The titans are about to face off this week, and if the early reviews are any indication, we have an epic monster mash-up on our hands with Godzilla vs Kong. But like any epic meetup of the Titans that is worth its salt – there is a lot of history and epic mythos to power the feud. So that's why we're recommending some must-read comics below, before we see Godzilla and Kong light up the screens.
Skull Island – The Birth of Kong is set squarely in the cinematic Monsterverse of which Godzilla, Kong – Skull Island, Godzilla – King of Monsters, and now Godzilla vs. Kong are a part. Gorgeously illustrated by Zid and written by Arvid Nelson, the comic series tie-in picks up decades after the events of the Kong movie. Our protagonist Aaron takes on a mission to uncover Kong's truth and rediscovers Skull Island – which had been left alone by Monarch. Whilst on the island, the team is attacked and left devastated by the infamous skullcrawlers, and then eventually discovered and rescued by the local tribe. While recuperating one of the team members Riccio starts getting visions. Through these visions we are told the story of Kong's birth, his nature and the events that shaped him. While the story is mostly flat when it is dealing with the humans (much like the movies), it shines when its focusing on Kong. Some of these scenes in the comic make you wish you could see them come to life on the big screen!
Godzilla – A Rage Across Time is a five-part miniseries series that is exactly what the title says – Godzilla raging his path through eons. Rage Across Time is part of the IDW's Godzilla – Unnatural Disasters Trilogy which includes Godzilla – Oblivion and Godzilla – In Hell – it leans towards the mythology of Godzilla versus the titan's place as a force of nature in the modern world. Set as observations from archaeological digs, we veer across millennia, in different times, ages and places and how our predecessors (not just human ancestors!) dealt with the various Kaiju we either love or hate! The first issue starts off in feudal Japan as the samurai fend off both a Mongol invasion and a Gojira landfall! By the time Godzilla has raged across time into the 5th issue – we are treated to the intriguing image of a velociraptor and human remains from the same time period! Get this one, because if the trailers are any indication – we are going to be looking at the Titan's ancient roots in Godzilla vs Kong!
Set in 1957 and published in 2005, Kong – King of Skull Island has Denham's sons (Denham being the man who brought Kong to New York in the original movies) set out to find the truth about their father. The world now doesn't believe that Kong or Skull Island actually existed – and the troubled and estranged brothers Jack and Vince set out in search of the truth, when they uncover new evidence. Set in the original Kong movie timeline, this time jumping mini-series follows Jack and Vince's journey of redemption and tells us how Kong became king of Skull Island eventually. While the artwork leaves much to be desired, the comic boasts a solid story that adds to the mythos of Kong.
Godzilla In Hell is another five-part series in the Godzilla: Unnatural Disasters Trilogy. And this one is completely bonkers – all the way from the trippy art, to the relatively random story. It is one of my nerd friend group's favourites too. Godzilla enters hell, Godzilla finds demons, Godzilla dispatches said demons and then falls deeper into hell. By the time we get to the final issue, Godzilla has fought hellish versions of his enemies, rejected God and Mothra's offer and is now ready to fight the Guardian of hell to make his way back to the land of the living. This comic book is as nuts as it sounds, and so much more. The comic firmly establishes Godzilla not just as THE force of nature but in many ways the embodiment of nihilism as well.
The 12-issue arc is the most wholesome way to grab a slice of the Kaiju and Godzilla mythos. It has an all-star cast – all the way from Gidhora, Mothra, Angirus to MechaGodzilla and some aliens too! It is all-out apocalypse on Earth and humanity is unable to cope with the battle of the titans. The series tries to encapsulate every aspect of the Kaiju mythology and pack it into a single massive storyline. That, of course, means it has its faults. But if you want to catch up on the mythos and be along for a fun ride, Kingdom of Monsters should be your jam.
So that was our top 5 list of Godzilla titles to catch up on, but in case you want to deep dive further into this rich and fun multiverse, here are some more titles I would recommend you grab!
Kong of Skull Island: Ancient south american tribes, trained Kongs, monsters, sacrifices and betrayals – and it's gorgeously illustrated too!
Godzilla – Half Century War: The series is told like a war story and provides a soldier's first-hand look at the reign of destruction that started in 1954 when Godzilla made landfall in Japan. Lieutenant Ota Murakami was there to save lives – and the comic books follows his obsession with the King of Monsters over the course of the next half century.
Godzilla – Gangsters and Goliaths: While it is not in the top 5 right now – I cannot stress enough how much I personally love this series. Hard boiled gangster and cop story meets the Kaiju universe… get this one. It is so much fun!