The Half-Century War ends at the turn of the century, 2002. With it, James Stokoe ends his Kaiju masterpiece. I figured to bookend this review with my previous review of #2 (insert link). Much like, I said in that review after all the annoying restarts (DC's New 52 I'm looking at you), the pointless events (Death of My Enthusiasm, Age of Boretron, etc.) this series was a refresher on why I enjoy reading comics.
For this issue, Stokoe brings his passion and love of the Godzilla franchise to the forefront. Stokoe weaves so much Godzilla lore into each installment: Godzilla Showa Era references in issues #1-3 since they take place in the 50s-70s, Heisei Era in #4 for the 80s & 90s, and finally this issue gives so many winks and nods to the Millennium Era of 2000s. Also, who else could Stokoe have book-ended this series with but his conflicting protagonists Godzilla and the Ahab-like human character Ota Murakami facing off? The antagonists for this issue are King Ghidorah and Gigan, who serve as the ultimate threat to all existence. It brings about an unusual, yet fitting alliance between the age-old foes.
One of the best qualities Stokoe has going for this entire series has been the right balance between the Kaiju and human characters that populate the series. Neither wear out their welcome. With this final issue though, we're given so much wrap up in nice tidy little moments, from Ota and Ken's final scene together in the opening, to the ultimate climax between Ota and Godzilla himself. Once we get to that crux of the story, one cannot help but get teary-eyed. Stokoe hits that nerve quite well, but then again as he's shown throughout this series that the man knows Kaiju genre quite well and is a masterful story-teller.
Though it isn't just the writing that Stokoe supplies, it's the rare feat of also drawing for the entire series as well. As with the previous four issues, this issue we're given a tour-de-force (I know I so wrecked that grammatically lol) of arty goodness. Stokoe's layouts are eye-popping and awing. I really hope and wish that IDW or Toho get the idea to use some of the splash pages in this series for prints or posters. They're that darn good.
It's been quite awhile that I've enjoyed a mini-series from beginning to end. I had fears Stokoe couldn't accomplish it remembering [REMEMBERING WHAT???] . But with this issue I'm quite convinced that Godzilla Half-Century War is THE DEFINITIVE Godzilla comic. You wanna get fans into the Kaiju genre? This is the story for them to read. From beginning to the end it's a fun filled thrill ride with the perfect resonating end.
5 out of 5
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