By Joshua Fialkov, Brain Churilla & Jay Fotos
IDW’s Godzilla titles have had varying success. The most recent series, Godzilla in Hell, had an amazing premise, but the issues were, contrived, often incoherent, and ultimately uneventful. With Godzilla Oblivion, the concept revolves around the Toho kaiju coming to our world from another dimension. Again, in theory that is a very promising pitch! It would be a great rationale for having these fantastic behemoths be present on Earth. In this premiere issue, Dr. Eli Ridley has made it his life’s work to create a bridge between the dimensional divide and he is finally about to achieve his dream. Once his corporate masters catch wind of this, they immediately decide to use it – sounds all too familiar, right? What awaits them on the other side is a world devastated by giant monsters who all bow to the King of the Monsters, Godzilla!
Joshua Fialkov clearly has noble intentions in trying to put a fresh spin on the Japanese monster, but sadly his execution of the material has serious issues. The whole exposition of how a group goes to another dimension is extremely generic and Fialkov makes sure to point that out. That was refreshing to know he was aware of the cliché, but despite that, the characters still carry out their clearly idiotic plan. The motivation of the corporate suits is also unclear, just that they need to use the technology now. Then, when the story jumps dimensions, there are several plot holes with various character’s actions and dialogue. There is a character who gives certain information, when it was clear that they had no way of knowing such info. Also, there is a sequence of the alternate dimension’s story of destruction, but the person telling the tale, in reality, has no need to be disclosing that to total strangers, but it’s necessary for the audience to know….so screw it, throw logic out the window!
At times, artist Brian Churilla takes a little too much liberty with his illustrations. There is a certain mecha that appears and when it is attacked by kaiju, its mouth opens in pain….It’s mechanical, it feels no pain. There are other ways to convey intensity in a sequence where the subject is inanimate. The artwork overall seems amateurish. There is little detail in the backgrounds of the panels and the content in smaller panels have less detail and are unrefined. Also, the Godzilla characters look hastily done; it seems as though the initial sketches for the images are what was inked and colored.
Color artist Jay Fotos worked with what he was given. He tries to liven the material with contrast shading and moody backgrounds. The key image of the Big G may not be the best rendering, but with the cover of night highlighting only his yellow eye, he has a foreboding presence in the large panel. It almost has a Francesco Francavilla feel to it.
Oblivion has a very poor start. That’s not say that it can’t get better because it still does have the potential to be an interesting diversion in the Godzilla mythology. These iconic characters, like so many key intellectual/licensed properties, have a long and storied history and with good reason: care and passion. If this creative team buckles down and delivers a logical, inventive scripts with detailed, evocative pages, this comic could be very strong. Hopefully, next month will be a different experience.