The next Marvel event is out this week, but fear not event-haters, as this one feels a little more unique; heroes aren’t fighting heroes, the events are on a global scale, and Marvel monsters unknown and known are making appearances! We check out issue #1 to answer the question, is it good?
Monsters Unleashed #1 (Marvel Comics)
So what’s it about? Check out the official summary here.
Why does this book matter?
Steve McNiven is on pencils which is a great indicator of very big, very epic art that’s rendered in high detail. Cullen Bunn meanwhile, has been writing a slew of titles across Marvel and Dark Horse (just to name a few companies), and it’s a given we’re in for a well-plotted story indeed.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Enter the heroes!
This issue is paced and plotted very well, with a recurring double page layout to introduce the main heroes in play to fight off these monstrous foes. Before we see a single hero however, we’re introduced to a panel of a pencil drawing lines on a piece of paper, intercut with what look like asteroids blasting through buildings. As Bunn reveals more monster madness he also reveals more of who it is that’s drawing on said paper and more importantly what the artist has to do with the attack on Earth. Considering how many heroes are in play for this issue it’s quite a wonder Bunn pulls off all the introductions, location changes, and different monsters without your head spinning.
The story itself is about what you’d expect: Giant monsters attacking buildings, heroes banter in their attempts to thwart them, rinse and repeat. Bunn and McNiven focus in on the more important superhero teams in the Marvel universe right now, which makes this issue a crowd pleaser. If you’re a semi-regular reader of any Marvel series you’re bound to find a character or team to hook you with this issue. Aside from seeing your favorite heroes and awesome monsters, Bunn keeps your interest with subplots that give key details and properly set up the bigger picture.
McNiven meanwhile, draws one heck of an issue. To say the action is cinematic is an understatement. This is the kind of issue that reminds us movies have nothing on comic books. The scope, the transitions, and the destruction are bigger than any Michael Bay film. McNiven draws these monsters in fantastic ways too, from monsters so large it’s hard to gather what you’re looking at (a giant eyeball monster comes to mind) to the heroes fighting and looking badass while they attack it. Monster fanatics should know the beasts in this book are varied and quite spectacular.
It can’t be perfect can it?
It’s hard to fault this issue. If you have event fatigue, I’d wager you’ll still likely enjoy this, partly because it isn’t rehashing past events or having heroes fight heroes. There’s no overly complicated plot, at least not yet, but straightforward monsters fighting hero action. It’s also because it’s very good at transitioning and introducing all the heroes even though there are so many while delivering fun blockbuster action.
My only gripe involves scenes with Elsa Bloodstone; her character does a bit of adventuring which goes down the road of a cliched Indiana Jones temple trap schtick. The scenes she’s in aren’t bad – the captions are quite good in fact – but more than once I wondered why we were seeing the same sort of temple traps. It was a scene that felt tired in a book that otherwise felt quite fresh.
How the story begins.
Is It Good?
Monsters Unleashed #1 is the perfect opening salvo to an event that may buck the trend for event haters. It grabs you with its monster madness from the opening page and never lets go.