Writer: Gavin Burrows
Artist: Simon Gane
a youth, I was horribly perverted by the Godzilla movie
franchise. Far too many Saturday afternoons were wasted
on the original series (which turned the big G into a superhero
of sorts) and the relaunch that came with Godzilla 1985.
Even the giant turtle monster Gamera became familiar through
Mystery Science Theater 3000. Perversion, I say!
the dai kaiju (aka giant monsters) have become all but extinct
to American audiences these days.
against our rubber-suited pals are too numerous to list,
yet I think the philosophy that “computer effects
can do anything” (damn you, Lucas) is largely to blame.
CGI creatures, though much cooler looking than the average
rubber suit, just aren’t given the personality required
by the material, and it’s personality that kept people
coming back for more. The storytelling was always B-level,
but there was something entertaining to be found in those
cheap costumes and bad scale models.
Flee! takes the genre, transfers it to the friendlier comic
book medium, and asks the eternal question “Say, aren’t
giant monsters people, too?” This one-shot, made up
of three short stories (one of which isn’t actually
giant monster-related), centers on an aging Godzilla-type
monster named Lenny who teaches the Classical class at Monster
Finishing School. His students are an odd collection of
giant cyborg apes, mutant velociraptors, irradiated insects,
gillmen, and werewolves with no respect for the proper techniques
of metropolitan destruction.
only seem to get worse when the giant brain-in-a-beaker
principal tells him they’ll be adding Contemporary
Trampling to the curriculum, and he’ll be the one
welcoming the new professor to the school. The lovely new
LADY professor, that is…
of the first things I have to say about this book is that
it’s stupid. Stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid. The plotlines
are the cute but harmless standards we’ve suffered
in countless indie titles. Character development is at a
minimum, the dialogue usually isn’t witty enough,
and I’ll be damned if there’s a theme lurking
it’s a book about gags and hardly anything else. It
doesn’t try to explore the monsters’ motivation
for stomping on our meager cities or eating us like circus
peanuts. They break off pieces of our buildings and tote
them away like souvenirs because THEY’RE MONSTERS.
They live on Monster Island, where tribesmen sacrifice beautiful
young women. They bat at circling bi-planes. They hatch
little baby monsters from eggs or industrial accidents and
start the whole crazy thing all over again.
Well, why the hell not?
the book lives and dies by its gags. The monster students’
lame attempts to be gangsta are way too hackneyed to be
funny. Even when they just act like kids, it feels like
filler. And then the rasta-giant spider… well, okay,
I kinda liked him, but the scene where he refuses a fly
sandwich is just one example of the really confusing shifts
in continuity: are the monsters giant or human-sized?
scale is all over the place. One minute, Lenny’s 40
stories high. The next, he’s riding a bicycle across
a footbridge. To have scenes where he’s teaching class
in the middle of a human city or living in a cave make sense,
but then showing that monsters have their own buildings
which are many “monster stories” high…
I mean, aren’t you in low orbit at that point?
a couple of light, funny, giant monster stories, the book
works well enough, but the creators should know they can
do a lot more. There’s personality here, true. Just
not as much as you find occasionally on The Powerpuff Girls
or that Barbra Streisand episode of South Park.
with Godzilla turning fifty this month, it’s nice
to have something new come out in his honor. *wipes away
tear* And God bless.