GODZILLA: CATACLYSM #1
Written by Cullen Bunn
Art by Dave Wachter
Published by IDW Publishing
Release Date: August 13, 2014
IDW continues their run on Godzilla with the launch of Godzilla: Cataclysm #1. In the tradition of Godzilla comics, Cataclysm is its own continuity set aside from the other series. The mini-series focuses on the remains of human civilization following the monster apocalypse known as the Cataclysm in which all of the major Kaiju attacked the world and each other for an indeterminate amount of days. The monsters are long gone and some have even forgotten their existence. Hiroshi is the elder of the human village in the ruins of the fallen world and is experiencing traumatic nightmares about the Cataclysm. The moment he fears the most has come and the Kaiju have returned. What will happen to human kind with the return of the Kaiju?
The story of Godzilla: Cataclysm #1 is a dystopian tale of the final hours of man in the shadows of towering beasts. The world is still in shambles from the last attack and it is likely another attack will destroy the remains of human civilization. Cullen Bunn creates a world in which the Kaiju are truly monsters and that civilization efforts to prevent the destruction were pointless.
While not the first time Godzilla and the rest of the Toho kaiju have been presented as destructive forces, it is an interesting take to see society has fallen to the destructive might of the monsters. The story moves quickly while informing the reader of the past and setting up the return of the monsters in a subtle way at first including the return of one of the best Godzilla villains, Biollante. The story has suspense and is thrilling to follow.
Bunn provides simple character traits to establish the characters but not a bad thing. The humans are just introduced and he takes his time to build onto them. The lead humans all have distinct personality and it shows in the dialog. The dialog is solid and the rapport between characters is useful.
The biggest feature in the Cataclysm #1 is the opening narration by the elder Hiroshi. It is poetic and describes the horror of the world. It provides exposition in the best way without being a wall of text. The narration gives a glimpse into the mindset of Hiroshi and he respect and fear he has for the might of the monsters, something the younger characters do not possess. While simple at the surface, the characters do have depth to them as it is slowly revealed.
The art for Cataclysm #1 is nothing short of breathtaking. Dave Wachter delivers a world immersed with detail and ruin. The kaiju in the opening act are given great detail and expressions that look believable. The design of Godzilla is monstrous and a sight to behold. It is a sight that would inspire fear into people. The backgrounds are highly detailed despite being mostly ruined cities. Wachter spare no expense in his work.
The figure work by Wachter is great. The human characters each carry themselves differently and provide characterization. Subtle poses and expressions go a long way in making characters believable. It is a vital skill for actors and for an artist to include them makes the story that much more fun.
Wachter done his own inks and they work rather well. The minute details are not overdone in lines for a sense of realism. Wachter has a distinct look to his inks and it shows. The lines have varying widths and edges. The rougher lines are reserved for the Kaiju and it sets them apart from the world.
The colors were also carried about Wachter. Flashbacks/nightmares were presented in red setting the tone of horror and shock but once entered into present/reality the colors take on a different life. If there was one thing to note, I do wish there was more of a color palette to the ruins of the city besides washed out grays and browns. It seems to be the default tone for post-apocalyptic society. Variety would help set this world apart.
Lettering by Chris Mowry was fantastic. He provides voice and character for the monsters to compensate for the lack of speech. Each balloon provides a sense of tone and gives the roars and growls weight that helps the reader understand the monsters.
Godzilla: Cataclysm #1 was a great book. The art was masterful and the story presented was different from the usual Godzilla tale. The ground work is being laid for the mini-series and the story should prove to be one of the more enjoyable Godzilla books as of late. It is great for new readers or old fans alike.
The Verdict: 9.0/10