Superman has gone into retirement because he feels that the world has rejected what he represented and has turned to a more brutal hero for whom the ends justify the means. While he was away, though crime has almost stopped, the hero's themselves have become the biggest problem that the world now faces. They have no morals or ethics, and spend their lives endlessly fighting each other in battles that cost normal humans their lives and sense of peace. Superman decides something must be done.
I won't wreck anymore of the plot than that. Needless to say the story is deep and interesting, asking questions about the sorts of hero's we choose and what they say about us as a society and what our hope or lack there of is. The Art in this book is beautiful and fully realized.
Ultimately, even though this is one of DC's alternate universe books, I think it is essential reading for those who love superheros and enjoy digging into their place in our culture.
In the first story, he is put in a moral trap that even Superman cannot escape. In the second Superman faces down a disease that no-one can save him from. Finally in the third, he is offered a vision of his perfect future, will he trade the imperfect now for a family?
I would certainly recommend this book to any fan of Superman or anyone like myself just introducing yourself to his comics.
Though Godzilla is not the first of the atomic monsters, he certainly has become the most iconic and long lasting. With 28 films produced in Japan, 1 in the United States, and another U.S. production scheduled for release in 2014, Godzilla is the longest currently running film franchise. He has been born, had children (though there is no Mrs. Zilla) and died several times, and yet continues to return again and again. Though he first sets foot on the screen in Gojira as the living embodiment of the horrors of atomic war, he was re-imagined as the defender of the humanity, friend to children, the guardian of the earth and nature, and the punisher of man’s hubris and aggression. He has fought against and alongside monsters from outer space, creatures from the future, cyborgs, a living embodiment of pollution, a robot version of himself, and even a genetically engineered rose made using his own DNA.... Don't ask.
In this film, H-bomb testing in the Pacific awakens the beast that time forgot who instinctively lashes out at Tokyo. Leveling city block after block and meeting all attempts to stop him with his trade mark atomic breath. Meanwhile the noted paleontologist, Dr. Yamane turns to his future son in law and tortured scientist, Dr. Serizawa, for a way to defeat Godzilla. Serizawa has come up with a weapon that can destroy all of the oxygen within an area of the ocean. But, he struggles with the need to defend his homeland and the terror that would result if the "Oxygen Destroyer" were ever to be unleashed upon the world. In the end, Serizawa, does the only thing he believes he can, he agrees to use the oxygen destroyer against Godzilla, but first destroys his research and finally sacrifices himself to ensure that the device is never used again.
It is important to point out that this film does lack the additional scenes added for the American version which included Raymond Burr. However, though I will always have a place in my heart for that version of the film, this movie is, in all ways, better. As opposed to its American cousin, which is essentially a disaster film, Gojira contains layers of meanings that, in my mind, were purposely removed to make the film more palatable to American audiences. Though you may expect the film to be a full-fledged criticism of the U.S. decision to use the bomb in WWII, I find the film to be much more subtle than that, if any giant monster film can be called subtle. In fact, far from being a slap at the US, Gojira is almost portrayed as Japan’s natural punishment for its sins in WWII. Though the film is certainly a bit of a melodrama at times, it is also dark, gritty, and a bit nihilistic. Whereas the American version is more flat, taking its perspective from that of the spectating reporter Steve Martin (Burr) instead of following those actually involved in the events.