s satisfying. The human characters are a little manga-inspired, it works. I think the eyes on some of the characters are a little too squinty, but nothing major. Both covers have their own things going on. The main one shows Godzilla, (do I really need to say he looks fantastic?) plowing through a forest fire. The second one is a little retro, featuring a more Raids Again styled Godzilla (which is appropriate in this issue’s case) and a Final Wars styled Anguirus with Ota in the front. Great stuff all around.
Overall, this is one of the best Godzilla comics IDW has released thus far. It understands Godzilla, gives a fierce/tough Anguirus, and contains a highly detailed fight. Not to mention it has a likable main character. I eagerly await the next issue with the Smog Monster, Hedorah. This will definitely be the series I recommend to people that have never read a Godzilla comic.