"Monsters Unleashed #1" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Marvel Comics
Written by Cullen Bunn
Illustrated by Steve McNiven
Colored by David Curiel
2017, 40 Pages, $4.99
Comic released on January 18th, 2017
It's rare that I get to talk about a Marvel comic here on HorrorTalk, as the publisher doesn't spend too much time in the horror arena. A book like Monsters Unleashed hit my radar, especially since it's written by Cullen Bunn, who knows a thing or two about spooky funny books. The premise of the comic is pretty straightforward: a bunch of monsters show up on earth and start messing stuff up. Assorted teams of super heroes start punching them. I'm sorry, but I just spoiled about 95% of the entire issue.
The vast majority of Monsters Unleashed is spent showing the creatures wreaking havoc all around the world. They've appeared out of nowhere and just started destroying stuff. It's a worldwide Godzilla movie. Every major team is tackling at least one monster. You've got the Avengers, the Champions, the Guardians of the Galaxy, the X-Men, and the Inhumans. That's not even all the characters that appear either. There are at least another five or so that pop up.
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Artist Steve McNiven's monsters are unreal. No two look alike. Some are rampaging piles of tentacles. Others have multiple heads. One is covered in eyes. All of them have gigantic teeth. While there might be some similarities between other kaiju, these are entirely unique creatures.
McNiven's character work is also on point. He knows how to draw a damn exciting action scene and a pretty great super hero. There's something so breathtakingly awesome about the Avengers flying into action, ready to save the world. For lapsed Marvel readers like myself, everyone is thankfully labeled, so it's easy to understand who is who. This is very helpful, as there have been a ton of shake-ups over the past few years and I had no idea some of these teams even existed.
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With all of these characters, there is little to no room for any real development. Most get little more than a single page or in the case of the monster fights, a double-page spread, mostly showcasing the beast. The two standouts are Elsa Bloodstone, tracking down what is presumably the cause of the monsters' sudden appearance, and Kei Kawade, who clearly has something to do with it as well. They get more opportunity for growth and will probably be central to the story.
Monsters Unleashed is a global event of massive destruction, but it's little more than a slugfest. It's big monsters fighting it out with big heroes. I have the same problem with Godzilla comics. There's little story and a whole lot of devastation. I'm curious as to how Kei and Elsa's paths will continue, however some of the wind has been taken from their sails with Marvel's recent announcement of a monster-filled ongoing series spinning out of this event. Knowing that everything will be put back together in some fashion makes the events of this book mean less.