A Decade of Dark Horse issue 4
A Decade of Dark Horse #4 is the fourth and final issue of Dark Horse's anthology comic series A Decade of Dark Horse, published in October 1996. It includes the story "Godzilla: The Origins of a Species" by Randy Stradley, as well as "Concrete: World Beneath the Skin" by Paul Chadwick, "Black Cross" by Chris Warner, "Exon Depot" by Masamune Shirow, and the essay "What Were We Thinking?" by Stradley and Mike Richardson. The Godzilla story from this comic delves into the motivations of Dr. Yamazaki, a villain introduced two months prior in Dark Horse's Godzilla #15. It would prove to be the company's last original Godzilla story, however, as low sales prevented the continuation of their Godzilla series after issue #16. The story was later republished as part of Godzilla: Past, Present, and Future in 1998.
"Godzilla: The Origins of a Species"
Working from G-Force's Arctic base, Dr. Kazushi Kagaku and Také Fukuda attempt to determine the location of Destiny, an alias which Dr. Yamazaki has been using to communicate with Kazushi online. He raises the subject of Godzilla, and she repeats her theories that the monster was originally an animal mutated by American nuclear testing in the Pacific. Kazushi is unconvinced, pointing out that Godzilla is far larger than any known animal. As she replies shortly, her assistant Spencer alerts her to Také's attempts to trace their signal. Unbothered, she muses on how painful Godzilla's mutation must have been. When Kazushi detects a note of empathy, she notes his perceptiveness aloud, as well as the tragic necessity of exterminating him with the rest of humanity.
Within the chat, Yamazaki reveals she has already determined Kazushi's identity, and explains her history with Godzilla. Rather than empathy, she believes she understands his purpose. Her mother, a survivor of Nagasaki, believed that the monster had come for them specifically when he first attacked Japan, and accepted her fate calmly. His atomic breath disintegrated her, apart from her right hand, which Yamazaki has continued holding to this day. She views his sparing of her and the rest of humanity as a betrayal, and is now determined to finish his work. With Také's tracing nearly finished, Kazushi tries to stall by bringing up the living trilobite Dr. Yogami once found in one of Godzilla's footprints, which suggests he had already attained his present monstrous size and was frozen in suspended animation before nuclear testing awakened him. Yamazaki doesn't take the bait, telling Kazushi that this will be their final conversation before they meet in person, then disconnects just in time. He shares his suspicions with Také that she was responsible for the Lord Howe Monster which attacked Sydney and could very well create more. Godzilla, then, may be humanity's only hope of stopping her.
"Godzilla: The Origins of a Species"
- Giant cephalopod mutant
- Godzilla (cutaways and flashback)
- Legendary sea creature (cutaway)
- Godzilla-like dinosaurs (cutaways)
- Mokele-mbembe (cutaway)
- Trilobite (flashback)
- Lord Howe Monster (monitor; mentioned indirectly)
- Bagorah (monitor)
- Cybersaur (monitor)
- Burtannus (monitor)
- Dr. Kazushi Kagaku
- Také Fukuda
- Dr. Yamazaki
- Heuvelmans (mentioned)
- Makal (mentioned)
- Yamazaki's mother (flashback)
- Dr. Yogami (flashback)
- Dr. Kagaku and Dr. Yamazaki are effectively debating whether the origin of the Godzilla from their universe is closer to the Showa era Godzillas (monstrous before exposure to nuclear testing) or the Heisei era Godzilla (a dinosaur heavily mutated by nuclear testing), respectively. Dark Horse's first Godzilla comic, Godzilla, King of the Monsters Special, partially supports Kagaku's theory, but also establishes that Godzilla was awakened by the unearthing of a radioactive slab in Tokyo, not nuclear testing. This may have been an attempt to retcon Godzilla's origin into something more in line with the Toho films.
- The scientist seen in flashback discovering a trilobite in Godzilla's footprint, Dr. Yogami, is clearly based on Dr. Kyohei Yamane from the 1954 Godzilla film in both role and appearance.
- The name "Mokele-mbembe" would appear again in the Godzilla franchise over two decades later, for an unseen Titan in Godzilla: King of the Monsters.
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