Opening the story twenty years after the last kaiju disappeared, “Godzilla: Cataclysm” #1, writer Cullen Bunn and artist Dave Wachter demonstrate just how terrible a world ravaged by giant monsters can be. The duo opens the story through the eyes of Hiroshi, a survivor of those battles and their aftermath, setting the table for the readers and providing a booster shot of kaiju battle action to set this series in motion.
Like the motion picture release from this summer, Bunn focuses on the humans at the heels of the monsters in “Godzilla: Cataclysm” #1. It works, but largely due to the conclusion. Hiroshi opens the issue, but Bunn passes the torch to Hiroshi’s grandson, Arata and the younger man’s galpal, Shiori, as they set out with an expedition to scavenge through the ruins left by the monstrous beings waging gigantic battles. Arata and Shiori have comic book — or perhaps Godzilla story — luck, escaping certain doom long enough for the readers to latch onto them, like any number of humans who always managed to find their way to a ringside seat as Godzilla took on the threat of the tale. Bunn doesn’t allow their continued success to be a given, as he inserts aspects of horror, with threats lurking in the shadows as well as casting those shadows. The giant monsters may not be the source of demise, but there are plenty of other threats fluttering about.
All of this plays nicely into Dave Wachter’s capabilities and strengths as an artist. Providing everything except letters (which are capably handled by Chris Mowry), Wachter might even branch in that direction as there are sound effects in “Godzilla: Cataclysm” #1 that are as much scenery as they are sound effect. Wachter doesn’t get sidetracked, though, as his art is filled with grime and grit, rubble and rubbish. The world depicted in this comic book is not happy, nor is it flourishing, but the horrors and monsters lurking in this world are visually terrifying and certainly appear capable of significant damage and destruction — exactly what a good Godzilla story needs.
Like so many Godzilla tales, “Godzilla: Cataclysm” #1 appears set to make a hero out of the king of all monsters. That said, the humans around him have not had an easy life and are likely not going to welcome him back with open arms. From what Bunn has written into the story and what Wachter has drawn, the people are as fearful of the kaiju as the inhabitants of the Bible’s Old Testament were of their own God. Bunn matches that thought process, elevating the monstrosities in this story to deity status, which is certain to cause moral and spiritual dilemma in and around the inevitable destruction. This isn’t just going to be another tale of giant monsters kicking the stuffing out of each other, Bunn and Wachter are ready to show readers the consequences of those conflicts.