Godzilla: Awakening (2014)

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Monsterverse comics
Godzilla: Awakening
Skull Island: The Birth of Kong
Godzilla: Awakening
Cover by Art Adams
Written by
Pencils by
  • Eric Battle
  • Yvel Guichet
  • Alan Quah
Colors by Lee Loughridge
Cover by Arthur Adams
Design by John J. Hill
Production by Nicolas Sienty
Edits by
  • Bob Schreck
  • Greg Tumbarello (associate)
Letters by Patrick Brosseau
Publish date
Genre Graphic novel

Godzilla: Awakening (ゴジラ:アウェイクニング〈覚醒〉,   Gojira: Aueikuningu <Kakusei>)[a] is a graphic novel published by Legendary Comics on May 7, 2014. It has been reprinted along with the comics Skull Island: The Birth of Kong, Godzilla: Aftershock, Godzilla Dominion, and Kingdom Kong as part of Legends of the Monsterverse: The Omnibus on March 5, 2024. A translated Japanese version was also published in Japan by villagebooks on July 25, 2014, making it the first ever American Godzilla comic to be released officially in Japan.

Intended as an official prequel to Legendary Pictures' Godzilla, many of the comic's events are contradicted by the film and subsequent Monsterverse media, leaving its placement in the canon unclear.


In May 2014, audiences will witness the epic rebirth of the King of the Monsters as Legendary and Warner Bros. bring Godzilla to the big screen. To pave the way for the iconic creature's return, Legendary Comics is proud to present the official graphic novel Godzilla: Awakening. This 72-page story, set decades before the film, is co-written by Max Borenstein (screenwriter of the new Godzilla) and Greg Borenstein.

Delve into an incredible mystery, generations in the making. At the dawn of the atomic age, humanity awakens lifeforms beyond imagination, unleashing monumental forces of nature. This explosive, larger-than-life adventure is the perfect way for fans to experience the new Godzilla before seeing it in theaters.


Tokyo, 1980: Ishiro Serizawa is summoned urgently by his father, who begins telling him of his job, which he had kept secret. He begins his story in Hiroshima, on August 6, 1945, at 8:15 AM. After the atomic bombing of the city, Serizawa goes looking for his wife and newborn son but only finds the latter. Afterward, he sees a giant creature in the air, "summoned by our own monstrosity," who flies away, with something in the water observing. Serizawa leaves Ishiro with his grandparents for his safety and continues working in the Japanese Navy. One year later, he and his fellow sailors are sent to provide aid to an American vessel that sent a distress call from a nearby island. After finding one of the American men, the sailors find the wrecked ship deep inland and are attacked by the creature Serizawa had seen in Hiroshima, dubbed Shinomura. They enter the ship to rescue the men inside, but Shinomura throws the ship down at the sea, sinking it. No one but Serizawa and the one American they rescued, named Shaw, survives. Shaw, impressed with Serizawa's survival, offers Serizawa a job in the U.S. government, which he accepts. Godzilla looks on as Shinomura flies away.

Later, Serizawa becomes part of the first Japanese-American military unit since Japan's surrender in World War II: Monarch. General MacArthur explains that the job of the Monarch unit is to kill Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organisms in secrecy to avoid world-wide panic. Shinomura attacks places all around the Pacific Ocean each year following, starting with Russia and the Philippines in 1946, then Western Australia in 1947, Moansta Island in 1948, New Zealand in 1949, Yap in 1950, and Guam in 1950. During every attack, eye-witnesses also reported seeing a giant crocodile-like creature, in reality Godzilla, which chased Shinomura away. Serizawa believes that the monster, which a citizen of Guam calls "Gojira" after a creature from Pacific Island myth, actually exists, while the rest of his team doesn't. Serizawa convinces a team to scour the ocean for Godzilla using the first nuclear submarine, the USS Nautilus, but nothing is turned up after weeks of searching.

Three years later in 1953, as Serizawa is playing with Ishiro, Shaw cryptically tells Serizawa that he is needed at Monarch. Serizawa meets with Dr. Zamalek at Monarch headquarters, who shows him and others a giant Shinomura cell discovered in the Philippines. Zamalek then exposes it to a beam which causes it to begin growing, but it bursts into flames and is thought killed. Zamalek wonders why Shinomura hasn't taken over the world yet, to which Serizawa replies that "Gojira" is the answer. Serizawa points to depictions of Godzilla throughout history and believes he is from a time when the Earth was ten times more radioactive than today. In a flashback to 250 million years ago, a Shinomura unknowingly lands near Godzilla and is sent over a cliff by his atomic breath. Just then, a meteor hits the Earth, ultimately diminishing atmospheric radioactivity forever, and forcing radiation-consuming creatures like Godzilla down closer to the Earth's core. Serizawa concludes that Godzilla and Shinomura were awakened by the radiation released in the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. He hopes for Godzilla to be found and allowed to battle Shinomura, but no one else believes in Godzilla's existence.

Serizawa returns to his son, who had put an injured sea star in his fish tank. Ishiro explains that sea stars can regenerate, even an entire body if they need to, just as Serizawa had witnessed the "dead" Shinomura cell at Monarch HQ regenerate. The two suddenly hear a sound, but Serizawa assures Ishiro it was only the wind as Shinomura flies past the window. A second Shinomura had grown from the cell, and destroyed Monarch headquarters. Serizawa visits the site with Shaw, who believed the cell was destroyed, but Serizawa asserts that even microscopic remnants can regenerate. Serizawa asks permission to search for Godzilla, which Shaw permits. Serizawa bids his son farewell, and begins a new life alone at sea, looking for Godzilla.

A year later, in March of 1954, both Shinomuras combine into one on Moansta Island as Godzilla rises from the ocean and engages it in battle. After being spotted by a local boy, the monsters' presence is passed along to the island chief Papa Brava, then to Serizawa, and finally to Shaw and Monarch. Godzilla and Shinomura's battle rages on, setting a section of the island aflame as Serizawa reaches the island. Godzilla separates the two Shinomura with his atomic breath and kills one with another blast. As Navy ships arrive, the other Shinomura escapes, which goes unnoticed by all but Serizawa and Godzilla. The latter gives chase.

The next day, the Shinomura carcass is found and shown to Serizawa. After more days pass, the military decides to intercept Godzilla at Bikini Atoll. Serizawa insists that Godzilla be allowed to kill Shinomura and leave in peace, but it is deemed too risky. Just then, General MacArthur arrives on a helicopter and gives them permission to nuke Godzilla. Serizawa attempts to talk MacArthur down, but the General feels that the risk of another nuclear detonation outweighs the threat Godzilla poses to the modern world. At Bikini Atoll, Serizawa convinces the natives to leave. The Castle Bravo "test" is conducted soon thereafter, killing the Shinomura as well as seemingly Godzilla.

However, Serizawa assures Ishiro that Godzilla survived as he wraps up the story of his experiences. A year after, now 1981, Serizawa passes away and is buried in the Yanaka Cemetery. After the burial is over, Ishiro is approached by Shaw. Now knowing the truth, Ishiro tells Shaw that he's ready to join Monarch, but Shaw claims that he's not sure "anyone's ready for what's coming."

Status in Monsterverse canon

Godzilla: Awakening was conceived during the production of Godzilla (2014) and published shortly before the film opened in theaters,[1] though the two works ultimately contradicted each other in several ways. In the film, Drs. Ishiro Serizawa and Vivienne Graham state that Monarch was founded in 1954, the same year the USS Nautilus awakened Godzilla. In the graphic novel, the nuclear destruction of Hiroshima in 1945 attracts Shinomura, with Godzilla swiftly following it; Monarch is founded in 1946; and the first reported sighting of Godzilla takes place in 1948. Moreover, the film does not show or mention Shinomura at all, even though the comic shows the Castle Bravo H-bomb deployed against both Godzilla and Shinomura in 1954. Serizawa and Graham also suggest that multiple nuclear tests in the Pacific were in reality attempts to kill Godzilla, though only one takes place in the comic.

The second film in the Monsterverse, Kong: Skull Island (2017), settles one continuity issue, with Monarch agent Bill Randa stating that his organization was founded by President Harry S. Truman in 1946. Randa later refers to the "1954 Castle Bravo nuclear tests" as attempts to kill Godzilla, although in reality Castle Bravo was just one test from the Operation Castle series. In 2018, responding to an inquiry about Godzilla: Awakening's canonicity on Twitter, Godzilla (2014) and Awakening writer Max Borenstein offered the explanation that details from the comic that are not shown or mentioned onscreen could simply have been kept secret by Monarch.[2]

Despite the aforementioned continuity discrepancies, Legendary included Awakening in the Monsterverse timeline during a panel at WonderCon 2019.[3] Later that year, Ishiro Serizawa's Monarch personnel file was released on MonarchSciences.com to promote Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019), and reinforced three sentiments from Awakening: Serizawa joining Monarch in 1981, his father Eiji being a founding member, and Godzilla being awakened by the atomic bombing of Hiroshima in 1945.[4] In addition, though Godzilla: King of the Monsters - The Official Movie Novelization is largely not canon to the film on which it is based, it includes a brief recap of the events of Awakening.

Legendary appeared to consider Awakening canon as recently as 2020, when the comic's events were referenced repeatedly in tweets for the Monsterverse Watchalong events. Details highlighted included the first Monarch meeting in 1946 and Douglas MacArthur's involvement with the organization,[5] Ishiro Serizawa's "background" and Monarch recruitment,[6] and the full significance of Eiji Serizawa's pocket watch.[7] However, Godzilla was again stated to have been "awakened" in 1954 by the USS Nautilus, peculiarly attributed to Awakening rather than Godzilla (2014).[8] This contradicts both Awakening, which actually depicts Godzilla having been active since 1945 and the Nautilus launching in 1950, and Serizawa's 2019 personnel file, which was even subsequently reposted in unaltered form.[9] The Watchalong also provided a second, more brief personnel profile for Ishiro Serizawa which reiterated his father being a Monarch founding member named Eiji.[10]

In 2023, the canon TTRPG Kong: Skull Island Cinematic Adventure made only indirect references to Shinomura, stating, "Monarch's original mission was to research a monstrous creature witnessed in the aftermath of the Hiroshima atomic bombing" and "[Monarch] were tasked with researching the origins of a giant creature reportedly attacking naval vessels after World War II."[11] Later the same year, the television series Monarch: Legacy of Monsters brought back Shaw as a major character.[12] However, its second episode showed that he did not learn about the Titans and join Monarch until 1952, rather than being a founding member in 1946. Its third episode depicted Monarch first learning of Godzilla's existence in 1954, followed by the U.S. military attempting to kill him with a nuclear weapon, with Shinomura neither mentioned nor shown. However, Godzilla is portrayed standing fully upright during the Castle Bravo detonation, aligning with Awakening rather than Godzilla (2014), in which he is mostly submerged.


Titans and MUTOs

Other monsters

  • Theropod
  • Sauropods
  • Pterosaurs


Weapons, vehicles, races, and organizations



Staff role on the left, staff member's name on the right.

  • Written by   Max Borenstein, Greg Borenstein
  • Illustrated by   Eric Battle, Yvel Guichet, Alan Quah, Lee Loughridge
  • Covert art by   Arthur Adams
  • Editor-in-chief   Bob Schreck
  • Publishing operations coordinator   David Sadove
  • Associate editor   Greg Tumbarello
  • Story writer   Robert Napton


During the production of Godzilla (2014), which spanned the spring and summer of 2013, Legendary Comics approached the film's screenwriter, Max Borenstein, with an offer to write a graphic novel prequel.[1] He collaborated on Godzilla: Awakening with his cousin Greg Borenstein, an academic and technologist at the MIT Media Lab with whom he had already been developing a graphic novel as a side project.[13] Max viewed the comic as a way to explore the backstory for Monarch and Dr. Ishiro Serizawa that he had formulated in his mind but didn't have room to include in the Godzilla screenplay.[14]

Due to time limitations, four artists illustrated Godzilla: Awakening, with Eric Battle supervising the others.[1]


Concept art



In other languages

Language Name Meaning
Flagicon Japan.png Japanese ゴジラ:アウェイクニング〈覚醒〉 Gojira: Aueikuningu <Kakusei> Transliteration and translation of English title
China and Taiwan Flags.png Mandarin Chinese 哥斯拉:觉醒 Gēsīlā: Juéxǐng Translation of English title
Flagicon Czech Republic.png Czech Godzilla: Probuzení Translation of English title
Flagicon Germany.png German Godzilla: Das Erwachen Godzilla: The Awakening
Flagicon Spain.png Spanish Godzilla: Despertar Translation of English title


Gareth Edwards' announcement


  • Yvel Guichet, one of the illustrators for this graphic novel, was also a penciller for Legendary Comics' previous kaiju graphic novel, Pacific Rim: Tales From Year Zero.
  • Godzilla: Awakening shows the USS Nautilus searching for Godzilla in 1950, though the real submarine was not launched until 1954.
  • General Douglas MacArthur is shown briefing the founding members of Monarch in 1946 and gives the order to target Godzilla and Shinomura with a hydrogen bomb in 1954. In real life, MacArthur was relieved of his command by President Truman in 1951. This suggests that MacArthur was either never fired within the continuity of the Monsterverse or retained in secret to oversee Monarch.
  • One of the monsters held at Monarch Unit Headquarters is a giant gorilla, likely a reference to King Kong. Godzilla: Awakening was published before Legendary Pictures announced the shared universe which would allow Godzilla and the real Kong to meet.
  • The given names of Ishiro Serizawa's father and Shaw are never provided in this comic. Ishiro's character biography for Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) later revealed his father's name to be Eiji,[4] while the 2023 Apple TV+ television series Monarch: Legacy of Monsters gives Shaw's first name as Lee.[12]
  • Moansta Island, the South Pacific island where Godzilla battles the two Shinomura, was named after Monster Island.[15]

External links


  1. The kanji combination 覚醒 (kakusei) means "awakening" in Japanese.


This is a list of references for Godzilla: Awakening. These citations are used to identify the reliable sources on which this article is based. These references appear inside articles in the form of superscript numbers, which look like this: [1]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Guerrero, Tony (7 May 2014). "Interview: Max Borenstein Talks GODZILLA: AWAKENING and the Godzilla Movie". Comic Vine.
  2. Borenstein, Max (29 May 2018). "I assume it still is. Just because it isn't mentioned doesn't mean the events aren't a secret kept by Monarch". Twitter.
  3. Gargantucast (31 March 2019). "During the Monsterverse panel at WonderCon, Legendary has released the full timeline of the Monsterverse that includes all the films and comics thus far. #Godzilla #GodzillaKingOfTheMonsters #WonderCon". Twitter.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Ishiro Serizawa personnel profile.png
  5. @Legendary (9 April 2020). "Monarch was founded by President Truman and General MacArthur in 1946 in the wake of the discovery of MUTOs. Here is the first-ever Monarch meeting, as seen in the graphic novel Godzilla: Awakening. #MonsterverseWatchalong". X.
  6. @Legendary (9 April 2020). "Serizawa's background and recruitment into Monarch are revealed in the Godzilla: Awakening graphic novel. #MonsterverseWatchalong". X.
  7. @Legendary (23 April 2020). "The significance of Serizawa's watch is a callback to the 2014 film, and is expanded upon in the Godzilla: Awakening graphic novel. #MonsterverseWatchalong #NerdistFromHome". X.
  8. @Legendary (9 April 2020). "In the graphic novel Godzilla: Awakening, the USS Nautilus, the first-ever nuclear submarine, launched in 1954…and it awakened something. NAUTILUS was also the production codename for Godzilla (2014). #MonsterverseWatchalong". X.
  9. @Legendary (23 April 2020). "Monarch Personnel File: Ishirō Serizawa #MonsterverseWatchalong #NerdistFromHome". X.
  10. @Legendary (23 April 2020). "Monarch Personnel Files: Dr. Serizawa (@Watanabe) & Vivienne Graham #MonsterverseWatchalong". X.
    Serizawa and Graham personnel files.png
  11. Trent, Sigfried; Bramnik, Michael; Flanagan, Ivis (2023). Kong: Skull Island Cinematic Adventure. Evil Genius Games. p. 7. ISBN 979-8-9865552-8-7.
  12. 12.0 12.1 legendarycomics (17 November 2023). "Lee Shaw first appeared in the graphic novel #GODZILLA AWAKENING in 2014 and now he's back in #MONARCH: LEGACY OF MONSTERS. Read more about Shaw in LEGENDS OF THE #MONSTERVERSE at the link in bio!". Instagram.
  13. Reyes, Free (2014). "GODZILLA: AWAKENING — Interview with Writer Max Borenstein on the Graphic Novel and Movie". Geek Tyrant.
  14. Frazier, Adam (5 May 2014). "Interview: 'Godzilla' Screenwriter Max Borenstein". Geeks of Doom.
  15. Perry, Spencer (7 May 2014). "Interview: Max Borenstein, Writer of Godzilla and Legendary's Prequel Graphic Novel". SuperHeroHype.


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