With the last two issues of Godzilla: Here There Be Dragons we have been introduced to a time of pirates, swashbuckling adventure, and giant monsters, and it’s been an absolute delight to see these two worlds collide this way. But the third issue gives us something even better than this: a whole hidden history of Kaiju!
Things looked grim for Mr Hull, a condemned pirate, at the end of the last issue as he was led to the gallows for his long promised execution. How is the series going to go on without him there driving the narrative forward? Well, the book kind of did a fake out on us, as the very first panel of this issue reveals that Hull was spared from his fate at the last possible second thanks to the arrival of Sir Francis Walsingham, the principal secretary to Queen Elizabeth.
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This new introduction changes things slightly for the story, but not to a huge amount. Walsingham has come to listen to Hull’s story, as part of his investigation into larger issues. This means that Hull will continue his story about his time on Monster Island, but he won’t be under constant threat from his captors, and we’ve done away with the back and forth with his jailers from the first two issues. Which isn’t a bad change. It doesn’t really alter much in how the story is being given to us, but manages to expand the world in interesting ways.
The most interesting thing that this third issue does is that it reveals that it’s not just the people of this time and this culture who have experienced Kaiju before the modern era. A wonderful splash page shows us Godzilla in Feudal Japan, King Ghidorah fighting Roman soldiers, Mothra worshipped in ancient Egypt, Rodan being offered sacrifices in Central America, and Hedorah alongside a Viking long-ship. It turns out that these creatures are known throughout the world and history, but that their existence is a closely guarded secret; one kept by a Kaiju worshipping secret society called The Sons of Giants.
These few pages, especially the one that showed robed cultists wearing amazing Kaiju masks, are perhaps my favourite images in the series so far. Words cannot express how much I want each of those cultist masks. This gives us the reason for Walsingham having arrived in the book, and why Hull is so important. His story may hint at a connection between The Sons of Giants and the Queen of England (please god have Queen Elizabeth be wearing the lobster mask!). A whole new dimension has been added to this story now, and it’s no longer just pirates and giant monsters, but conspiracies and cults.
The issue isn’t just focused on the present, however, as we continue Hull’s story of his time on Monster Island, introducing a human antagonist for the members of his crew to deal with, along with showcasing Ebirah, Horror of the Deep. For a story focusing on seafaring and pirates it feels right that the giant lobster monster makes an appearance here, and seeing him crash through the jungle was a genuine delight. Frank Tieri not only knows how to pace a story and when to throw something big and bombastic at the reader, but it also seems like he’s hitting my all time Kaiju wish list with this story too.
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Art on this series has never been anything but wonderful, and Inaki Miranda and Eva de la Cruz continue to to impress each issue. The already mentioned pages where we see the Kaiju scattered across the globe interacting with different cultures is amazing, and the panel showing the secret cult was a jaw dropping moment thanks to the way that the art team execute the visuals. They manage to make it both wonderfully silly and goofy looking, but also so fantastic that you want to see it in real life, which is a hard line to walk on such things.
We’re over the halfway point in the series so far, and it is genuinely not just a delight to read, but a wonderful celebration of the entire Godzilla universe. The only complaint is that there are only two more issues to go, as this is a series that more than deserves to be an ongoing tale.
Godzilla: Here There Be Dragons #3 is out now from IDW Publishing.