As amazing as it is, you’ll be able to watch Legendary’s GODZILLA next week in theaters across the nation. Thankfully the company has been doing really well with the marketing. (From posters to party napkins, it’s everywhere!) Perhaps one of the biggest parts of the marketing is the release of this new graphic novel. It’s very similar to last year’s Pacific Rim: Tales From Year Zero which too focused as a prequel. GODZILLA: Awakening isn’t really ‘essential’ reading for the film, but it does make for a nice companion piece. (And you learn you a little backstory between Godzilla and the Mutos.)
Here’s the official description from Legendary:
In May 2014, audiences will witness the epic rebirth of the King of the Monsters as Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures unleash Godzilla upon the big screen. To pave the way for the iconic creature’s return, Legendary Comics is proud to present the official graphic novel Godzilla: Awakening. This 80-page story, set decades before the film, is co-written by Max Borenstein (screenwriter of the new Godzilla) and Greg Borenstein.
Delve into an incredible mystery, generations in the making. At the dawn of the atomic age, humanity awakens life forms beyond imagination, unleashing monumental forces age, humanity awakens life forms beyond imagination, unleashing monumental forces of nature. This explosive, larger-than-life adventure is the perfect way for fans to glimpse the new Godzilla before seeing the film in theaters.
Godzilla: Awakening is illustrated by Eric Battle
The main focus of the story is on Serizawa. Longtime (and even just casual) fans know him to be the man that killed the original Godzilla with the oxygen destroyer in the 1954 film. Obviously by now we know this isn’t the case here, so it’s interesting to see what kind of backstory this graphic novel tells. Godzilla and Muto have been fighting apparently for millions of years. G has also appeared sparingly throughout the 40’s and 50’s to hunt down the Muto creatures. It already paints G as an anti-hero thanks in major part to Serizawa dialogue. It’s a nice look at how G will be portrayed in the movie.
The story moves along rather quickly, sometimes too quickly. Serizawa seems to accept that fact that ‘Gojira’ actually isn’t evil fast. If this was a 6 issue miniseries, the pacing could have been a little better. Besides him, there aren’t really any other standout human characters. One of the greatest things about the book is how well it incorporates the Hiroshima bombing, since it was a big part in Godzilla’s original origin. Subtle scenes such as one panel of two planes hovering over the country and the next a big explosion truly speak wonders.
Godzilla himself sadly isn’t too much a character here. It’s somewhat expected, since the film probably wants to showcase his personality. There are some brief action sequences, nothing too memorable. There are a few nice splash pages. The art is okay. Godzilla himself has a bit of odd design, not really resembling the movie version much at all. The Mutos look alright, though a bit on the generic side.(From what we’ve seen they look much better in the film.) The cover by Arthur Adams is definitely a standout, though again Godzilla doesn’t look too much like his movie appearance.
Overall, GODZILLA: Awakening is a nice read if you’re planning to go see the film. It features some nice backstory between the title monster and the Muto creatures. While $20 is a bit much for it, if you’re really into the movie it’s hard not to say head out to your local comic shop and pick it up.