WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Godzilla: Aftershock, by Arvid Nelson, Drew Edward Nelson, Allen Passalaqua, Jeremy Colwell, John Roshell, Jimmy Betancourt and Sarah Jacobs, on sale now.
The graphic novel delivers on its promise, although this new creature is a different spin on the Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organism that debuted in director Gareth Edwards' 2014 film. The result is an even greater threat to Godzilla called the Jinshin-Mushi, or MUTO Prime.
Here, following the battle in San Francisco in which Godzilla killed a pair of MUTOs, the King of the Monsters resurfaces a few months later in Guam, hunting what appears to be a larger, more evolved version of the creature. After a fight with Godzilla, the Jinshin-Mushi escapes, apparently in search of something valuable.
Monarch scientists Emma Russell (played in the new film by Vera Farmiga) and Ishiro Serizawa (Ken Wanatabe) track the creature to a Shinto holy site in Kyushu, Japan, where they believe they've found its lair. However, as much as they think science possesses all of the answers, an ancient religion also has a major role to play when the MUTO is discovered in its crater. It's revealed the people there believed the god Jinshin-Namazu took the form of the MUTO Prime, which a Shinto priest calls a giant Dragon Beetle, to make mankind pay for its sins.
Although the entity became known as the Jinshin-Mushi, we know it's actually an alpha monster that's wreaked havoc for centuries, and even gone toe to toe with Godzilla's ancestors. It feeds on the energy of nuclear submarines, like the MUTOs, and evolved to be the polar opposite to Godzilla's kind. The kicker is, it doesn't just kill its archenemy, it lays its eggs inside the kaiju; they hatch as the MUTOs we saw in Edwards' 2014 film.
The new MUTO Prime uses its ovipositors as hands in battle, too, giving Godzilla problems, just like when the King of the Monsters faced its predecessors. As Godzilla pursues the creature around the globe, the Monarch team dredges up more details about the Jinshin-Mushi because of the discovery in Siberia of another MUTO cavern. They deduce thatits spear-tip ovipositors implant eggs into its victim and suck out its nuclear energy, which is why it prefers to brawl with Godzilla's species.
However, Russell figures out that if the eggs aren't fertilized, their genes reshape themselves and transform the creature into the Prime species. They eventually kill each other, with the sole survivor becoming the MUTO Prime. Interestingly enough, these eggs communicate via sonar with the Prime that laid them, indicating they're incubating properly, which is what sends the creature into fight or flight mode, so as to protect them.
In the final battle at a nuclear facility in Montana, the Jinshin-Mushi uses its pincers to stab Godzilla, and then shatter his dorsal fins using an epic scream, proving it's a huge step up from the average MUTO. Godzilla ultimately wins as the comic ends, but he walks away badly wounded, reminding Monarch scientists that they may be underestimating some of these Titans.
Directed by Michael Dougherty, Godzilla: King of the Monsters stars Vera Farmiga, Ken Watanabe, Sally Hawkins, Kyle Chandler, Millie Bobby Brown, Bradley Whitford, Thomas Middleditch, Charles Dance, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Aisha Hinds and Zhang Ziyi. The film opens Friday nationwide.