Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Review: Justice League Vs. Godzilla Vs. Kong #2

Justice League Vs Godzilla Vs Kong #2 came out last week and was another pretty brisk and fun read, a sort of comic version of a summer popcorn movie. After reading the first one, I was a giddy mess. I never expected to see these two IP's together in a comic. This issue felt a little more like a standard comic. I was less giddy but no less entertained. This issue set up the plot a little more, gave us the first throwdown, and was (unfortunately) Kong-less. 

Writer Brian Buccellato keeps the plot moving, cranking up the threat of Godzilla. Whether this is the kaiju's actual power level or if he has been amplified by the Toyman isn't known. But we see the giant lizard stand toe to toe with Superman. It sets the table for how big a threat these monsters can be. Add to that a couple of nice side moments, building on the DCU's history as it exists on this Elseworld. There are a couple of hiccups but you still have a winner here.

Artist Christian Duce brings a smooth pleasing style to the book. I am sure that some of the close-ups of Godzilla are probably digitally traced from the recent movies. But the super-hero work here is great. Some characters, like Hawkgirl and Batgirl in particular, really look fantastic. 

We get an out-of-the-blue cliffhanger which might need a little explanation but made me wanting more.

On to the book.

Last issue ended with Godzilla suddenly appearing in Metropolis.

Superman jumps into the fray, trying to lead Godzilla out of the city. 

But it turns out that Godzilla is pretty tough in this universe, shrugging off a Kryptonian left hook and bashing Superman through buildings with his tail. 

There needs to be some element of conflict and threat, so beefing Godzilla up like this is okay in my book. Cool art too.

Last issue, there was a lot of Supergirl content.

This issue we have to be pleased with one page of her flying with the League with the intent of helping out in Metropolis. 

I really love the look of determination on her face, ready to help her cousin fight a 'big problem'. 

But there is more than just Godzilla to deal with. A giant spider kaiju is in Central City. A giant bat monster is in Gotham. And a humongous mammoth creature is on Themyscira. 

It is time for an old school, Silver Age Justice League adventure. You know the kind where the team splits up to fight the bad guys? 

Hawkgirl will help Superman in Metropolis. Green Lantern and Supergirl will deal with the spider. Wonder Woman and Green Arrow will head to Themyscira. At least we know where we'll be heading in future issues.

And ... the Bat family will defend Gotham.

Wait a minute ... the non-super Bats will fight a ginormous kaiju?? I get it that Gotham is Batman's city but really? Not one super-powered being? For this world, that seems bananas.

En route to Paradise Island, Diana and Ollie spy Kong Island, an island that shouldn't exist on the map. 

Figuring it has something to do with the monsters, they decide to leave Ollie there to investigate. 

I like this turn of events a lot, especially Green Arrow's line about deserted islands. Themyscira has an army of Amazons to defend it. They don't need an archer. 

He can do more good here. 

Last month, I thought Toyman was using the Dreamstone to wish the monsters here. Now we have confirmation.

It basically is a wish stone so if you need a reason why Godzilla can withstand a punch from Superman just say he was wished stronger. After all, Toyman brought them here to see a good fight. 

I freely admit I am not a big Batman fan. So the scene in Gotham seems nutty to me.

First off, Batman and Batwoman are flying jets trying to spar in the air with the bat-monster who has a sonic scream. The other members of the Bat family are skulking on rooftops. They can't really do anything.

At least the Red Hood has a plan. He'll shoot the thing with a high-powered rifle. 

He actually wounds the thing, shooting out an eye. At a different angle it might perforate this thing's brain and end the fight.

The thanks Jason gets? A knock-out punch from Batgirl. The Bats didn't want him to shoot.

At least he wounded it!!!

But the Bats have a different plan. They deduce the sonic frequency needed to defeat the kaiju. 

So they have Black Canary ride on the back of a bat-jet and scream in a giant megaphone to knock it out.

Okay, I get it. This is a world where aliens fly and shoot beams out of their eyes and an atomic-powered lizard stalks the Earth. But having a human woman ride the back of a jet plane is too much of a suspension of disbelief, even for me.

But one kaiju down. 

Meanwhile, Superman and Hawkgirl are getting nowhere fighting Godzilla. Enter another hero, Captain Marvel.

Now you might think that before going to his end move, the Captain might try to coordinate with Superman. Like, maybe together they can just airlift Godzilla somewhere.

Instead, he does the Shazam lightning gambit, turning into Billy Batson on top of Godzilla's head. Perhaps he should say 'shazam' again immediately.

At least it seems to have hurt Godzilla a little. Or maybe it just ticked him off. Duce does a great job with Godzilla in all these fight pages. And I love the story boarding of these three panels .

Superman has to fly in to rescue the now very mortal Billy. But before another transformation can be done, Godzilla unleashes his atomic breath. Superman has to protect Billy and therefore takes the brunt.

We end with a fried Superman unconscious in the streets. 

Should Godzilla's atomic breath hurt Superman? I don't know. Maybe it's been maxed out by Toyman. Or maybe it is akin to Kryptonite. But it is a good cliffhanger. 

This was more of a set-up issue than the first issue which now feels like a prologue or a teaser. The teams are set up. The monsters are on the table. And we still have Grodd and Kong out there somewhere. 

This was fun. 

Overall grade: B


PT Dilloway said...

When DC posted about this on Facebook I wondered how Godzilla is supposed to hurt Superman and some people said he is vulnerable to radiation. I guess especially if this isn't official continuity they can play a little loose with the "rules."

It's too bad Batman doesn't have a giant robot to fight the monster with. Maybe that's for a future issue.

Anonymous said...

When I saw that last panel, I sort of 'techno-babbled" to myself words to the effect that somehow Godzilla's "atomic breath" emits radiation somewhere in the "red solar" spectrum...which makes No Sense Whatsoever but still somehow bolsters my pure Kaiju Joy in this mini. I want Supergirl to make friends with That So Much to Ask??? You Owe Me DC!!!??


Anj said...

I suppose that red sun radiation can be part of atomic breath.

Or maybe 'akin to the Atomic Cauldron' which can hurt Kryptonians as well?

Dick McGee said...

Kryptonite is dangerous to Supers because of its undefined radioactive properties, which don't appear to be wholly unique or impossible to emulate. A few villains over the years (particularly in the Silver Age) have created "kryponite ray beams" that don't seem to be simply exposing a hunk of actual green K the way (say) Metallo traditionally did. These were directed energy weapons, and going ho wcasually Supes would crush them once he got his mitts on one they probably did not contain any K at all, they just emulated its radiation somehow. None of them seemed to be as harmful as exposure to the real stuff, but they could weaken and partly depower Kryptonians for at least a while after getting zapped, sometimes knocking them cold.

If you're willing to suspend disbelief about Godzilla and Superman facing off in the first place, it shouldn't really be a stretch to assume that the Big G's breath weapon produces a mix of radioactivity that at least partially overlaps what green K puts out naturally. The kaiju has far more power output than some puny ray pistol or even a mounted K-cannon. Pretty reasonable that being caught full-on in the beam (especially at close range) could inflict that level of harm even on Clark without having to bring red sun frequencies into the picture. Still not as dangerous as real green K would be, but not something casually shrugged off.

Lesson: Keep moving. Godzilla does not have superspeed or even particularly fast reactions, and people are very small targets for that version of the kaiju (unlike the much smaller one in the latest film, which is better at being a personal terror rather than a mostly-impersonal walking disaster).