Godzilla Rivals: Rodan vs Ebirah – Comic Review

Godzilla Rivals has been showcasing some of the best monsters in the Godzilla universe, pitting the iconic monster against the various foes that he’s faced over the decades. However, the latest issue does things a little differently, as Godzilla takes a back seat to let some of his friends have the spotlight.

Set in the year 2030,  Godzilla Rivals: Rodan vs Ebirah focuses on Dr. Carole Kincaid, a cryptobotanist who’s been recruited to assist with a special project aboard the orbiting space station, ParaSOL. Taking a space elevator up into orbit, Kincaid is shocked to discover the range of experiments that are happening far above the Earth; experiments that could lead to a better future for humanity now that they’re not constrained by any Earthly laws or regulations. But what do they want with a cryptobotanist? Well, it turns out that the station has a sample of the plant-based Kaiju Biolante, and wants Kinkaid to figure out why it’s not growing properly.

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But Biolante isn’t the only Kaiju that they have held prisoner on the station. When the giant pteradon Rodan, and the monstrous lobster Ebirah, break free from their containment and start battling, it puts the entire station at risk. The two creatures fall into the space elevator, hurtling towards Earth at huge speeds, giving the crew of the station only a short time to act in order to save the Earth from the impact.

This issue of the series stands out amongst the others that we’ve had so far, as Godzilla doesn’t get to take on a lead role (he’s pretty much not even in the book). And whilst that might seem like an odd decision for a book with his name on the title it does mean that we get to focus on a couple of other monsters instead. Rodan has always been a big favourite amongst fans, and is one of the few Kaiju to make the leap across to the US Monsterverse in Godzilla: King of the Monsters. He’s one of the more recognisable creatures. But his opponent, Ebirah, is a bit more niche.

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Ebirah has only appeared in two films (three if you count the reuse of stock footage), and is a bit less known outside of more dedicated Godzilla fans. He’s basically a giant lobster, and he absolutely rocks. I’ve got a soft spot for lobsters, and his first film Ebirah, Horror of the Deep was a really good one. So I was really pleased to not only see him make an appearance, but to get a focus. Unfortunately, not a huge amount really happens in this issue for him.

For most of the issue the two monsters are falling towards the Earth, leaving the human characters to carry the drama. Whilst this is fine, it does mean that we don’t really get to see either creature used to their full potential. The match-up of a flying creature and a monster who’s at home in the water made for a good mix, but neither one of them really gets to be in either location in this story. It’s an odd choice, and once that I can’t help but feel leaves the comic a bit weaker. There are a couple of other creature appearances that pop up, but I’ll leave those to be a surprise for the reader.

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The artwork on the book is decent, and whilst it’s not one of the more detailed or realistic art styles on the series to date, it chooses to go for a more cartoonish look instead. This works for a lot action across the book, with the larger than life giant lobster and huge dinosaur looking pretty good when they’re not being taken completely seriously. Characters like Godzilla can look fantastic in any style, but some of the creatures definitely feel better portrayed as a bit outside of reality, and this issue seems to recognise that.

This was a decent enough issue, though it doesn’t seem to give the featured creatures enough room to really shine, and the situation at the end will never be resolved thanks to each of these issues being set in their own worlds. As such, it’s a fun issue, but one that might leave the reader feeling like it could have been better.

Godzilla Rivals: Rodan vs Ebirah is out on 11th January from IDW Publishing.

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