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TF_RiD_50-pr_page7_image1It’s new comic book day! What’s everyone excited for? What are you planning on getting? Sound off in the comments below!

While you await your shops opening, here’s some comic book news and reviews from around the web.

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The Beat – Que Spit-take: Two Broke Girls lead actress Beth Behrs Launches Comic – And she’ll remain broke….

CBR – “Punisher” Solo Series Not ‘Actually Happening’ at This Time, Says Jeph Loeb – You mean all the sites reporting this as fact were wrong!?

Kotaku – The Best Cosplay From MAGFest 2016 – Some great cosplay.

Vulture – It’s Stan Lee’s Universe – A very good read.

Kotaku – The Walking Dead: Michonne Adds Depth to The Series’ Toughest Character – Who’s playing and what do you think?

 

Around the Tubes Reviews

The Beat – The Book of Hope

Nothing But Comics – Faith #2

The Outhousers – Fight Club 2 #9

Talking Comics – Godzilla in Hell

Newsarama – Best Shots Advance Reviews: Transformers #50, Street Fighter G.I. Joe #1, Bloodshot Reborn #11, Z-Men #3

Review: Godzilla in Hell TPB

3071489Growing up I used to consume everything pop culture as if they were going out of style. I remember coming home after school, to watch Black Belt Theatre, where I would find out about the different types of Kung-Fu and we decried the Japanese as evil, to the Chinese, thanks to Bruce Lee’s Fists of Fury. I remember my opinion changing once I started to watch samurai movies and Kaiju movies. Especially Kaiju movies, the one where Godzilla battled every monster imagined.

At first, when I did watch the movies I wondered why the Japanese military couldn’t defeat any of the kaiju as they wreaked havoc throughout the cities knocking down buildings at will, and with humans narrowly escaping death. Then the movies has us rooting for Godzilla to defeat the other kaiju and it would not belong before they started to make the movies seem more like a franchise then standalone movies.AS I dare anyone to remember the silly but fun movie, Son of Godzilla. Eventually they would pit him against King Kong, which where the movies really got interesting.

IDW has decidedly wanted to continue Godzilla’s adventures in a way that he had not been tested before. The Kaiju has entered the Underworld, as he faces his own “game of death’, in Hell. He reacts to each challenge much like how he did in the movies. By story’s end, you have a battle tested kaiju , one who has faced a 1,000 battles, and one whose victory was earned.

Overall, an interesting story, which could have been pedestrian in lesser hands, but comes off much like Milton’sParadise Lost, but with Kaiju. The story by James Stokoe, delivers in spades, a killer story. The art by the various illustrators, makes each issue collected a true treat. Altogether, a fun story, that should not be underestimated, as simple smash and grab, but definitely is on the level Vaughn’s Pride of Babylon.

Story: James Stokoe Art: Bob Eggleton, Buster Moody, Ibrahim Moustafa, Dave Wachter
Story: 9.4 Art: 9.2 Overall: 9.6 Recommendation: Buy

IDW Publishing provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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

Preview: Godzilla in Hell #5 (of 5)

Godzilla in Hell #5 (of 5)

Dave Wachter (w & a & c)

Godzilla’s final foray into the depths of Hell will prove to be his most challenging yet! Will Godzilla be able to find his way back to the living world? An unstoppable force unlike any he has seen bars his way!

FC • 32 pages • $3.99

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Review: Godzilla in Hell #3-4

GODZILLAHELL_03-coverEvery issue of Godzilla in Hell has come with a change in lead artist and writer, and four issues into the series the swaps are quickly becoming both Godzilla in Hell’s biggest strength and largest stumbling point.

Issue 1 had story and art by James Stokoe, using a moody and almost surreal art style with a wide-eyed, expressive Final Wars-style Godzilla, fighting enemies out of John Carpenter’s The Thing. It was completely free of dialogue and initially made me concerned that the series would feel too experimental to gain a wider audience, though I was a massive fan of the art direction and mood.

Issue 2, with story and art by Bob Eggleton, felt like a biblical epic thanks to the painted illustrations inspired by John Martin’s The Last Judgement paintings and the works of Gustave Dore. It pitted a Godzilla 2000-style protagonist against four of his classic foes and used prose in narration boxes to make the issue feel like some ancient legend. I liked issue two much more for the gravitas it added.

As we look at issue three, which uses a much more cartoony style and the series’ first instances of spoken dialogue, I have to wonder how much communication there was between the writers. Buster Moody‘s art is bright and colorful, with very expressive kaiju in the form of Godzilla and Spacegodzilla, and the angels having Mothra wings is a brilliant touch, but the seeming new direction that Ulises Farinas and Erick Frietas add to the story is a little odd. I’m still not sure if the series is going to end up being a surreal dream Godzilla is having or if this is just a weird, experimental plot the way Toho Studios did movies like Godzilla’s Revenge or Godzilla vs. The Smog Monster, which took the series in different and unique directions. I love the idea of the angels wanting Godzilla to join their war against hell, and the demons wanting to serve Godzilla and follow him into battle against Heaven, but what I appreciate most is Godzilla’s refusal to help either side in exchange for trying to find a way out of the whole conflict. Godzilla kind of speaks for the audience here, in my opinion: he just wants to know what’s going on and when it’s going to end. Issue three has gorgeous art and if the story felt consistent, it would have worked much better. It feels more like issue three tossed a wrench into the works that later issues will either have to ignore or find a way to explain away.

GODZILLAHELL_04-coverMoving on to issue four, we see a Godzilla with a design that falls somewhere between his ghostly appearance in Giant Monsters All-Out Attack and the classic Toho designs of the Hesei-era movies, like Godzilla vs Destroyah. Written by Brandon Seifert and showcasing some gorgeous art by Ibrahim Moustafa, this one goes back to the experimental setup of the first issue, in a way: no dialogue, no exposition, just Godzilla in a fight. The surreal imagery returns as well – Godzilla’s battle against Destroyah and King Ghidorah cannot end. Each time one of the three kaiju dies, they heal their wounds and return to life. This is exactly what the Godzilla in Hell premise ought to be used for, but coming off the plot elements of issue three, it doesn’t make as much sense. Is Godzilla still being pursued by angels and demons who want him on their side? Is this his punishment for not choosing a side?

Godzilla_InHell_03-pr_page7_image12With only one issue left in the series, I have no idea how it’s going to end or if it will end in a way that feels satisfactory and explains how all of this happened in the first place. Maybe we’ll never get an explanation – which would make the existence of this series as strange and unusual as the plot itself. If Godzilla in Hell the comic book begins and ends without explanation, the way the plot of the comic appears to be heading, it would be an oddly fitting but ultimately unsatisfying way to close the series out. I’m enjoying Godzilla in Hell because I love Godzilla and the franchise he represents, with all the awesome kaiju designs and fights we’ve enjoyed for decades, and every artist has brought their A game to the series, but the story is leaving me ultimately unsatisfied. Here’s hoping that issue five lives up to the franchise and the level of storytelling Godzilla deserves. I’ll be waiting for it, but I’ll be doing so with a little more worry than I would like.

Godzilla in Hell #3

Story: Ulises Farinas, Erick Frietas Art: Buster Moody
Story: 7 Art: 8 Overall: 7 Recommendation: Buy

Godzilla in Hell #4

Story: Brandon Seifert Art: Ibrahim Moustafa
Story: 8 Art: 9 Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Preview: Godzilla in Hell #4 (of 5)

Godzilla in Hell #4 (of 5)

Brandon Seifert (w) • Ibrahim Moustafa (a & c)

Godzilla’s journey is stymied by an impenetrable wall of living flesh! Cornered, with nowhere to go, he is beset by devilish versions of his greatest foes—Destoroyah and King Ghidorah!

FC • 32 pages • $3.99

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It was new comic book day yesterday. What’d everyone get? What’d folks like? What’d folks dislike?

Around the Tubes

Newsarama – Michael Madsen Joins Powers – Interesting addition.

The Comics Journal – Ted Rall vs the Los Angeles Times – Damn! Hell of a take down and look at what’s going on.

 

Around the Tubes Reviews

The Outhousers – Archie #3

CBR – Book of Death: The Fall of Harbinger #1

Comic Vine – Captain America: White #1

Comic Vine – The Flash #44

Comic Vine – Fury: S.H.I.E.L.D. 50th Anniversary #1

The Outhousers – Godzilla in Hell #3

Comic Vine – Grayson #12

Comic Vine – Martian Manhunter #4

CBR – The Sandman: Overture #6

Comic Vine – Sinestro #15

Comic Vine – Spider-Island #4

Comic Vine – Tokyo Ghost #1

Comic Vine – Weirdworld #4

Preview: Godzilla in Hell #3 (of 5)

Godzilla in Hell #3 (of 5)

Ulises Farinas, Erick Freitas (w) • Buster Moody (a & c)

What brought Godzilla to Hell? A glimpse of Godzilla’s greatest battle gives clues—but what will happen when Godzilla faces a rematch with that same foe in the underworld?

FC • 32 pages • $3.99

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Review: Godzilla in Hell #2

'Hell is other kaiju'. - 50-foot tall radioactive SartreThere’s something really entertaining about properties whose titles describe them perfectly. Snakes on a Plane, Alien vs Predator, Santa Claus Conquers the Martians…if you know the 90s-era British phrase ‘does exactly what it says on the tin’, these titles are the perfect embodiment of that saying. What you see is what you get – the description sums up everything you need to know. Godzilla, King of the Monsters, has found himself in Hell (the actual, real hell, complete with a swirling cloud of lost souls that threatened to overwhelm him in issue #1) and is wandering the abyss, trying to find a way out.

The thing about comics is that as a medium, you can get away with just about anything as long as you sell it convincingly. Batman being shot with a time-traveling bullet that sends him back to prehistoric times, Superboy punching the walls of reality itself, Deadpool’s fourth wall breaks: if you really sell it, you can do anything you want. So Godzilla ending up in Hell, while causing some serious confusion to me as a lifelong Godzilla fangirl, is a concept I’m capable of rolling with as long as the writers make it work.

And do they ever. The first issue of Godzilla in Hell was interesting in how experimental it felt: with no speaking characters at all and no narration, all we saw was wordless panels as Godzilla tried to get his bearings and did battle with some monsters that would have fit right in on the set of John Carpenter’s The Thing. 

Where the first issue felt looser due to the more cartoony art style, the disorienting imagery of Hell and its denizens, and the lack of explanation as to what was happening and why, issue two feels more like an adaptation of some ancient fable. The narration is going for the sort of gravitas and solemnity you expect to hear from a voiceover at the beginning of a blockbuster fantasy film, and the art… wow.

So here’s the main thing that caught me about this issue: while Bob Eggleton‘s writing is strong, and moves the comic in a much more clear narrative direction than James Stokoe‘s wordless panels in issue #1, Bob’s art is phenomenal and lends the proceedings an almost Biblical feel. This is the recounting of an epic from generations ago, a story told by a wizened priest to awestruck students. Every page and panel of issue #2 is an actual painting by Bob, and it pairs with the narration to make something that I initially thought of as very silly feel serious and intense. In this issue Godzilla faces some of his classic foes, either demon-possesed or being impersonated by demons, and then – as the narration tells us – he runs into the reason he’s been brought to hell in the first place: his old nemesis King Ghidorah.

We’re only on issue #2 and we have a basic idea of why Godzilla is in Hell now, and we’ve seen his mortal foe either masterminding this whole thing or being used as a pawn in some greater scheme. We’ll probably have to wait a few more issues to get all the details, but I will definitely be there. Issue #2 of Godzilla in Hell ups the ante considerably, with a major upgrade to issue #1’s excellent art and a tighter plot now that there’s an unseen narrator setting the stage. I do still have my concerns that this is going to end up being all a dream or something equally frustrating and I always find myself wishing for more because these issues seem to end way too quickly for my tastes, but seeing Godzilla fight his way through Hell the way he’s already dominated planet Earth is incredibly fun, and the paintings that show us three amazing kaiju fights through one fast-paced issue are more than worth the price of admission. If you love Godzilla, you’re probably already finished reading your copy of this comic book, and if you aren’t or only have a vague interest in kaiju, you still owe it to yourself to check this comic out.

Story: Bob Eggleton Art: Bob Eggleton
Story: 7 Art: 10 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

IDW provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review. Daphne bought her own copy anyway.

Preview: Godzilla in Hell #2 (of 5)

Godzilla in Hell #2 (of 5)

Bob Eggleton (w & a & c)

Godzilla descends further into the pit! Godzilla navigates a city that can never be destroyed as demonic versions of his greatest foes wait for the perfect moment to strike!

FC • 32 pages • $3.99

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