It has been only two weeks, but the second issue of Marvel’s event series is here. We test its qualities in art, writing, and plot to determine: is it good?
Monsters Unleashed #2 (Marvel Comics)
So what’s it about? Check out our preview to find out more.
Why does this book matter?
I found the first issue close to perfect in how it introduced the heroes in play (nearly all of them) and the monsters as they touched down on Earth to wreak havoc. Add in the intro of a lesser known character in Elsa Bloodstone and there’s some gasoline at work with this fire. Each issue has a new artist with Greg Land taking over with this one. Sounds like an opportunity to kick ass, eh?
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Vision looks pretty damn good.
Cullen Bunn opens this issue in a fantastic way as the last issue focused on the monsters terrorizing the cities, but you probably didn’t even think of space! Those on the Alpha Flight space station and Captain Marvel are a first line of defense as there are even more monsters coming in at a faster clip. This opening sequence helps convey the scope in which this battle is taking place and also the fact that maybe the defense shield being talked about in Captain America needs to happen sooner than later. Bunn then takes the action around the globe and again does so in a clear and concise way. A single panel may contain five characters, but it’s clear who they are, where they are, and what they’re fighting. It’s essentially an efficient montage working its way to deliver big action.
Bloodstone gets some key scenes in this issue, which gives the plot some teeth as Bunn continues to flesh out the reason for all this monster madness. She serves as a way into the complexity of the plot without getting too complicated or exposition heavy. He positively kills it with her final scene which seems to suggest she’s about to commit a very awful act.
Fans of the Guardians of the Galaxy should prick up their ears, as they get much more focus when it comes to the Earth battles. That includes fun banter for Rocket and Groot as well as some interactions between them and a certain hero fans should dig. Miles fans should give this a look too as he’s used more often than most.
The art by Land is good, though there are a few strikeouts here and there. There are a surprising number of double page spreads that are excellent, from a monster mashup to the heroes collectively ready to punch them out. Thor’s helmet is particularly nice with a perfect metal sheen to make her look godly. The color art by David Curiel has a distinct colorfulness to remind us this is fun comics, but a more subdued tone to convey the down-on-their-luck nature Earth is in with the destruction.
It can’t be perfect can it?
Greg Land draws funny faces. They don’t look bad, but they can pull you out of the story. The woman (and Star-Lord in particular) continue to look stereotypically from magazines as his art in the past has shown, which draws you out of the reality of the situation. They’re downright copies of real faces, which doesn’t quite gel well with the fantastical elements. In the opening page, there’s a bit of a placement issue with Captain Marvel’s hand covering her own face in a second panel. It’s as if the collage wasn’t finished and they went to print anyway.
The action in this issue is very stiff, possibly because nearly every fight scene is a single image with no tracking of a sequence of the fight itself. Only once do you see a hero move in, then in the next panel strike. In other cases, you see the heroes around a monster in a splashy poster type panel, then extreme close ups of the heroes getting entangled or reacting to a blow. It makes the action less interesting and rather static. It doesn’t necessarily ruin the book, but it does make it feel more like snapshots than a fluid cinematic experience.
The general tone of the book is starting to feel a bit off too. While the first issue was fun and blockbuster in tone, this issue is starting to feel darker and more serious. Stakes are one thing, but it’s somehow less fun than the opening salvo.
Watch as heroes fight, but more like pose with the monsters!
Is It Good?
Key details are dropped as the heroes face a threat they can’t possibly fight off! Bunn does well to increase the scope of the battle with Land delivering pinup quality panel and page after panel and page. The art does feel less kinetic and interesting, but overall this is still a lot of fun.