I was a fan of the Monsters Unleashed event for how it mixed in top-tier artists to create a big fun action fest. It also sprouted a new kid hero deemed Kid Kaiju who can draw monsters and teleport them to his location. It’s an inventive power made more interesting with five of his main monsters by his side, all with fun and differing personalities. The first volume hits comic shelves this week!
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
Unleash the monsters once again! Smashing out of the blockbuster event that terrorized the Marvel Universe comes a high-action sci-fi series starring a group of monstrous (and monstrously massive) do-gooders – including Kid Kaiju, Aegis, Slizzik, Scragg and Mekara! This new band of heroes has teamed with monster-hunter Elsa Bloodstone, and together they’ll take on gargantuan creatures and protect the planet from ruin and disaster. But will the rest of Earth’s heroes allow them to help -or will they be deemed dangerous as well?
Why does this matter?
Writer Cullen Bunn has done a great job establishing this new character via the Monsters Unleashed event and he continues to build on that here. Kid Kaiju is a fresh face and perfect for younger audiences to relate to as well.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
The art is split between David Baldeon on the first four issues with Ramon Bachs wrapping up the last two. Baldeon has a cartoony, almost Humberto Ramos style that suits this all-ages sort of comic series. The colors by Marcio Menyz and Chris Sotomayor help amp up the cartoony look with bright colors be it monsters or the darkly lit New Inteligencia lair. The most important thing is how the art team captures the size of these beasts and the design of the monsters Kid Kaiju faces are all vast and creative. I could see fans of Ultraman or Power Rangers enjoying this series for the monsters alone.
The plot of this first arc ain’t bad either. The New Inteligencia gives the story some extra weight since it’s a team of some of Marvel’s heaviest hitters. Mister Sinister, M.O.D.O.K., and The Leader are just a few of the characters who could easily serve as the main villain on other books — and here, they’re a team. They’re basically the evil baddies watching from afar for much of this book, but when Kid Kaiju is kidnapped by them they require some evil things from our hero. Why they think they can somehow understand Kid Kaiju’s powers when he’s an Inhuman is beyond me, but their desire for his power makes sense. Bunn also weaves in Mole Man who seems to have taken on a somewhat comedic tilt in recent years. Bunn continues this angle while also making him a sympathetic character.
This is certainly an action first fight comic though the drama does get kicked up a notch when S.H.I.E.L.D. gets involved. I’m not sure when this event takes place since the “Secret Empire” story doesn’t seem to be involved at all, but it doesn’t matter too much since these characters are removed from the main Marvel universe noise anyway. The action is good, especially when Bunn has Kid Kaiju’s monsters banter. They all have unique ways of speaking like Skragg who screeches truths and Mekara who offers two different words with backslashes as if to make her point more certain. It makes their fighting more interesting.
Making the monsters tiny was a clever twist, but it’s done a heavy handed way of getting there.
It can’t be perfect can it?
Since this more of an action adventure don’t expect much in the way of character development. By the end of the volume, not a whole lot changes either, but as far as opening salvos this does a good job establishing itself as a unique comic worthy of your dime.
S.H.I.E.L.D. ends up being a distracting blip to move the plot along. Dum Dum Dugan is rather ignorant, which hurts his character and seems off for him. Usually, he’s got his thumb on the know, but here he attacks Kid Kaiju’s monsters out of blind duty rather than thinking it through. It’s a forced way to serve the plot to get the monsters tiny for a later scene.
Is It Good?
It may be light on character, but Monsters Unleashed Vol. 1 is a fun romp for the adventure fan. It’s also a good all-ages book with its strength coming from Kid Kaiju’s colorful monster teammates.