The Urban Ranger and Bennie the Titan

Senior Sandra Lake wasn’t exactly the most popular kid at Valor City High School. To be honest, she had no friends whatsoever. She was really looking forward to getting out of high school, getting a job, going to college and getting the hell out of town. But that’s not how things turned out.

On graduation day, a creature that looked like a giant insect covered in translucent molten lava destroyed her high school. Dubbed King Obsidian by the local police, the monster was a massive monolith (over 500 feet tall) with a roar that sounded like an ambulance siren. “The perfect weapon of destruction,” said Sandra.

King Obsidian wasn’t the only kaiju attacking Valor City, however. There were gorillas with lizard faces, cats with blade-like paws and shark-like bodies, crocodile men, centipede-like creatures, colossal velociraptors and dino-monkeys. “It was an invasion,” wrote author Steven Capobianco. “A giant monster invasion.”

Within seconds Valor City was obliterated. It was no longer the city of prosperity, of advancement, of love. It was now the city of kaiju, and the giant beasts ruled their kingdom with god-like impunity.

The city’s only hope was Sandra, the high school graduate with no friends—the girl who wanted to flee her hometown and never look back. She possessed the key to stopping King Obsidian and the rest of the giant monsters: She had a pet kaiju named Bennie.

Bennie was a five-ton, 50-foot German shepherd-slash-lizard. Happenstance brought Sandra and Dogzilla together but they quickly united in a singular mission. They called themselves the Urban Ranger and Bennie the Titan—and they were ready to wrangle some pesky kaiju.

There’s not much to say about this 105-page novelette. I see no point in being mean. To be honest, it’s simply an immature effort from a writer still learning his craft.

I’d rather keep things positive. Everybody (especially me) enjoys a grand kaiju smashup, and the author does a good job of bringing scale to the giant monster action—especially when King Obsidian shows up. In addition, his pacing is nothing if not efficient. The title of the book and the title logo are also very good.

I have one piece of advice for Capobianco, however. In the future, try to refrain from telling a story from a female perspective. For a man, it’s a tricky thing to do and it’s easy to get tangled up in a web of discourse analysis and semiotics. Your writing reflects your unique experiences and personality. Keep it authentic.

[City of Kaiju / By Steven Capobianco / First Printing: February 2019 / ISBN: 9781731197078]