Publisher: IDW Publishing
Writer(s): Jeremy Robinson & Matt Frank
Artist: Matt Frank
Colours By: Paul Hanley & Goncalo Lopes
Release Date: 24th August 2016
After the hugely successful Godzilla In Hell series, it’s unsurprising that IDW has produced another ‘Zilla series so quickly. Race Across Time follows the same format as its predecessor, with a different creative team producing each issue. It was a clever idea that added a little spice to what could otherwise have been an exhaustible concept, and if this first issue is anything to go by, it’s likely to achieve that same result here.
That said, IDW, clearly not satisfied with sticking with ‘more of the same’ no matter how successful it was, have decided to innovate and build on this solid foundation. Rather than a single setting, each book will feature ‘Gojira’ in a different location and time period (the first shows Godzilla rampaging in feudal Japan). That’s not all, though! This time around, they’ve included an actual plot. There’s even dialogue. While the beauty of ‘In Hell’ was being able to focus on the artwork without any pesky distractions, it’s likely the move has been made to make the series more accessible to the masses.
Credit goes to Matt Frank here; even with the added belts and whistles, the artwork remains the key ingredient for making this comic great. The style he’s adopted perfectly captures the time period he’s going for, a feature you’ll appreciate even more when the book flashes to modern day. Each panel is peppered with neat little touches, like swirls in the flames Godzilla breathes. The colourists have also done a great job in making the art pop from the page; this issue is bright and fantastical, and features a range of greens, oranges and purples befitting of the Japanese setting.
I’m happy to report the plot holds up too. The first issue tells the tale of the siege of Japan by Mongolia in 1274, who, alongside their ships, bring the monsters Gigan and Megalon. Only by incurring the wrath of Godzilla do the Japanese hope to secure victory. It’s a simple, but rather enjoyable story and succeeds in delivering what I anticipate most Godzilla fans want – some good ol’ fashioned monster-on-monster action.
Much like ‘In Hell’, it’s likely each book will function as a standalone comic, arguably providing readers with the freedom to dip in and out of the series for only the time periods they like the sound of. However, it does appear there may be an ongoing thread through Race Across Time. The first book introduces a modern day storyline, with two researchers on the hunt to uncover evidence that the legendary lizard does in fact exist. It remains to be seen how big a part this arc will play throughout the series; but my gut tells me, ‘not very’.
Next stop: ancient Greece! Oh goody!
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The writer of this piece was: Claire Stevenson
Claire Tweets from @cookie___raider.