It’s been about a month since Godzilla: Oblivion reached its final issue. Sadly, that mini-series was perhaps the weakest. The characters were wooden and the monster part of the story was all over the place. There was also very noticeable plot holes. Rage Across Time is the latest series and just from this first issue it seems to have fixed most of the problems with Oblivion. It’s not perfect, but it does have a high quality look to it.
Move over dinosaurs… monsters used to rule the planet! Travel to different time periods to examine the origin of myths that fueled nightmares! In this first installment, Godzilla brings his terror to feudal Japan!
The concept of Across Time is a unique one. Having Godzilla and his monster enemies in different time periods is a fascinating idea. This plot was kind of explored back in the Dark Horse Godzilla series when in a later arc the title monster was sent time traveling. (For example, he was sent back in time to when the Titanic crashed.) Rage’s story is much more refined since this idea is the primary focus. The first issue takes place in feudal Japan. It’s an excellent backdrop since legendary monsters fit right into this time period.
Jeremy Robinson nicely paces the story. It could have benefited from either being two parts or a graphic novel however. While Robinson makes excellent use of the limited pages, it isn’t quite enough to fully establish the human character conflict. We get a broad picture of the internal feudal Japanese dissension, but the two main characters could have used a little more developing. This doesn’t mean they are bad characters, because they’re actually pretty solid. (At the very least, much better written than the cast of Oblivion.) The usage of Yamata no Orochi was an excellent touch. This is another part that would have benefited from a few more pages. The two characters vs. Orochi happens rather fast, and the brief battle between it & Godzilla was excellent, though again rather quick due to limited pages.
Even though somethings might have been rushed, the story is still very nicely paced. It’s an engaging read and Robinson makes fun use of the samurai era. Matt Frank’s art is of course fantastic. What I personally like is that it isn’t quite as stylized as usual, fitting with the retro backdrop of the story. This is also helped by the almost-bronze color palette, so credit must be given to the three colorists: Paul Hanley, Goncalo Lopes, & Josh Perez. The main cover by Bob Eggleton is an elegant piece. Everything, from the Sakai version of Godzilla 2000 to the wave is beautifully painted. The subscription variant by Matt is a solid cover, featuring an enraged Godzilla against feudal era ships. Personally, I would say the simplicity of the main cover makes it the winner, but both are good. The RI by James Biggie is definitely the most unique of the three, featuring Godzilla drawn in the feudal style. If you like period pieces, this one is for you.
Overall, Rage Across Time starts out with an excellent first issue. The story is paced very well, with a good balance of dialogue and action. As stated earlier, some parts feel rushed unfortunately. Also, at first it seemed like the book was going to be an anthology. Inside however there’s a sudden cut to modern day, and based on the ending it looks like future issues will be connected in some way. I don’t think this was needed, because the cuts to modern day were distracting. Besides these things, the issue is a fun trek through feudal Japan with some surprise faces. From this opening issue, it looks like we’ll have a great Godzilla book.