Marvel Spotlight #5
Issue(s): Marvel Spotlight #5
This story didn't feature any of the characters that were regularly appearing in Godzilla, and between that and the fact that a good portion of the plot takes place in the past, it seems like it would have been relatively easy to excise the Godzilla elements.
The idea of giving Godzilla some head ornaments to disguise him is part of a fine tradition (see Jirass) but you can still see the basics of what a Steve Ditko Godzilla looks like, which is pretty fun.
The story in the past is that a giant dragon called the Wani rampaged in a Japanese fishing village in 1582 (a year that would have caused complications for Godzilla, given his atomic origin, but is fine for this creature). The locals assume it is the wrath of O-Watu-Tsu-Mi, "the old man of the tide", for unspecified transgressions. The ruler of that village, after having lost five thousand samurai trying to stop him, begs his lord to allow him to try something instead of committing seppuku for failing, and the lord agrees. The man, Tako-San steals gunpowder from a foreign ship and uses it to attack the Wani. Tako-San dies in the process, and it's unclear if the Wani is actually killed or just repelled for now.
Tako's son, Kiri, dedicates his life to preparing for the possibility of the Wani's return, learning sorcery under the tutelage of "Morka, the legendary magician". And his knowledge is passed on, generation to generation through the sons, until we get to the present, where a man also named Tako is working at an electronics company when news of
I said that this comic would be irrelevant to Marvel continuity if it wasn't for Avengers: Initiative, but that's not quite true. This story does mention the Avengers and the Fantastic Four. So it was always intended to be a Marvel universe story.
But dressing up in a costume to fight a giant dragon is still a pretty odd thing for someone to do in 1979, as hilariously depicted here.
And, ok, Tako does prove that there's really something to this, but does he have to summon the dragon to the middle of his suburban neighborhood?
Unlike his ancestor, who went after the Wani with a sword and a barrel of explosives, Tako attacks the Wani with summoning spells. And that makes sense; monster vs. monster fights are what we're in it for.
Of course, the incidental destruction can be a problem.
Yeah, why didn't you think of that before?
So, instead, Tako attempts to, and succeeds at, taking control of the Wani.
He makes it rescue his family, and then sends it away.
It looks like in the original, Godzilla was just walking away, but for this he was erased to make it look like he was disappearing into time for this story
Dragon Lord's appearance in Avengers: Initiative is short and mostly jokey, and it ends with the character's death. But in that story, Tako's son vows to take on the role. It would be nice if that actually happened somewhere, because right now i don't have a name for that character. His wife (Phyllis) and daughter (Mary) are both named, but the son is not named in either this story or Avengers: Initiative. I've therefore not listed the son as a character appearing.
Note also that this Dragon Lord has no relation to the one introduced by Steve Ditko in next year's Fantastic Four annual #16.
I have no great love for Marvel's version of Godzilla, but it's still nice to see this story being rescued and re-purposed. Ditko's (modified) Godzilla has a certain charm, and it's impressive how the story was re-worked to remove the Godzilla element.
Quality Rating: C
Chronological Placement Considerations: N/A
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Considering they would rework Godzilla again with Iron Man, I don't get why they don't just have some consistancy in what they want "the big guy" to be when Marvel doesn't have the license.
Posted by: Ataru320 | September 2, 2015 8:33 AM
Ditko had previously drawn a fair number of giant monster comics for Charlton starring the movie monsters Gorgo and Konga.
Posted by: Luke Blanchard | October 25, 2015 4:38 AM
You have this Dragon-Lord and the Dragon-Lord from Sub-Mariner #53-54 tagged as the same character. The latter doesn't need a tag since he never reappears.
Posted by: AF | January 18, 2016 11:19 AM
Thanks AF. I've removed the other tag.
Posted by: fnord12 | January 18, 2016 2:01 PM
Comments are now closed.
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