Although the Kaiju genre has been going on since the first Godzilla movie pioneered it in the 1950s, there has been a recent resurgence that has caught on internationally, whether it is the Pacific Rim franchise or Legendary Entertainment’s MonsterVerse. No doubt that comics are putting their spin on the Kaiju genre, such as James Stokoe’s numerous Godzilla comics and Image’s Ultramega. With Aftershock’s latest trade release, what happens when you place giant monsters in a heist storyline, and you’ve got Kaiju Score.
Described by writer James Patrick as “a Quentin Tarantino film taking place in some corner of a Godzilla movie”, Kaiju Score centers around four people who team for a heist where they will crack open a safe filled with priceless art during the middle of a giant monster attack. Far from being the best of conditions, can this foursome put aside their differences and pull off this incredible heist?
The title’s two-word concept sounds enticing, but sadly the execution doesn’t live up to it. Despite the mashing of two genres, the storytelling relies too much on one genre, specifically the heist. Often with heist narratives, you are introduced to the team individually and then see planning of said heist. The first issue struggles in establishing everyone, and you wouldn’t even think this story features Kaiju if not for the brief mentions and the physical presence of one later on.
Once the heist kicks in the second issue, there isn’t much fun going on because there is a great deal of talking, which plagues the whole book, especially with the number of F-bombs dropped in an attempt to sound edgy. There is certainly characterization towards the team as we see backstory and motivation that drives them individually, but so much of their interactions are them at each other’s throats that the ongoing antagonism gets tiresome.
Halfway through the book, things perk up with the actual presence of two giant monsters and how they unintentionally become part of the heist, as artist Rem Broo presents a sense of scale between the humans and the Kaiju, which adds a comedic touch. Along with a more cartoonish sensibility, there is a distinction towards the expressive characters. Broo uses vibrant coloring, especially in the splashes of blood. The most visually stunning pages are the few pages showcasing the blueprints of the heist, as well as the Kaiju that gives you a sense of world-building that the rest of the book is sorely lacking.
Kaiju Score could’ve been a fun meshing of two genres, but unfortunately, it never finds a satisfying balance.
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