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Godzilla In Hell #1 & #2

godzillahell2James Stokoe (#1) and Bob Eggleton (#2), writers/artists
IDW Publishing

Reviewed by Jon A. Adams

As I return to writing reviews after a hiatus of a few years, I start with one character’s presumed finale: “Godzilla in Hell.” And this is most certainly the Dante Alighieri version of Hell, as presented in “Divine Comedy,” with all nine circles. This well-worn path has been trod by characters as diverse as Marvel’s Ka-Zar and Shanna in “Ka-Zar the Savage” #10 – #12 (1982) and Disney’s Mickey Mouse in “Walt Disney’s Comics and Stories” #666 (2006). So, should we give a “damn” about our scaly scallywag’s infernal incursion?

This magazine’s strongest point is the beauty of the artwork. The style is very realistic, which lends itself well to something as fantastic as monsters. Each page is fascinating to study, and you can practically feel the texture of hell’s environment as well as the various creatures. Especially when Godzilla encounters a Lovecraftian horror. Such things lend themselves to be drawn in an impressionistic, loose style; but to see them in such concrete, detailed realism is breathtaking. In issue #2, Godzilla’s weight causes him to break through a layer of ice, and the ice is so exquisite and detailed in its crystalline fractures and facets, you can almost feel condensation from it on your fingertips.

But… there is absolutely no dialog – no words of any kind – in the entire first issue. The reader just follows Godzilla along as he (she?) makes his/her way along Hell’s circles, encountering and battling a familiar foe of old at each stop. Not to sound like a peasant, but I read the whole thing in under a minute. Yes, I know I’m missing the point. I had the same complaints about Dark Horse’s gorgeous “Age of Reptiles” (1993). I know there is nothing wrong with this being more “graphic” than “novel,” but it’s just not my cup of tea. Issue #2 at least had classic quotes at the start of each section, which helped put ones’ head in the right mood. But in the end, it’s just monsters fighting each other in allegorical settings.

My verdict: Considering the price, the overall experience is just too slight to merit purchase. I acknowledge and admire the endeavor, but I can’t recommend it. Unless of course, it sounds like your bag and you go in knowing the score.

By the way, I’d like to add that, for some reason, I just loved writing the phrase “Mickey Mouse in Hell.” That story I can recommend – “Mickey’s Inferno” was first printed serialized in the Italian Mickey Mouse, “Topolino” (1949-50), back before Disney got parochial about its characters. The text is in terza rima stanzas and cantos, just like Dante’s epic. And as Dante is to Italians what Shakespeare is to English-speakers, there was more of a classic literature vibe than a horror one when Mickey was brimstone bound.

September 5, 2015
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