Indie Comic Review: Godzilla in Hell #1 – Terrible Lizard | FanboysInc

Indie Comic Review: Godzilla in Hell #1 – Terrible Lizard

By Jeff Ayers

Art and Story: James Stokoe

$3.99

IDW Comics

There is something beautiful about a story with no words. The art of a comic book, when done well, tells the story in different ways than the prose can, with sweeping action, facial expression and plotted “camera” angles. Godzilla in Hell #1 is a testament to a comic idea done right in only an artistic manner.

Right from the beginning, the reader gets the feel and the tone of this story, plotted out by James Stokoe. The titular monster falls to his doom through the title of the book, and his decent brings all of the emotion of this book to the forefront. Seriously, watching the limp body of Godzilla fall into the depths is both awe-inspiring and heartbreaking. How did he come to this end? We will most likely never find out, but I do hope he is able to escape hell and rejoin the living world by the end.

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As Godzilla ventures forth into the abyss that is Hell, he is confronted with some strange and grotesque creatures. But, in true monster movie fashion, he disposes of most of them without a second thought. It culminates with Godzilla facing off a demon version of himself, almost like an evil doppelgänger. This is the only thing that gives poor Godzilla pause in this issue, but he is able to escape and seeming fall further into Hell at the end. The use of absolutely no words allows you to make some of your own decisions as to what exactly is taking place, and that adds to the fun of this book.

The “Best There Is”:¬†The scope of this book is almost comical in nature – sending a monster, played by a man in a rubber suit in it’s earliest incarnations, into the depths of hell. That is exactly why I picked up this title, to see the spectacle. But I was completely blown away by how this story was presented. No words, and beautiful imagery leads the reader on a journey, very much on the back of Godzilla as he navigates the landscape of Hell, but also a personal one as well. You get to make your own inferences from a few key scenes, which is a very cool technique in this story. In one sequence, also depicted on the cover, Godzilla is confronted with an angry storm of souls, that he barely escapes. My own take away is that these are all the souls he has killed over the years of death and destruction. Godzilla has descended into his own personal hell, and he is falling even deeper once we make it to issue 2.

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The “Isn’t Very Nice”: My two concerns for this story are thus: One, I worry that if they stick to this model, we as readers will tire of no dialogue and the inevitable formula of “crazy demonic monster thing in Godzilla’s way, Godzilla then crushes said crazy monster thing.” This is a tough fix though, because in a story perpetuated by only demons and monsters, and no narration, where does that dialogue come from? I personally hope to see an incarnation of The Devil himself, who might have a few choice words for Godzilla. My second qualm is that next issue is not done by James Stokoe, and is given to another one man writer/artist in Bob Eggleton. Not that I don’t have faith in Eagleton’s work, but I worry that by dividing the story elements between creators, we might never have a true voice to hold onto as readers. Only by holding issue 2 in my hands will I know for sure.

FBI Score: 9 out of 10. Whatever may happen after this issue is irrelevant. The amazing artwork that created such a feeling within these pages without the use of prose is mesmerizing and wonderful. This issue can stand alone as truly something magical within the realm of Godzilla, as well as comic books in general.

Jeff Ayers

Both my parents instilled in me at an early age the awesome power and incredible wonder of the written word. My father sat with me when I was four years old and taught me to enjoy reading with classic comic strips like SPIDERMAN, PEANUTS, B.C. and, later, CALVIN AND HOBBES. My mother exposed me to such classics of literature as Poe, Tolkien, Stoker and Doyle, and I started my own comic collection with allowance money from mowing lawns. I liked Wolverine before it was cool, I watched as Superman died and returned, and huddled under the covers as I turned the pages of SANDMAN. Reading is like oxygen to me, and all genres and formats are welcome and devoured equally. I am the co-host of The DW and Incredible Jeff Show, CEO of Permian Productions, and a reviewer at Graphic Novel Reporter. I am 34 and live in scenic Saratoga Springs New York, where I haunt coffee shops and dive bars and the best comic shop anywhere, The Comic Depot.

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