Thursday, July 16, 2015

Review - Godzilla in Hell #1 (@IDWPublishing)


"Abandon all hope ye who enter here."

When Godzilla isn't fighting against the latest beast to rise from a centuries-long slumber in defense of the planet, he likes to relax. Find time to paint maybe. Discover himself. Even those tasks require his full commitment though, as Godzilla in Hell #1 from IDW Publishing demonstrates. The issue is written and illustrated James Stokoe.

Godzilla meets his greatest adversary of all time-the impossible tortures of Hell! Each issue of this special miniseries will see Godzilla enter a new level of the underworld to do battle with the impossible.

Godzilla's combat prowess needs no introduction and he's ready and willing to throw down with any who crosses his path. Godzilla in Hell #1 pits him against another enemy entirely, as it essentially pits him against what appears to be his worst fears and demons. Stokoe's choice in opponents for the giant lizard is interesting, as it adds a cerebral element to an entity who largely relies on brute force to conquer opponents. And despite the lack of dialogue in the issue, Stokoe humanizes Godzilla in a way that makes it easy for the reader to commiserate with his plight. The sheer terror of the environments that Stokoe puts Godzilla in is powerful, underscoring the strength he must find to overcome the obstacles.

There's not a lot of room for creative interpretation when it comes to Godzilla and Stokoe keeps him easily recognizable. Godzilla maintains his formidable appearance despite foes who appear to be not quite of the same physical stature or size as he is. Much of the landscape that Godzilla traverses is unforgiving and expansive, underscoring the tall task Godzilla has ahead of him in "saving" himself. There are few things as terrifying as a massive cloud of humanity moving towards you and it's images like that that Stokoe rely on in Godzilla in Hell #1. The use of blacks and reds darken the action considerably, reinforcing the notion that even Godzilla's version of hell is familiar.

Godzilla in Hell #1 is a somewhat strange issue that fits within the Godzilla mythology in an equally strange way. Godzilla maintains everything that makes him the ravaging monstrosity that he is; only this time, he's got some personal issues he's working through. Stokoe succeeds in telling a story completely absent of dialogue and doing it well. His artwork is gritty and reinforces the scrappiness of Godzilla's character. Godzilla in Hell #1 is a somewhat intelligent take on the character that demonstrates his capacity for being more than just beams of light shooting out of his mouth and guttural screams.

Godzilla in Hell #1 is in stores now.

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