James Stokoe's take on the mighty Gojira continues in Godzilla: The Half-Century War #2, which interjects the titanic lizard monster into the Vietnam conflict. That's right, he's in the shit, man.
As we saw in the last issue, Ota Murakami and his partner Kentaro have joined the Anti-Megalosaurus Force, a specialized team under General Schooler that focuses on trying to develop anti-Godzilla weaponry. They've learned since their first encounter in 1954 Tokyo that there's no stopping the beast, but you can get him to change direction if you annoy him enough. However, this is 1967, and he's tromping through Taiwan, the Chinese coastline, and then into 'Nam, stomping through Hanoi and leaving it ablaze – and he's heading for something. He's moving with purpose and intent rather than just wandering around breaking buildings. It's up to the AMF to try and get him to change course before he makes his way to South Vietnam.
They do have a new brilliant egghead in Doc Randall, who's developed maser technology that he thinks will help, but the AMF also has to plan around the yank arrogance of American General Carson, who thinks just leading him into a sludge pit and bombing the shit out of him will do the job. "There isn't a creature that walks this earth that can survive what we're about to unleash on that valley!" he bellows, and you know that this is America in Vietnam, so he's as wrong as wrong can be. Conventional warfare don't work in the shit, man.
The AMF works within Carson's malarkey and sets up their masers, and once they actually hit him, it seems to have a tangible effect, and they get some hope that they might actually be able to drive him back into the sea. However, they've only got one hit in before the very earth Kentaro and Randall are standing on begins to rumble, and out of the ground emerges a second giant beast – the spiky armadillo creature known as Anguirius. A kaiju smackdown, they were not expecting, and even though they find a way to roll with it, America finds a way to fuck things up for everybody once again.
Something about Godzilla in Vietnam gives this story a lot more presence than maybe it would have otherwise, and therefore, I'm pretty sure I'm going to like this series as it unfolds, plopping the big bastard into many other historical contexts going forward. Stokoe's characters are fun enough to keep us rooting for them, although the overly manga style of the human faces still makes me twitch here and there, which isn't helped by some funky coloring choices. Randall's first appearance made me honestly curious if he was supposed to be some kind of alien or gopher-man with orange skin.
Giant monsters are cool. Giant monsters at important historical moments are even cooler. Too bad we can't get "Abraham Lincoln: Kaiju Hunter" up and running.