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GODZILLA: Half Century War #4 Review

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4

It’s been a long time hasn’t it? The Half Century War is finally back with its very highly anticipated fourth issue. With just three installments it has firmly established itself as the fan favorite Godzilla comic. In the first issue we went back in time to see Godzilla first appear in 1954. With that out of the way, Issue #2 brought in Anguirus for a spectacular fight. Then in Issue #3, it was all out craziness as plenty of monsters appeared and destroyed pretty much everything. Now here, we have not one, not two, but three Godzillas. To the non-fan, that statement could be pretty confusing, but to longtime fans such as myself, it’s pretty easy to decipher. Godzilla, SpaceGodzilla, and Mechagodzilla. A cool concept for sure, so how does this issue fare? Nothing short of exciting.

Here’s the official description from IDW:

New technologies and new recruits lead the AMF now, while Ota and Kentaro are stuck watching. But when a new threat comes to town from space, technology and young blood mean nothing. Will the grizzled vets be able to save the day?

Don’t miss this action packed issue, it’ll have you seeing three Godzillas!

It starts out with a nice subtle shot of space with this crystalline object passing over the Moon. Fans know that it’s SpaceGodzilla’s flying form. On Earth we see that Ota is now an older man and is realizing that he can’t stop Godzilla, no one can, and that G will still be here long after he’s gone. In this era technology has quite advanced, so the government has built the greatest weapon of all: Mechagodzilla. Things don’t go as planned however when SpaceGodzilla arrives. James Stokoe is definitely my favorite writer whom has written Godzilla. Unlike in the Ongoing, Godzilla isn’t just a plot device or an obstacle, he’s a creature that acts as a force of nature. “Godzilla was still here, destroying everything he touched. It had finally occurred to me that he’d be here long after I was gone.” Ota says it best. I was’t quite sold on him in Issue #1, but by #3 he had become one of the most likable human characters from any Godzilla comic. His narration of the events describes the King of the Monsters perfectly, it’s also great for new readers whom have never seen a Godzilla movie before. The big thing however is the arrival of SpaceGodzilla. This guy is a fan favorite in America, it’s fully understandable. Never had a monster displayed such controlled malice and intelligence this guy has in his film. (It’s a shame he’s the only good thing in Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla.) He first appeared in the comic world at the end of Kingdom of Monsters and briefly in a vision over at the Ongoing, so it would be a treat to see him fight. It doesn’t disappoint. Stokoe perfectly balances monster action and the human scenes, a feat not many writers have pulled off in the past. (I even got a chuckle out of one scene, when Ota says to Ken, “We chase a giant, irradiated monster for a living and you’re worried about getting cancer from a cigarette?

What’s truly amazing is that Stokoe also does the art, and it’s still incredible. It has a very gritty look that gives the book it’s own unique identity. This is also by far the best drawn Godzilla, some really fantastic splash pages here. There are some scenes where his neck does look rather elongated, and sometimes the eyes on the monsters are drawn in a way that makes it look like they’re rolling them. SpaceGodzilla’s emergence page was truly awe-inspiring to behold, one of the single best splash pages in this series yet. (Aside from the fact that it looks like he’s rolling his eyes.) There are many notable shots worth mentioning, but I’ll leave you to discover them. There are two covers, both very different and very cool. Cover A shows Godzilla with his back turned looking up at SpaceGodzilla’s crystal structure. A great cover that grasps the scope of things. The variant is more dynamic, with Mechagodzilla taking center stage with the crystals in the background, sure to be a fan favorite. This issue also features the return of…are you ready for this…Dr. Deveritch! He’s obviously meant to be a joke villain for longtime fans to laugh at, so in that he serves his purpose. I will say that SpaceGodzilla was quite cool, but the fact there’s another Godzilla in outer space wasn’t really explained. I will forgive that fact since it’s all contained in one issue as part of a mini-series, but it would have been nice to have at least a small scene of someone saying “Godzilla’s cells must have gone into outer space after his battle with so-and-so” or something like that. Mechagodzilla on the other hand is established well thanks to Ota’s narration. He also looks good within the comic, it’s the Heisei version, as fans probably expected.

Overall, the Half Century War once again doesn’t fail to be a great comic both longtime Godzilla fans and new readers could enjoy. The King hasn’t been written like this since Gangsters and Goliaths, another great mini-series. We get to see Spacegodzilla use his his rather odd powers, such as telekinesis on Godzilla, the battle doesn’t disappoint. Even Mechagodzilla gets some great page-time, fighting Godzilla and even helping out in the final battle. Oh, and the ending is truly cool, a nice homage to one of the films. You can bet the final issue of the Half Century War will be a fine closure to this epic mini-series.

4.5/5

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