Marvel’s most iconic hero, Spider-Man, was present for the equally iconic Godzilla’s departure from their once shared universe.
Godzilla has been making serious waves on the big screen over the past few years, with Godzilla vs Kong having garnered attention just as massive as its titular beasts. While fans might never get to see Godzilla face off against the Avengers on the silver screen anytime soon, they can still see the rise and fall of the King of the Monsters in the Marvel Universe by taking a trip through a classic series from almost 50 years ago.
The ’70s were a decade of excess everywhere, but especially at Marvel Comics as they swept up the rights to as many outside properties as possible. This gave the company the chance to introduce characters such as Conan the Barbarian into its own properties as they wished, and one of those that would actually cross paths with Marvel’s own heroes most frequently was none other than Godzilla. Beginning in 1977, Godzilla, King of the Monsters chronicled the story of Godzilla emerging from an iceberg before setting course for New York City.
When Godzilla first emerged in the Marvel Universe, S.H.I.E.L.D. was on the frontlines trying to get to the bottom of the monster’s sudden appearance. Along with Nick Fury and Jimmy Woo, the Godzilla Squad assigned to tackle the creature consisted of monster expert Yuriko Takiguchi and his grandson Robert. The young boy took a keen interest in the Kaiju, forming a sort of bond with it during Godzilla’s final assault on New York.
When the combined might of the Avengers and Fantastic Four prove useless to stop Godzilla’s rampage, Robert Takiguchi cries out to the beast personally. Somehow, Godzilla understands Robert’s pleas, and turns to the ocean to return from whence it came, all while Spider-Man takes the opportunity to take some prime photos of Godzilla’s departure. While a young child’s voice might have turned the tide of battle, another outside force was ultimately responsible for Godzilla making his exit from Marvel Comics – publishing rights.
Godzilla’s final named appearance in the Marvel Universe was in 1979’s Godzilla #24 by Doug Moench and Herb Trimpe, due to the fact that Marvel then relinquished the rights to use the property. Years later, Dark Horse would be the next publisher to use Godzilla properly, though that didn’t entirely mark the end of the monster’s time with Marvel. Godzilla would later reappear in a more amphibious form and as an unnamed creature, though it was still very much the same Godzilla as before.
Eventually, Marvel’s version of the massive beast was renamed Leviathan, making its final appearance in Matt Fraction and Terry Dodson’s Uncanny X-Men #507 with Yuriko Takiguchi back in action to ensure longtime fans knew what was truly at stake. Unfortunately Godzilla/Leviathan perished in its last outing, so the chances of the creature returning are a bit less than slim. Still, Godzilla’s impact on the Marvel Universe is being felt long after the monster’s proper and ultimate departure, leaving its legacy intact for years to come.
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