The Trilopods (トリロポッド are a species of power-absorbing alien creatures which first appeared in Toriropoddo)issue #19 of the IDW comic series Godzilla: Rulers of Earth. They are the first completely new major monsters to appear in any of IDW's Godzilla comic series.
The ultimate biological weapon of the Cryog aliens, the Trilopods were deployed to Earth by the Cryog Emperor Karkaro after Rhizon's failure to conquer the planet himself. The vicious creatures proved more than a match for Earth's kaiju, stealing their powers and gradually trapping them within a colossal hive in Los Angeles. The Trilopods managed to even bring down Godzilla himself, but Zilla and Jet Jaguar arrived in the city to begin a counterattack against the alien invaders. King Caesar led the monsters trapped within the hive in breaking free, and all of Earth's kaiju assembled together for a final battle with the Trilopods. When the Earth monsters were victorious, Karkaro released the massive Trilopod queen Magita in a last-ditch effort to seize victory, but Godzilla called upon all of his power to destroy her and save the Earth once and for all.
The "trilo" part of "Trilopod" comes from trilobite, a class of extinct prehistoric arthropods, while "pod" might come from "arthropod," and by itself is a suffix that means "feet" and is commonly used to describe creatures with multiple "feet." The smaller quadrupedal Trilopod which steals monsters' powers is called Trilopod Alpha, while the larger bipedal Trilopod with which it fuses is called Trilopod Beta. Scripts for Godzilla: Rulers of Earth issues gave the transformed Trilopods portmanteau names like "Triloguirus" and "Spacetrilozilla," though legal issues prevented them from being used in the comic.
Toho's mandate against killing off any of its kaiju inspired Godzilla: Rulers of Earth co-authors Chris Mowry and Matt Frank to create an original monster army which could take part in more decisive battles for the comic's final story arc. Mowry's initial idea was to have an alien "Monster Zoo Menagerie" invade Earth, while Frank suggested a single, uniform species of antagonists to streamline the design process and prevent the duo from needing to design an entire series of one-off creatures. The design and abilities of the Trilopods were inspired by the Xenomorphs from the Alien franchise, the Invid from the anime series Genesis Climber MOSPEADA, and trilobites. Recurring series artist Jeff Zornow also contributed to the design process.
The Trilopods' general physical appearance is much like real arthropods. The Trilopods have a trilobite-like shell, pedipalps lined with sharp teeth and radial mouths resembling those of Anomalocaris, and sharp arm-like scythes with red spheres.
Whilst all "base" Trilopods share common features, the Beta Trilopods are taller than their Alpha counterparts and stand upright, mostly so that they can fight other kaiju using their massive scythes.
In addition, the Trilopods' appearances are altered when they absorb power from other monsters, such as gaining wings from Battra, Rodan, or Megaguirus, a crown and crystals from SpaceGodzilla, etc.
- Godzilla: Rulers of Earth #17, 19-25 (2014-2015)
Godzilla: Rulers of Earth
While Godzilla and Megaguirus battled in Machu Picchu, Peru, the Cryogs deployed a pod to their location, which released several Trilopods. Some multi-legged Alpha Trilopods pounced onto Megaguirus and bit into her, draining her blood. Godzilla tried to fight the creatures off, but was overwhelmed by them and then pinned down and restrained by a bipedal Beta Trilopod. Several Alpha Trilopods bit down on Godzilla and began to drain his blood, while others crawled onto the Beta Trilopod and merged with it, causing it to gain additional legs and sprout copies of Megaguirus' wings and spikes. Godzilla fired a blast of atomic breath to free himself. He then incinerated several of the Alpha Trilopods with his atomic breath and even bit another's head off. The Trilopod that absorbed Megaguirus' powers proceeded to blast Godzilla with a powerful laser beam, then grabbed him and carried him off into the sky.
The Cryog emperor Karkaro, pleased with the result of the Trilopods' attack, sent two more pods full of them to the Monster Islands, while another group of Trilopods dragged SpaceGodzilla to Earth, then attacked him and absorbed his powers as well. Just then, the Megaguirus-Trilopod dropped Godzilla down in the same area, and it and the other Trilopods surrounded both Godzilla and SpaceGodzilla. Godzilla and SpaceGodzilla unwillingly fought the Trilopods together, until SpaceGodzilla was knocked out by one of the Beta Trilopods, and had some of his blood taken by the Alphas. The Beta Trilopod then took on SpaceGodzilla's characteristics, and the fight was quickly swung into the alien monsters' favor. Godzilla and SpaceGodzilla managed to break free from a crystal prison the SpaceGodzilla-Trilopod put them in, and destroyed the SpaceGodzilla-Trilopod. After SpaceGodzilla retreated and Godzilla collapsed from exhaustion, three Beta Trilopods absorbed his blood and took on his characteristics. The military engaged the Godzilla-Trilopods, but was powerless to stop them. Godzilla regained consciousness and attacked his clones, while Jet Jaguar emerged from the ocean to battle them as well.
Planning his endgame, Karkaro ordered the Trilopod hive to touch down in Los Angeles and unleash the new hybrids inside. Godzilla soon found himself surrounded by Trilopods with the characteristics of nearly all of Earth's kaiju. Before Godzilla was overwhelmed, the Counter-Kaiju Reaction Forces deployed Mechagodzilla and MOGUERA to assist the King of the Monsters. Together, Godzilla and the mechas briefly took the upper hand against the Trilopods, but Mechagodzilla and MOGUERA were both eventually destroyed. Godzilla called out for assistance as loudly as he could, and the various Earth kaiju inside the Trilopod hive heard him and burst free. Godzilla and his allies took on the Trilopods together, destroying all of them. While the rogue Gigan destroyed Karkaro's ship, the Cryog emperor released a last-ditch effort to destroy Godzilla and Earth's kaiju, a giant Trilopod called Magita. After Magita was defeated and the Trilopods were exterminated for good, Godzilla led the other monsters to the ocean, from where they then all went to live around the world in peace.
This ability is a two-stage process involving both the Alpha and Beta Trilopods. First, an Alpha must pierce the skin of a target kaiju with its pedipalps to absorb its energy, then climb onto the back of a Beta and merge with it. The resulting creature will have both the powers and physical characteristics of the target kaiju. This includes energy attacks like Godzilla's atomic heat ray, melee techniques like Gorosaurus' kangaroo kick, and more elaborate abilities like SpaceGodzilla's telekinesis and crystal generation.
The Trilopods can evidently only copy the abilities of organic kaiju, as they never attempt to copy the robots Jet Jaguar, Mechagodzilla, or MOGUERA, nor the statue-like King Caesar.
Trilopod concept art by Matt Frank
Trilopod Alpha concept art by Matt Frank
Trilopod Beta concept art by Jeff Zornow
Trilopod Beta concept art by Matt Frank
Trilopod/Kumonga hybrid and Trilopod/Megaguirus hybrid concept art by Jeff Zornow and Matt Frank
The first wave of Trilopods arrive on Earth in Godzilla: Rulers of Earth #20
An Alpha Trilopod who has absorbed energy from Megaguirus merges with a Beta Trilopod
A Trilopod with Megaguirus' characteristics
A Trilopod with SpaceGodzilla's characteristics
A Trilopod with Baragon's characteristics
A Trilopod with Rodan's characteristics
A Trilopod with Kumonga's characteristics
A Trilopod with Battra's characteristics
A Trilopod with Gorosaurus' characteristics
Three Trilopods with Godzilla's characteristics
A Trilopod with Kamoebas' characteristics
A Trilopod with Anguirus' characteristics
A Trilopod with Gezora's characteristics
A Trilopod with Gaira's characteristics
A Trilopod with Titanosaurus' characteristics
A Trilopod with Sanda's characteristics
A Trilopod with Varan's characteristics
A Trilopod with Kamacuras' characteristics
A Trilopod with Manda's characteristics
Magita, a gigantic Trilopod
- The Trilopods can be seen as an organic counterpart to the Cryogs' purely mechanical Mechagodzilla units, lacking the machines' firepower but being capable of executing more sophisticated strategies.
- The Godzilla-Trilopods each have a different dorsal fin design. One possesses the fins of the Godzilla design featured in the comic, another possesses the fins of the Showa Godzilla, and the last has the fins of the MonsterVerse Godzilla.
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