Review: Godzilla in Hell #5

GODZILLAHELL_05_coverASo here we are. My journey through Godzilla in Hell has been a long and weird one, with a lot of mixed emotions and reservations about the direction and tone of the story. Now it’s all finally coming to an end… let’s talk about how this weird experiment of a series played out.

The final issue has the same person pulling both art and writing duty: Dave Wachter, whose eye for expert composition and refined stylistic sensibilities are on display from page one, with a gorgeously eerie page of Godzilla trudging through a white expanse as snow begins to fall. The image of a single snowflake looping around one of Godzilla’s spines is a very pretty one, and the art maintains its moody but beautiful aesthetic all the way through. One of the best things about this series has been the different artists rendering Godzilla and his kaiju foes, and while Matt Frank’s iconic work on other Godzilla series is sadly absent on this one we have seen some other very talented people do great things with the King of the Monsters.

Dave Wachter‘s art direction lends Godzilla a weight and presence that makes him seem present in a way some artists can’t master: it’s hard to convey the sheer size of something like Godzilla without him seeming unrealistic or imaginary, the way some CGI creatures don’t appear to actually interact with their environment. But suddenly Godzilla is the most normal thing on the page, compared to the snow- and lava-flooded hellscapes he’s trudging through and the winged monsters he fights off in swarms. The art carries this issue – which is a good thing, because the writing is just as inconsistent as that of the preceding issues in this series.

I’m not going to spoil the ending. If you’ve been following this series all the way through every previous issue, you and I both know you’re going to buy this and read it to find out what happens to Godzilla. I’m used to weird endings – Twin Peaks has a pretty infamous one and I’m notorious among my circle of friends for being one of the few people in the world who liked and had no complains about the series finale of LOST – but there is always some kind of context, some kind of interpretation to be drawn that ties events together and lets the reader or viewer come up with some sort of explanation for what they’ve experienced. Godzilla in Hell ended the way it began: with little explanation and context. The art carries the series, and the plot remains disjointed and spotty all the way through. I think there’s some metaphorical meaning to be gained from the series and it was a fun experiment into a different kind of Godzilla story, but… well, I can’t help but feel unfulfilled. While it’s true that any Godzilla is good Godzilla, either I’m spoiled by the fact that the movies and previous comics have had more coherent plots or I just really was hoping for something this series never intended to offer in the first place. Godzilla in Hell has more in common with the strange and experimental story arcs comics used in the 70s and 80s and while it definitely deserves a place in Godzilla franchise canon for being such an odd and unique take on Godzilla, I don’t think I could honestly say it ranks among my favorite Godzilla projects. It’s short, strange, and leaves me hoping for a much stronger, less directionless comics outing for the King of the Monsters sometime very, very soon.

Story: Dave Wachter Art: Dave Wachter
Story: 4 Art : 9 Overall: 7 Recommendation: Buy… but watch some of the movies afterward

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