Godzilla Legends #1

IDW continues to expand their line of Godzilla-related stories. This series, however, is designed to offer up adventures featuring some of Godzilla's friends and foes. Starting it all off is Anguirus, the turtle-armadillo-dinosaur creature who just never seems to win. He's like the Charlie Brown of the kaiju scene, and this issue is no exception.

The unfortunate thing about giant monster comic books is that without human characters in them they'd be a two second read. The human characters, however, can really deteriorate the sense of grandeur and painfully blunt the fun these stories should have. In the kaiju movies, the human element is frequently played up for humor, to deliver scope and to help the pacing. Here, the trio of human characters is a bunch of cardboard cutouts lathered up with silliness.

Matt Frank draws them with anime features and body language, and Jeff Prezenkowski writes them with all the most ridiculous lines and ideas. The human side of this story brings in a number of heavy-sigh and eye-roll inducing moments, including the duplicitous scientist, the not-so-dead soldier, and the cheerleader female lead. The humans also get in the way of Anguirus' fight with Destoroyah.

This is a smart looking book when the monsters are on the page. Matt Frank draws a great Godzilla, even in the vignettes that measure out Godzilla's role in Anguirus' tale. Frank's Anguirus is vicious and determined, despite his overall goofy appearance. The fight between Anguirus and Destoroyah is well-choreographed, and the stunning detail Frank and colorist Josh Perez pour into the devastation makes the scene authentic. You can almost taste the dust from the smashed concrete. If only the artists were able to spend a few more pages on the giant monsters.

Despite the really limp tagline of "In a world where monsters roam freely, some stories have been lost to time. . . until now. These are Godzilla Legends," this issue is a not so much a legendary tale as it is a story that we just happen into. Anguirus isn't the greatest of all kaiju, nor is he the worst. He's just forgettable, and, unfortunately, so is most of this issue.

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