After an auspicious beginning, the viciously satirical run of Eric Powell and Tracy Marsh on Godzilla: Kingdom of Monsters came to an end last issue with a sort of an '…oh' feeling. Did they have a slam-bang ending they had to quash because IDW wanted to keep the series going, or was that planned? We don't know. But now, writer Jason Ciaramella is taking over where they left off with #9, and there's already a slightly different sensibility to the proceedings. Where once this series was a black comedy, the new take seems to be approximating a straight-up action movie.
A soldier by the name of Steven Woods, who we've been following for the past several issues, has come across the inert Mechagodzilla, and he's firing it up and learning how to run it in order to try and kick Godzilla's ass for killing his family. Meanwhile, President Ogden is trying to get Woods to obey orders, since Mechagodzilla is pretty much their only hope of getting any kind of traction against the onslaught of monsters that have destroyed civilization. Woods isn't playing ball.
We'll certainly miss that Goon sensibility that Powell brought to Godzilla, as the series feels a little deflated without its star creator and his unique style. Ciaramella's tone is perfectly adequate, but a little bit mundane. There's a moment where Woods just dumps some ugliness on the little girl he's been trying desperately to protect from any further trauma that feels a bit off, and after how easily Godzilla managed to put down Mechagodzilla back in issue #6, the idea that an untrained hardass running it manually is going to make a difference also seems questionable. Then again, maybe he won't. The question will be whether or not Ciaramella decides to have humanity find a way to fight back, or if he'll continue Powell's theme of neutering human hubris.
The art from Victor Santos is as hit and miserably miss as always. He's fairly decent with the monsters, but when a little girl's freckles look more like a tire tread across her face, there's some detail that could use some work going on here. He's very angular and distorted with his renderings of human figures, and sometimes that works, sometimes it's just unpleasant.
The drop-off in quality isn't steep by any means with the writer hand-off, but there's some inevitable loss of excitement. We'll have to see if Ciaramella can inject it back into the story before we miss it too badly.
CRAVE ONLINE RATING: 6/10