As I mentioned last month, IDW Publishing‘s Godzilla in Hell is a conceptual dream come true. My concern was as great as this concept was, the risk of it slipping into simple novelty with the subsequent issues would run high. But the fine folks at IDW retain the concept’s freshness, aided in part by their novel approach to the series: having a different creator craft each individual issue that chronicles Godzilla’s trek through various levels or domains of Hell.
Noted sci-fi/fantasy/horror artist, Bob Eggleton, takes over the writing and artistic duties for Godzilla in Hell #2 to astounding results. Unlike the debut’s silent, Eggleton added narrative prose to the story, which reads in a vein similar to the Lovecraftian pulp fiction of the early 20th century. Consistent references to Godzilla as “the leviathan” feel as if the story were torn from an issue of Weird Tales.
Here we find everyone’s favorite behemoth facing off against demonic or possessed versions of familiar kaiju such as Rodan and Anguirus as Godzilla moves forward whatever mysterious summoning that led him to the Underworld.
While straightforward, Eggleton’s somber tone removes itself from the maniacal glee of issue one, and its a shift that works surprisingly well. Seldom does anyone try to add a true sense of darkness to Godzilla stories, but this fully painted issue knocks it out of the park.
Yes. Fully painted. You see that gorgeous painting on the cover? That’s what the entire looks like on the inside, except it gets even better. Colors and textures swirl to live as Godzilla battles through a variety of hellish locales with lavish representations of classic movie monsters, including a brief appearance by a certain beloved three-headed golden dragon.
It’s no wonder Eggleton’s work has graced the cards of Magic: The Gathering. He fully captures the majesty and fantastic nature of his subject material. Each and every page could be framed and sold as a work of art for prices just as otherworldly as the creatures inhabiting this book.
A noted Godzilla fan, Godzilla in Hell #2 proves to be an obvious labor of love for the artist, and it spills onto every single page of this book. Any fears I had this project may overstay its welcome were quelled and I positively cannot wait until the next issue.
My pick this week is Dark Horse Comic’s “Fight Club 2” #4, a book by the meta-avatar that is Chuck Palahniuk, and a so far a no-show self-illustrated Cameron Stewart. You can read reviews of previous issues in this series here and over here, but just lets cut to the #&*%ing point already: STOP NOT READING THIS BOOK. You’re sitting at home right now, probably reading this on your phone and I want to just reach through the screen and throttle you if you are a fan of comics, a fan of Palahniuk, or a fan of Fight Club and you aren’t reading this title. This isn’t a “Boy, what a fun comic book!” review, this is a boots-on-the-ground, mobilize a million drones, lets get this MISSION ACCOMPLISHED kind of review that punches you in the solar plexus, sending you careening off the cliff face letting out a Wilhelm Scream.
Guys, let me once again report my crazy bias here. I own/enjoy all things Palahniuk, I knew that I was going to enjoy this comic series, I went in with Rose-colored glasses and I was still blown away with how entertained I was by this book. I had read a great deal before about how Chuck was lured into the swarthy world of comics by some creator head honchos, and boy am I glad he went along with them. I think that this story, as it is presented so far, would have been a great book, obviously would have been a NYT bestseller, big picture deal, yadayadayada, but resetting Palahniuk’s skill sets in the new medium was a risk that presents the reader with more fruitful rewards than I could have imagined. I tell people that the only movie better than the original book is “Fight Club”, and here in the comic sequel we are getting something else entirely that is transcending both.
I rarely find that authors new to the medium can nail the episodic nature of chopping one story into issues with consistent beats. I am sure that a lot of credit is owed to the Dark Horse editors and staff that are no doubt guiding Chuck through these unknown waters. so far this book has been very consistently paced, while sprawling through what would be probably over a hundred pages of a regular book. We obviously have a return of Tyler, return of project mayhem, and in this issue returns from names I did not think we would see. Once more, I could recap, map and slap you in the face with plot points all day here, but nobody wants the movie described to them. #StopNotReadingThisBook
The art by Cameron Stewart here is still top notch, they are doing things with the page and art that you will not see in other books. I think each issue has had a gut-wrenching moment, either from the depths of Palahniuk’s mind, but in this issue it comes from Stewart’s pen (stylus?). David Mack’s covers are simply amazing and…and, sweet baby jeezus, listen: Please don’t make me review this book anymore…my heart…my heart is weak, and this really is taxing physically to do this each month. Their are a bunch more issues coming and you really just need them in your life. Dark Horse Comics “Fight Club 2” issue number 4 is out there right now.