With Jurassic World busting all kinds of records, it’s become clear as ever that people love a story with good dinosaur action. Where Monsters Dwell #2 looks to deliver some of its own. But with prehistoric tooth and claw bared, readers have one question: Is it Good?
Where Monsters Dwell #2 (Marvel Comics)
Picking up immediately where the debut left off, Where Monsters Dwell #2 begins in full stride as pilot Karl Kaufmann and Clemmie Franklin-Cox flee a pursuing Tyrannosaurus rex. Clemmie quickly finds her way back to their plane and the machine gun onboard, while Karl takes a detour through a tribe of locals.
Narrowly escaping death via dinosaur, the fleet-footed Karl confronts Clemmie for leaving him behind. Writer Garth Ennis absolutely nails the banter between the pair. Clemmie is calm and assertive and Karl, a misogynist, simply cannot wrap his head around her, leading to some hilarious exchanges. And while the banter leads to some laughs, Ellis also imbues their arguments with an undertone of humanity, however flawed. Karl views the Women’s Rights movement with disdain, holding onto his opinions that have long fallen out of favor in the modern world. His feelings of inadequacy are only amplified by Clemmie. Intelligent, strategic, and more than capable, Clemmie is clearly more prepared for the terrors the jungle has in store for the duo. She tells it like it is, and it’s refreshing to see a female character refrain from offering pity the minute a man begins waxing nostalgic.
Such a good variety of death!
Artist Russ Braun is really bringing his A-game. A major component of what sells the conflict between Clemmie and Karl is their expressiveness; the way Clemmie purses her lips or raises an eyebrow, the way Karl struggles to reconcile his views with the reality of women like Clemmie, Braun’s lines bring the characters to life. And if that weren’t enough, Braun delivers on the monsters as well. The T. Rex is a scaly beast and when it bursts onto the scene, it sends the locals flying into the air while swallowing them whole. And the issue’s climax is well worth the price of admission on its own, a magnificent battle between behemoths.
Dono Almara’s palette is more subdued and naturalistic than one might expect for a comic with Where Monsters Dwell‘s premise, but the colorization adds a sense of tactile realism to the proceedings. This doesn’t clash at all with the tone of the story, however, and actually adds to the sense of danger that keeps the momentum of the comic flowing. If this were colored more bombastically, it would make the story read as unreal in a way that would hurt the book, and it’s nice to have a colorist that understands that the thrills of an adventure book rely on the audience buying into the perils involved.
After rowing themselves downriver to the ocean in the hope of rescue, Clemmie and Karl end up in the middle of a battle between two giant predators looking for a meal. With their boat wrecked, Clemmie and Karl ultimately land on another island where they are greeted by a group of bikini-clad statuesque women. And both Karl and Clemmie have plans for their newfound captors.
Is It Good?
Where Monsters Dwell #2 is another great entry in this Secret Wars limited series. Like the films that made up Ray Harryhausen’s career, there’s a sense of adventure to this comic, along with a dash of Ennis’ trademark humor. This is not a comic concerned with the Secret Wars event at all. In fact, until the encounter at the end of the book, it doesn’t even necessarily feel like a Marvel title. That’s a good thing. One of the promises of Secret Wars was that it would give creators opportunities to go wild, pulling what they wanted from the Marvel Universe. Garth Ennis and Russ Braun are not only delivering on that promise, they’re making one of the best books on the stand today.