Boy oh boy! I have wanted to write about comics for a long time. I am a big fan of the Marvel Universe and I have passion and love for the art, characters, and stories that live within the pages of each comic. The addiction to comic books started very innocently in the suburbs of New Jersey around 1983.
In the summer time, my mom would allow me to ride the train with my older brother Jeff. Sometimes, my little brother Andy would come, and usually Jeff's friend Fred Timmy would come as well, but it always kind of seemed like It was just Jeff and I. Being six years younger must have been a burden, but Jeff was always cool about taking his kid brother to the comic shop.
We would catch the train in Allendale, and take it to Ridgewood. From there it was a short walk to the shop. I have no idea what it was called, but I can always picture the owner. He was balding, with long greasy hair. And, he had a great Jersey accent. It was partially a baseball card shop and I remember him talking about Rod Carooo. It was also smokey as you could still smoke indoors back then.
I would usually get a few packs of cards and a few comics, but sometimes I would buy a back issue! Older comics were so exciting to me. I felt like I had a treasured! A valuable piece of history! I knew someone before me owned it. They also cost more, so I could usually only get one. But, it sure was worth it. The stories seemed better. The fights were more fun. And, it was from a time before I was born! Anyway, this is where the love for the 60s and 70s of Marvel first began it's grasp of my life.
At first I wanted to review a Spidey comic, but then I figured no matter what book I picked, surely multitudes have posted reviews and insight about it. I like the zaniness of Marvel's Bronze Age and found myself excited to review my copy of Godzila #3. Immediately I found my self struggling. Will people want to read a review of a Godzilla comic, let alone #3? I decided to go with my gut. There has to be someone else out there who likes Godzilla and the Champions, right? Who are the CHAMPIONS?! (That's what I was afraid of.) My first ever review may be a large under taking, but I decided to do a recap of Godzilla #1 and 2, introduce the Champions to those unaware, and finally finish with Godzilla #3. I also plan to follow editior's notes when possible.
Editor's notes are a lost piece of comic history. New readers of comics probably don't even know what they are! Sad.
(For those not in the know, an editor's note was really neat! During dialogue or narration, sometimes you would see an asterisk amidst the text. Following the asterisk would tell the reader to find a certain comic book in order to get the full scoop on what was going on.) They always peaked my interest and was the sole reason I went to comic shops seeking back issues.
From the opening panel, Godzilla is furious. He busts out of an iceberg to find himself in Alaska. I'm not sure that I'd be too stoked either. He knocks over a ship and heads straight for a power plant. A distress call is sent out and SHIELD receives it. Dum Dum Dugan and Jimmy Woo are much closer so Nick Fury puts him in charge of dealing with the monster.
Dugan ponders Godzilla's origin and we as the reader get to see it. In 1956, Japanese scientists tested a nuclear bomb in the ocean thus unleashing Godzilla upon their own shores.
Don't even get me started on Wacky Packs!!!
After comparing Godzilla to the Jolly Green Giant, they drop a SHIELD laser cannon on the battlefield. They fire that baby up and shoot Godzilla directly in the face. This may be the only successful thing Dugan is able to do. From here on out he becomes an obsessive Ahab.
Godzilla is now super angry. He destroys the cannon and with his radioactive fire breath ignites an oil spill.
In from Japan, Dr. Takiguchi, his assistant Tamara and grandson Robert reveal a case supposedly holding plans for a secret weapon. The fire gets smothered after Woo and Dugan do a dance. And, for the first of many times, Godzilla heads off in the sunset towards the next unsuspecting city.
Issue #2 begins with Godzilla still super pissed from being shot in the face with a SHIELD laser cannon. He thrashes a Seattle port, and then strolls toward the center of the city.
It had to be difficult to write this comic as your main character never speaks nor thinks. Well Doug Moench shows off his ability with lots of cool code names. Dugan's flight squad is called the "Green Team" and Godzilla is now refered to as "Big Baby". Dugan's elite crew is now the "Godzilla Squad". (Good thing they didn't mix codes names and call themselves the Big Baby Squad.)
Dr. Takiguchi reveals he was the sole dissenter of the nuke experiment and fears that the explosion may have actually mutated Godzilla. The doctor also reveals the blast freed ... other monsters. Tamara and that little tagalong Robert propose that Godzilla is not evil and must not be killed. Dugan about loses it and spits his cigar out in shock!
Tamara shows off that she really does have secret plans in that fancy case and Tony Stark is going to help build them. Dugan, wearing his own Stark made Spanflex Armor, has a plan of his own and is quite excited to put it in to effect. He is going to turn out all the lights in the city and then lure Big Baby with bright beacons of light. The only problem is that the Seattle City Council is voting on the matter and can't decide if saving the city is worth turning off the power for 5 minutes. The council won't decide and Dugan tells Gabe Jones to destroy the city's main power plant thrusting Seattle in to darkness.
The plan actually works! Godzilla follows the flying SHILED pods with the bright lights all the way to the edge of a cliff far above the sea.
Grampa is holding an Inertia-Block!
Godzilla won't go for the final light out over the ocean so Dugan quickly instills his contingency. Unbeknownst to ... Big Baby, a vehicle rolls up behind him. They shoot him in the back with giant "Inertia-Blocks" that look very much like chocolate Bonkers. The force of the Bonkers knock Godzilla into the water. Success! Godzilla is heading off in the sunset and another city is partially saved! Dugan is strutting around but can't believe it when Gabe says that he does not feel like a "good guy" after treating Godzilla the way they did.
Dugan's cigar pops out of his mouth again and rightly so. Godzilla is killing and destroying everything around them. Dugan has a huge task at hand. He should not have to deal with issues like Gabe not feeling like a good guy and some japanese guy's grand kid scolding him for trying to take down a giant, monster-dinosaur beast. SECURITY!
Oct. 1975 Kane/Adkins
As you know my goal was to review issue #3 of Godzilla. That's the issue in which the Champions show up. As I'm sure any Marvel nerd who may be reading this knows who the Champions are but, your average nerd may not. So, as nerds, let's all be on the same page. (Oh, and remember, I love editor's notes and I will be tracking them.)
The Champions #1 begins with Bobby Drake and Warren Worthington III strolling the campus of UCLA. Bobby is whining about how his expensive college is no fun. He wishes he was still on the X-Men but he and Warren agree that they are not the same X-Men anymore. Warren then tells how well Beast is doing on the Avengers.
The true Champion is the one that must help Hercules strap on those pants
Luckily, our duo does not have to look far for adventure because literally 10 feet away from them a hole opens up and a gang of Harpies come flying out of it. Rather than attacking, they actually ask a citizen where "she" is? Bobby throws an iceball, hitting the lead Harpy in the head. Yelling "Destroy the icy one!", They all proceed to attack and then Warren says, hey ... "I have to go change." Bobby is left to deal with the group and does quite well. Just when he's about to get his arms ripped off, Warren shows up in a very ... interesting fashion choice and saves Iceman. Iceman is surprised that Warren is not wearing his mask and tells him to hide. To which, Warren replies, 'No! Today I go public!"
Last DD/Widow issue
The scene shits to a small room elsewhere at UCLA and our first editor's note!. Natasha Romanov is worried about getting a job and she reminisces about her times with Daredevil and their spilt in DD #124.
Ivan keeps her company as she sits worrying if she's going to get a job teaching Russian. Natasha, aka the Black Widow is looking super hot in a mini skirt when a woman in the guise of Dr. Victoria Starr walks by.
Then, another portal opens up in close proximity to our heroes, but this time 7 Amazons come out flailing swords and big words. The Hippolyta Amazons point at the doctor and confirm her as the one they are looking for. The Black Widow decides to help and Ivan shouts , "Tash! Strip for action!" Natasha removes her skirt revealing she had been wearing the costume all along.
A small scuffle ensues and Widow and the mysterious Dr. Victoria Starr jump out the window leaving Ivan alone in a room full of Amazons. (Grats Ivan!)
Cool transformation! The note refers us to G.R. #13
The scene again shifts. This time, it's Johnny Blaze out for a nice sunny afternoon motorcycle ride. No portals open up near him. No, this time a group of UCLA goers inform him trouble is brewing ahead. Johnny has a pretty cool Ghost Rider transformation and then he revs it up the road. Waiting for Ghost Rider is a large man-beast called Cerberus and our next editor's note. See it? In the top left panel! It refers us to Ghost Rider #13.
Ghost Rider's quick change in the Champions #1 reminds him of going against the Trapster
Cerberus chasing G.R. makes him think about GR #14
Ghost Rider decides to blast Cerberus in the face with his HELLFIRE. Cerberus then turns into ... a giant purple dog!
The dog chases Ghost Rider around. We get another editor's not as Ghost Rider thinks about what happened in G.R. #14 and once again ... you guessed it, the scene cuts to a different part of UCLA.
Hercules the Olympian god is backstage of an auditorium with Richard Fenster. Hercules is about to give a speech entitled, "MYTHOLOGY: WHAT IT MEANS TO YOU". Before you can say "Boo", more assailants show up. They gang up on Herc and force him out of a window. They continue to brawl and the creatures let Hercules know that they are 'MUTATES' and that we have not seen them since THOR # 163.
Ghost Rider rides past with Cerberus in hot pursuit to which Herc exclaims, "Titan's Blood!". He hops on the back of Ghost Rider's motorcycle and they cruise down the street. Together, they see Iceman, Angel, Black Widow and Dr. Starr running from the Harpies and Amazons.
The Mutates tell Hercules to read THOR #163
The scene causes Hercules to once again shout an awesome phrase. This time it's "BY THE CLOVEN HOOVES OF PAN!".
Hercules fights the giant hound, Ghost Rider takes on the Harpies and Iceman thwarts the Amazons. Dr. Starr reveals herself to be VENUS when she asks Angel to fly her above the battle. She tells the Mutates that she has the 'Cestus' and they must love her. Because they aren't exactly men, they are affected strangely and weird shaped hearts float about as they all keel over.
Hercules recognizes her and says, "Well done cousin". All six huddle and already we can tell that only destiny could bring such an ensemble together. Chumming ensues as Iceman calls his new friend "Ghost Guy".
Just when they think it's time to call it a day Herc is struck by a 'ZAT'! It's Pluto and he has a decree directly from Zeus! Hercules shall wed Hippolyta and Venus will probably have to marry Ares. If either resists ... The universe dies!
So, there you have it. The Champions of Los Angeles! And, with much delay, here is the comic I wanted to feature. I've been calling it a review but really it's more of an analysis. It's Big Baby #3!
Upon grabbing this issue, I was immediately disappointed. Why isn't Ghost Rider on the cover? Why does Godzilla aways look so dopey? Oh well. I'm sure it was the artisits choice and he'll show up inside.
The issue begins with Godzilla in San Francisco clutching the tip of the Golden Gate Bridge. Police boats try to deter him by firing at him with large standard issue police boat cannons. Godzilla destroys the police. Cut to : Los Angeles
Only two members are at Champions Inc. Hercules and Natasha. He doesn't wait a second to let her know that,"Thy company doth appeal to me." Black Widow kind of digs it but before she can respond, a 'loin-blocking' alarm goes off causing Herc to once again shout, "BY THE CLOVEN HOOVES OF PAN!"
Hercules, thou is a sly dog.
'Haha! I can fly too! (She should let Warren drive)
Widow, being team leader says they have to respond to the Godzilla alarm as no one else is around to do anything. She has no idea Dugan's Godzilla Squad is on the case. Upon running to board the ... Champscraft, Widow and herc bump in to Bobby and Warren. They state that they don't know where Ghost Rider is and that Darkstar is out doing her thing.
"WHAT?!" You don't know where Ghost Rider is? What kind of a teammate are you? No wonder he never felt accepted! And Darkstar? Why don't I remember her being a Champion? Well, I guess I only have about 8 of the 18 issues. I need to brush up. Anyway, how sweet is the CHAMPSCRAFT!
As Dugan approaches S.F., Gabe continues to pout and we learn that Jimmy Woo has been assigned to Dr. Takiguchi.
Godzilla has turned away from the bridge and is looking towards the shore as the Champscraft lands on the evacuated bridge.
Iceman immediately creates an ice bridge and zips around as the cops continue to shoot at Godzilla. Warren tries to stop the police from firing and that gives Godzilla an opportunity to swat him like a fly. About to then be stepped on, Hercules selflessly puts himself between asphalt and a giant foot. With immortal strength, the Prince of Power not only withstands the beasts mighty weight, but he pushes back and topples the behemoth as well.
Godzilla is so mad he immediately sets the countryside ablaze with his fiery scorn. Dugan is ready to try out his newly fashioned, huge electric nets called ... 'ELECTRO-MAG-NETS'. He then chides Gabe by asking him, "Godzilla your kid sister?"
Elsewhere, Stark, Woo and the Takiguchi crew meet up.
Upset that the Champs have intervened, Dugan takes matters into his own hands and flies a SHIELD carrier into Godzilla's mouth knocking him under the water. He emerges directly under the Golden Gate bridge, completely destroying it. Now it's time for Dugan's big guns. Bring out the MAG-NETS!
The nets deem completely useless as all three miss Big Baby. Dugan then calls Hercules an "overgrown hippie body builder". From the water, Hercules throws a giant piece of highway at Godzilla, once again completely missing the target and instead hitting the SHIELD heli-carrier.
The Heli-Carrier loses control and plummets to the sea. Godzilla stands looming over the entire scene, capable of destroying everyone present. Yet, all he does is crush a protruding structure with ease. Dugan and the Champs point fingers until they eventually fess up and admit that they totally blew it. Godzilla then turns and walks off in to the sunset not knowing that tomorrow he will be fighting a giant bat-dragon called "BATRAGON".
Back cover to Godzilla #3
It sure was good to have the Champions around, but it did not make the comic that much more interesting. Though I love anything Marvel related, I have a tough time getting through the Godzilla comics. I love seeing Dugan running the show, and I am also a huge Godzilla fan. Sadly, like Bill Bixby, Highway to Heaven, and the A-Team it's one note. The main character goes town to town and basically does the same thing again and again.
The highlight of the series is when Dugan is able to shrink Godzilla and the little green monster ends up battling a rather mean New York City rat.