Godzilla Returns / Marc Cerasini : 3 of 5
Since I've seen all the Godzilla movies multiple times and even enjoyed the old Marvel Comics series recently, I'm always on the lookout for new Godzilla material. I had heard about a series of novels (actually for young readers) that seemed kind of interesting, and luckily I was able to get one from PaperBack Swap even though they are completely out of print! I wasn't sure what it would be like to read a narrative kaiju "movie", but Godzilla Returns was surprisingly good and seemed to unfold and slowly build just like a great film. The plot chooses to reset the timeline (much like the Heisei era films) so only the first appearance by Godzilla in 1954 has happened. In fact, the original movie is referenced as a "documentary", and Stephen Martin (Raymond Burr's character) has even written a book about his dramatic experience! The story focuses on a few youthful characters (both Japanese and American) with the often seen mix of ambitious news reporters and disciplined military folk. When Godzilla appears in the 1990s to feed on a Russian nuclear sub, the political battles begin between the scientific community and the military as Godzilla slowly makes his way to Tokyo. The descriptions of action and destruction are really well written, and it was especially exciting to read about the young heroes driving through the streets of Tokyo as rubble (and Godzilla's feet) tumble down around them! The author obviously knows enough about Japan and Godzilla lore to tell a plausible kaiju story (I loved the reference to Cadmium missiles, which are sometimes used in the films as a deterrent to Godzilla's nuclear nature), although there are a few silly stereotyped moments (but of course, this happens all the time in the movies). Overall I enjoyed this Godzilla experience enough to order a few more books in the series, and I'm looking forward to new stories of the King of the Monsters!