Monsters Unleashed #1 (Marvel)
In a rare treat, a proper Marvel U book makes it to this week’s reviews.
If you are a fan of strange monsters appearing from nowhere and causing total havoc, this comic will scratch the Godzilla-sized itch you need to have scratched.
If you are or were a fan of Marvel comics, then this comic feeds that hunger.
The premise is very simple: giant kaiju monsters are falling from the sky. Every team across the Marvel Universe looks to defeat them with their own signatures that every fan can recognize. For readers who are not current, it also serves as a very soft reintroduction to the current state of the Marvel universe without beating you over the head with it.
Steve McNiven on art is simply breathtaking. His monsters are weird while maintaining the wackiness of horror monsters from the 1970s and before. In the wrong hands this book would come across as ridiculous, but it manages to take the most absurd and turn it into threatening, real life danger for all the Marvel Universe.
There is also a little bit of mystery built into the storytelling with Else Bloodstone – the Monster Hunter – interesting and compelling even when there are not giant monsters tearing up major cities.
This is an absolutely amazing, cross-genre mash up that is great for kaiju horror fans, kids who love current Marvel comics and everyone in between.
Ratings: 4.5 out of 5
Hook Jaw #2 (Titan)
You had me at shark. The combination of sharks and comics – while not the easiest to execute – is the easiest sale to me that you will ever make.
Yet, Hook Jaw is a baffling book. While there were no hints that it was not taking itself seriously in issue #1, in this issue, it beats the reader over the head with the unsubtle self-awareness. It mentions that Hook Jaw was once a 1970s comic book. It highlights the fact that the hard-assed, no-nonsense character is pulled straight from an 80s movie. It then proceeds to bring in every trope under the sun; from dolphin loving hippies to CIA conspiracies. There is nothing to grab onto from a character or writing standpoint. Without those things, it just makes this a mindless book about sharks
If you are going to have a mindless book about sharks, the art needs to be so amazing and captivating that it can overcome a lack of a coherent story or poor writing, but the art is passable at best.
I do not like to judge books so harshly, but it’s hard not to compare this to White. Between these two shark books, one is clearly superior to the other, and Hook Jaw most definitely does not win that battle.
Ratings: 2 out of 5
Ex Mortis #1 (451 Media)
While this first issue was released back in November, the third issue comes out this week on Friday, so I thought I’d circle back and highlight this series. It’s always good to check out these smaller independent books.
There is nothing earth shatteringly original about this book. If you are a fan of Hellboy and the BPRD, Marvel’s The Howling Commandos, or DC’s Frankenstein: Agent of Shade, this books follows in that tradition. It’s World War 2 and monsters are being developed and deployed from both sides.
The art in this book is black and white, and is rather well done. The artist clearly has an affinity for Jeff Lemire’s shading style. Sometimes the line work came across as unfinished, but that could be because this was a PDF format from the publisher and not the finished comic. The only other critique is that there was a lot of ink on the board, and I’m not sure it added anything special to the art.
Overall, absolute fun story and good art. Give this series a read.
Check it out here.
Ratings: 3.5 out 5