"The Coming!" Guest-starring Nick Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D. Story by Doug Moench. Art by Herb Trimpe and Jim Mooney. The slumbering leviathan known as Godzilla has awaken and rises out of the sea off the shores of Alaska. This reptilian titan has already left Japan devastated and now has made his way to America. With a tail that can smash mountains to dust and fiery breath born out of the Atomic Age, is there anything that can stop this monster's rampage? Right from the Toho Productions' famed movie series comes Godzilla, King of the Monsters
Godzilla, the King of the Monsters, makes his Marvel debut in Godzilla #1, released in August 1977. After years in the limelight on the silver screen, arguably the most famous of Kaiju invades America in their first comic at Marvel, setting up a devastating first issue that captures the magnificent power of the monster quite well.
Godzilla isn’t primarily known for the work Marvel did, with Dark Horse doing the bulk of the work for so long. But when the Kaiju was at Marvel, there were quite a few interesting things that did happen. In the first issue alone, we see Nick Fury of SHIELD taking him on with a group of specialists, even going so far as to use Stark tech against Godzilla. It’s an exciting meeting of iconic properties and even finds a unique perspective of American culture at the time. Just a few years before this issue’s release around 1973 there was a major oil crisis that forced hardships on American people, and in Godzilla #1 we find particularly scathing comments on both consumption and greed in American society, thrust into chaos by the presence of Godzilla.
It doesn’t get much more on the nose than Godzilla literally using a pipeline to “whip” military forces away and destroy crucial infrastructure. With Moench even commenting on the “vampiric thirst of America” in the midst of the carnage. Decades later, these social commentaries hold unique value in such stories. Especially as the story approaches Godzilla’s first attack on American soil, far from Japan. Tying the character, however haphazardly, into the context of the time helps the story to be more than mindless fun even years later.
It isn’t a perfect issue by any means, though. There are plenty of instances of skewed artwork with wild proportions and awkward anatomy. Couple this with some particularly lackluster coloring and some of the panels just don’t quite pop like they have the potential to. “Dum-Dum” Dugan and Woo aren’t exactly inspiring leads, taking much of the focus rather than Fury, SHIELD, and Dr. Takiguchi. They are the typical humans meant to offset Godzilla with their own brand of devastation, making us wonder who is doing more harm. But ultimately, they are just too generic with unfounded motivations to be interesting. Once Dr. Takiguchi is able to come into the story and present an idea of an American penchant for death we are able to find a bit more nuance and redeeming value. That being said, there are still instances of questionable dialogue and treatment towards characters that aren’t white. It’s not overly abundant, but it is worth mentioning that it could have benefited from just a bit more tact in the relations.
Godzilla #1 certainly has an engaging story to tell with the monster’s first attack on American soil, beating SHIELD and making his way towards Seattle makes for quite an explosive introduction. It’s a book that has a lot of fun with Godzilla entering the greater Marvel Universe and despite relying solely on the “devastating monster” cliche about the character, it does enough to keep you interested in what might happen next. Not all of the artwork is bad either, there are some awesome depictions of Godzilla here that shows the character’s ferocity and even intelligence. Some of the wacky elements of the time do make their way into the issue but it’s not really enough to distract from the main event, the King of the Monsters.
For fans of Kaiju action and diehard Truebelievers, Godzilla #1 from 1977 is absolutely worth sitting down to enjoy. It’s got plenty of monster destruction and futile fighting to keep you entertained and even attempts some intriguing social commentary for society at the time. It’s a book that is well worth scrounging up and giving a read!
For fans of Kaiju action and diehard Truebelievers, Marvel's Godzilla #1 from 1977 is absolutely worth sitting down to enjoy. It's got plenty of classic monster destruction and futile fighting to keep you entertained and even attempts some intriguing social commentary for society at the time.
SUNDAY CLASSICS: Godzilla #1 (1977): King of the Monsters
- Writing - 8/108/10
- Storyline - 9/109/10
- Art - 8/108/10
- Color - 7/107/10
- Cover Art - 9.5/109.5/10