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Godzilla: Skate or Die! #1
IDW Publishing

Comic Books

‘Godzilla: Skate or Die!’ #1 is a stylish debut

It’s that visual style that makes Godzilla: Skate or Die! #1 a must-read for Godzilla fans.

A group of skaters in Australia get trapped between two radioactive dinosaurs in Godzilla: Skate or Die! #1. Written and illustrated by Louie Joyce, Godzilla: Skate or Die! continues what has been a banner year for the King of the Monsters with a dynamic, character-driven story.

From the front cover, it becomes easy to understand the appeal of Godzilla: Skate or Die!. The punk aesthetic of Louie Joyce’s artwork is eye-catching and unlike just about anything in this franchise’s history (which is saying something 70 years in). Once readers dive into the book itself, Godzilla: Skate or Die! doesn’t disappoint, either.

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The story centers around a group of teenage skaters trying to survive school and reminiscing about a secret skate spot, the Coin Toss. Joyce introduces each of the characters with a magazine personality quiz, giving each character a fun nickname and character traits. It’s a subtle touch that provides background without taking up much real estate. The dialogue-heavy scenes help emphasize the relationships between the characters, though all of them are a bit concerned with the earthquake that occurred the night before.

The source of those earthquakes, as one might expect given the genre, is a giant monster. But the monster emerging in the outback is not Godzilla, but Varan. Despite debuting in the 1958 television film, Varan the Unbelievable, the kaiju has largely been absent from the franchise, relegated to a cameo appearance in Destroy All Monsters and lending some elements of his design to iterations of other, more famous monsters. So it’s a really cool choice to have him serve as the main antagonist here.

Louie Joyce’s artwork throughout really keeps the pace of the comic flowing. If one were to simply look at the script removed from the art, Godzilla: Skate or Die! #1 is a fairly standard first issue. Characters are introduced, a mystery is built, and oh, hey, Godzilla is there too. At times, the book feels a bit heavy in the dialogue. Joyce uses a cut-out aesthetic for the word balloons that harkens back to collage artwork and fanzines. While pleasing to the eye, there are times where it feels like it’s overwhelming the panel. 

Despite those drawbacks, it’s the artwork that makes the story work. From the coin toss that divides the opening two-page spread, to the dialogue-less sequences that build tension as the monsters emerge, Joyce’s artwork makes the story exciting and provides the skate-punk aesthetic to differentiate this series from the plethora of Godzilla comics that have come before.

It’s that visual style that makes Godzilla: Skate or Die! #1 a must-read for Godzilla fans. Godzilla and Varan both look amazing, and their brief appearances in this first issue really whet the appetite for destruction that’s sure to follow.

Note: This review is based on an early-access copy provided by IDW. Some differences may appear in the final release.

Godzilla: Skate or Die! #1
‘Godzilla: Skate or Die!’ #1 is a stylish debut
Godzilla: Skate or Die! #1
Louie Joyce's debut issue is full of stylish artwork, fun characters and cool monsters. Though a little talky, it's a unique and visually appealing take on the King of the Monsters.
Reader Rating1 Votes
8
The art style here not only is done with quality, but it provides a take on Godzilla that stands apart visually.
The cast of skaters are all colorfully characterized.
The story at times gets a bit dialogue heavy.
The story itself isn't as structurally unique as the artwork.
8
Good
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