If there’s one thing you can’t fault the Godzilla franchise for it’s the writers’ willingness to try completely new things. While nearly every story will come down to a monster fight, the plot, themes, ideas and even the Big G himself will often radically change. He’s been written as a hero, anti-hero and villain (not to mention a zombie possessed by Second World War troops), and has fought everything from robot clones to cyborg space monsters. As such the idea to include kaiju in a street level war between a cop trying to clear his name and a mafia boss isn’t entirely unsurprising. The fact it works as well as it does however, that’s where the real shock comes in.
Set in an amalgamated universe of the Toho and Heisei era series, Gangsters and Goliaths follows the story of aged Detective Makoto Sato. When his investigation of Toko’s criminal underworld gets too close to bringing up hard evidence against the Takahashi Crime Syndicate, he is framed for his partners murder and sent to Monster Island to die. Unfortunately for them, not only does he evade his fate but manages to somehow blackmail the kaiju Mothra to assist in his war against Takahashi. However, Sato is playing with powers he doesn’t understand and soon everything is put at risk by his actions.
As you might have guessed from that description, the comic reads like a John Woo hardboiled crime film mashed together with Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters. While this would usually be a recipe for disaster, it manages to work here but placing emphasis upon the mythos behind Mothra and the reason for the kaijus’ existence. Rather than being freak accidents or by-births of accidental weapons, they instead exist to create a balance between order and chaos. Welearn of its existence through Sato and his mistakes when he unintentionally disrupts this order. As such, for much of the story the kaiju are kept in the background, often only seen briefly to display their raw power and foreshadow what can happen if the balance is disrupted. Usually through Mothra when she’s called in by Sato in a manner similar to tactical air-strikes.