Monsters Unleashed is Marvel’s newest crossover that brings in all their heroes to face a threat of giant monsters. Yes, Marvel superheroes are fighting something else besides each other. It’s a great sight to see after Civil War II and Inhumans vs. X-Men, so already this book gets a heap of praise from me. However, how does the rest of the comic hold up? Is it worth spending the $4.99 on? Or should Monsters Unleashed be written off as another uninspired Marvel crossover event?
Cullen Bunn has proven himself to be a great writer, and here is no exception. Monsters Unleashed’s plot is simple, but not mundane. Giant monsters are falling from the sky, and it’s up to our favorite Marvel heroes to stop them. Easier said than done. This issue allows the audience to experience the scope and scale of the incoming threats. It’s certainly a great hook that will leave the reader wanting more. But where the writing really shines is in its characterization and dialogue. Bunn gives each character a unique voice, and shows off as many of them as possible. All the major superhero teams have a page or two dedicated to them; they’re showcased in a way that might make people interested in their stories. I know I’ll be checking out Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur after reading this issue. (Hell this comic even made me kind of like the Inhumans. That’s impressive)
However, the entire issue isn’t just superhero team after superhero team battling a Kaiju. There’s a deeper plot that focuses on two characters that have a relation to the event. A young boy named Kei Kawade – who may be unwittingly responsible for everything happening – and everyone’s favorite bad-ass, British monster hunter Elsa Bloodstone. Her story indicates that she may have a way to stop the monster apocalypse, or at the very least, we’ll be seeing more of her soon. Which, I’m very happy about.
Civil War artist, Steve McNiven, helms the artistic side of this crossover, so of course the art is outstanding – particularly in the monster design. Each one looks unique, epic, and for lack of a better word, monstrous. There is a grand scale in the panels, particularly in how the angles of said panels are set up. I felt small while reading this comic. There’s also a great sense of motion going on as we see each of the heroes take on a monster. Totally Awesome Hulk, Amadeus Cho, has a really epic scene as he takes down one ugly Kaiju. This book is worth checking out just on the art alone. Sure, there are a few wonky perspectives and facial expressions, but they are few and far between and can be forgiven, especially on this grand a scale. McNiven’s craft is definitely the strongest selling point for this comic. His pencils are complimented greatly by Jay Leisten’s inks and David Curiel’s coloring. Both of them add depth and complexity to these designs.
It’s a shame that Civil War II was the first event that sprung out of the All-New All-Different Marvel relaunch; clearly Monsters Unleashed is what should have been released back in May. This comic not only brings all the heroes together to fight a common foe, but it also smartly showcases all the major teams and their heroes. It gives the audience a little tasting of Marvel’s line up. If you’ve given up on Marvel event comics, this one might be change things around for you, as it is engaging, uncomplicated, and fun. If you haven’t read anything from Marvel in a while, this will give you a smorgasbord of everything great going on in their other comics.
However, there is that $4.99 price tag on the comic. If it were a dollar cheaper, or printed in a prestige formatting, then I would recommend this book in a heartbeat. The issue does come with more story, which is a plus. However, I’m not a fan of the flimsy, cheap paper Marvel uses for their books. There’s also the question of how the tie-ins will effect the story or the progress of the event. However, it’s still an enjoyable event and I’m excited to see where the series is going to go next.
Let us know in the comments what you guys think.