Godzilla: War for Humanity #1 – Comic Review

One of the best things about the Godzilla universe is that there’s so much of it that there’s something for everyone. Whatever you’re after, there’s something here for you. If you want the darker, more horrific side of things, the original Godzilla is there for you (with the upcoming Godzilla Minus One looking set to be scarier too!). If you want something that’s big, bombastic, and all about the fights and destruction there’s stuff like Godzilla: Final Wars or Godzilla: King of the Monsters. There’s even plenty of Kaiju action that’s aimed squarely at the younger audience, with films like All Monsters Attack and comics like Godzilla: Monsters & Protectors.

Godzilla: War for Humanity, the latest release from IDW Publishing, falls into that latter category it seems, thanks to wonderfully bright and deceptively simple looking art that stands out as something that younger readers would love. However, this also seems like a series that could appeal to older readers too, with enough character and story scattered throughout to get you wanting to come back for the second issue.

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The book opens with a flashback to when our lead character, Yuko Honda, was just ten years old, and was out playing in the woods with her friend. Their idyllic day is changed when the monster Hedorah starts attacking the area, trying to cause fires and destruction so that it can feed off the smoke and pollutants it causes. Thankfully, Godzilla arrives on the scene, and engages with Hedorah, stopping his rampage and directing it elsewhere. Thus began a lifelong interest in Kaiju, and a lifelong belief that Godzilla is more of a protector than a destroyer.

Yuko is delivering a lecture about Godzilla when she’s approached by a douchey tech-bro named Phazon Fullchech, who wants to recruit her to help with a mission. He shows her footage of a new monster that emerges from the earth, attacks peaceful Kaiju, and turns them into rampaging monsters. Working for a clandestine, military funded group, Yuko is asked to lend her expertise into stopping this new monster, dubbed Zoospora, before it’s too late.

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Godzilla: War for Humanity does something that I’ve not seen in many Godzilla books: it gives us something new. Yes, a lot of this feels like things that we’ve seen before –  monsters going berserk, a group of soldiers and scientists trying to stop them, the deployment of a man-made Kaiju fighting machine (M.O.G.U.E.R.A. in this case). But it balances out these familiar elements with a brand new monster. Often the comics will recycle old creatures, giving us new origins, or changing up some aspect of them to give them a fresh take, but this might be the first time I can remember reading a Godzilla comic with a completely new big bad. And it’s kind of refreshing.

The new monster, a bipedal fungus creature, bears some similarity to monsters like Hedorah and Biolante, but still has features completely unique to itself. The similarities to some existing monsters isn’t a criticism either, as it makes it feel somewhat connected to what’s come before, and means that it doesn’t feel out of place in this world. The art style also helps with this, as all of the monsters have a much simpler, almost exaggerated look to them that this new monster doesn’t need to look super realistic.

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The art on the book, by Jake Smith, is a big draw for this book, and I can see a lot of people picking it up because of the way it looks. Smith not only provides the pencils, but colours the work too, and chooses bright, contrasting colours at times that gives each scene its own feel. The opening forest scene is bright and beautiful, filled with lush colours, whilst the secret base Yuko gets taken to is very cool blues and greens that not only makes the characters pop on page, but feels beautifully retro to look at. The art on the book reminds me of the big, bright style art found in the Criterion Collection Godzilla: The Showa Era Blu-ray set, a box set presented as an art book filled with new poster art for several movies. I adored looking through that set, and the art in this book would feel right at home in those pages.

This seems to be an interesting start to a new story; one that’s trying to do something new and adding to the world its set in. With us only having briefly seen this new monster, however, we’re yet to know how big of a foe it’s going to be to our heroic Kaiju.

Godzilla: War for Humanity #1 is out now from IDW Publishing.

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