Comic Rewind: Godzilla: The Half Century War

Godzilla: The Half Century War follows the life of a military lieutenant as he battles Godzilla his throughout his life.

The comic begins in 1954 Tokyo, Japan, as we meet the protagonist Lt. Ota Murakami.  His unit was sent to help with disaster relief and was to expect bad weather.  What his unit ended up seeing was the first ever contact with Godzilla.  Murakami and his unit had no idea what Godzilla was.  They made it out of that encounter with Godzilla by the slimmest of margins.

Each issue picks up in a different decade and a different country as Murakami and the world battle Godzilla and other kaiju from the Godzilla universe.  Murakami and the A.M.F aka the Anti Megalosaurus Force battle Godzilla through the 20th century.

Godzilla: The Half Century War was written and drawn by James Stokoe.  IDW Publishing published the volume in 2013 and is a self-contained story.

I must confess I am not a huge Godzilla fan, but I am a huge James Stokoe art fan.  Stokoe is one of my top three favorite comic artists.  He is an artist which I will go out of my way to read a comic just because he did the art.  His art is distinctive with his use of very detailed environments and his color palette.

A Godzilla comic for me didn’t sound very interesting.  I was really apprehensive to spend money to buy it.  However, my worries were misplaced and I ended up really enjoying this comic.

Stokoe writes his characters like they are fighting in a real war.  His characters have doubts and fears.  The characters see the hopelessness in this war with Godzilla and the kaiju.  Some of the characters develop PTSD from these hopeless battles and have both mental and physical scars.

Eventually Murakami begins to become over-invested in the destruction of Godzilla and puts his life in danger many times even though he is a old man by this point.  I became invested in Murakami and his war.  Something which was interesting was how Godzilla was never seen as a hero like in some later Godzilla movies.  It is always evil, but a necessary evil at times.  

Seeing Godzilla from a different point-of-view was refreshing and was the change I needed in order to really enjoy this comic.  A year ago I would never had read a Godzilla comic, but now I will look into other Godzilla comics with an alternate take on the character.  This comic opened my mind and showed me that even though I don’t have an interest in the character it could still produce a good comic.

I highly recommend this comic to everybody, but especially to fans of Godzilla.  The story is very good and the art is superb.

If you read this comic and enjoy the art and story as much as I did check out Orc Stain by Stokoe.  It is a story about what it is like to live in the Orc culture with great art and a bizarre comedic story.

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