"Monstrosity II" Graphic Novel Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Alterna Comics
Edited by Brian Evinou and Phil McClory
Written and Illustrated by Various
2014, 250 Pages
Graphic Novel released on October 8th, 2014
It's one thing to have a monster under your bed, I feel like those are the kinds that we're used to. You can wrap your head around that. Monsters that come from outer space are another matter entirely. They don't play by the same rules, so they're capable of reaching entirely new levels of terror just by existing. Brian Evinou and Phil McClory tap into that fear with the second volume of Monstrosity. They've assembled 20 short comics from over 40 creators, each dealing with a monster from outer space. The stories range from super viruses and gladiatorial combat to robots and the return of a personal favorite, the Grizzly Biker. (Seriously, what do we have to do to get an ongoing series for this guy?)
What's immediately apparent in Monstrosity II is the Twilight Zone-like twist that most of the stories have. These creators would make Rod Serling proud. Many of them get you nice and comfortable with what appears to be a basic sci-fi story, and then they pull the rug out from under you with something that changes the entire context of the plot. Whether it's a misunderstood monster or a complete re-framing of the world, it puts the story in a new light and gives you this “Aha!” moment where everything clicks. That can be difficult to do in a long form comic, let alone one that's only six or so pages, but these writers and artist pulled it off in spades.
There's a nice range in tone throughout Monstrosity II. You've got outright humor in “S.T.D.” by Ryan Ferrier and J. Bone, which is basically about a guy getting a venereal disease from an alien, but the results aren't what you'd expect. There's good old-fashioned space terror in “An Opening” from Toma Fiezo-Gas, where a group of soldiers are stalked through a spaceship by a bloodthirsty beast. Then there's “The Surrealtor” by Cory McCallum and Matthew Daley, and I'm not quite sure that that is.
If I had to pick a favorite (aside from the Grizzly Biker, of course), it would be “Abomination” by Eric Kim. It features a mad scientist attempting to create a monster to take over the world, but instead ends up with something like a Pokemon crossed with a Care Bear. It's this adorable little alien cat creature. The scientist angrily casts it out because he's looking for something much fiercer in order to conquer the globe. Meanwhile, his little monster is a lot more deadly than he thought. The end of the story is bittersweet and poignant with a nice touch of humor.
Monstrosity II is a great collection of sci-fi and horror stories from a variety of independent creators. There's really something for everyone in this book. Brian Evinou and Phil McClory are blazing a new trail for the anthology comic, and I'm interested to see what's next for them.