The always super spectacular Half Century War mini-series has entered its third outing. This series has been doing what the current Ongoing hasn’t, making exciting stories using the monsters and human cast. Unlike the Ongoing where it’s throwing away monsters, this has been doing a fantastic job with Godzilla and the other ‘natural disasters.’ Or better put by Ota in the issue, “These weren’t monsters at all, they were forces of nature.” This installment once again impresses with its scope and of course the monsters crushing things. While not as good as Issue #2, it’s still a comic all Godzilla fans should pick up. (And it’s still great even if you’ve never seen any of the films!)
Here’s the official description from IDW:
Welcome to Ghana, 1975. The criminal underworld has found a way to summon monsters and they’ve chosen the African country as a trial run for the first ever monster mash-up! A horde of kaiju are on the way and different military teams, each specifically trained to thwart each monster’s capabilities, enter the fray. During the chaos, Lieutenant Ota stumbles upon the source of the chaos!
Whoa, back up a second. A horde of kaiju? If that doesn’t get the inner monster fan in you pumping, I don’t know what will. James Stokoe doesn’t disappoint with the horde, featuring Godzilla, Megalon, Ebirah, Mothra, Rodan, Kumonga, Battra, and Hedorah! Obviously if you’re not a fan of the franchise these names don’t mean much, but for longtime fans like myself it’s pretty exciting. I mean, this comic features what could very well be the greatest splash page in any Godzilla comic. (Seriously, it’s an eye-opener.) This issue balances the monsters and human parts pretty well. While the beasts are fighting topside, the humans are on the prowl looking to somehow stop Armageddon. James Stokoe’s dialogue is often with a touch of humor, contrasting the rather violent destruction. It makes sense for having a pretty fun story while monsters destroy Japan. Sometimes it’s a little too cartoony with forced comic relief, but nothing too bad.
I really like Stokoe’s gritty designs for the monsters. Take Rodan who resemb;es his Heisei incarnation, it’s a little extreme, but cool nonetheless. Megalon looked amazing, so did Ebirah, Kumonga…they all looked great. Whereas the action in the Ongoing could be lacking sometimes, here the fights and destruction is really felt, so much detail is put in to just a single crumbling building! This issue introduces the first human ‘antagonist,’ Dr. Deverich. (Get the reference? No? That’s good then, it means you haven’t experienced hardship while watching a film.) The only disappointing thing I can find is that Godzilla and Hedorah never really come to blows like on the cover, just a panel. Nothing big, just worth a mention in case anyone was looking forward to that. Speaking of covers, the main one showcases Godzilla battling the Smog Monster, another fantastic cover. The variant is rather unique, having a white background with the human characters facing sideways, as is Godzilla, Mothra, Rodan, and the guy on the front’s helmet shows the reflection of Hedorah. A truly artistic piece!
Overall, another fantastic entry in the Half Century War. Lots of satisfying monster action, (including some whom are their first appearance in the comic world!) and the humans are pretty fun for the most part. Stokoe really understands what Godzilla is and just how powerful he and his kaiju brethren are, it’s good to see these guys being the unstoppable things they are. (Which the Ongoing doesn’t seem to get.) While not as good as Issue #2, #3 of the Half Century War is another great comic featuring some of the coolest monsters in existence. (And if a comic can make even Megalon cool, you know you have a winner.)