So I just completed Marvel’s latest crossover, Monsters Unleashed. I truly have no idea why it happened. This book was like Jason Todd. I am told that he serves a purpose, some people may even enjoy him, but I have a difficult time understanding why he is a thing that exists. Monsters Unleashed is filled with the splashiest of splash pages, crammed with heroes and monsters locked in epic yet un-impactful combat. This series tried hard to establish the Monsters as a legitimate threat to Marvel Universe but in a reality where individuals can punch planets in half, it’s hard to feel like anything is really at stake. Even the “big’ reveal of the HMIC (Head Monster in Charge) felt pretty uninspired.
Speaking of uninspired…..
Marvel is desperately trying to make us care about the Inhumans. I’m not feeling the Comic Book version of this Inhumans movement. They are really trying to make being an Inhuman as ubiquitous as being a mutant. It’s just not working for me. In the MU, anyone can be a Mutant while the Inhumans have a Royal Family. The only Royal Families I recognize live in
The whole concept just keeps reminding me that The Inhumans are not the X-Men. And as long as Fox owns the rights to the X-Men, we will see a lot of “Not the X-Men” operating in X-Men spaces…inspiring me to curse Fox being a (sort of) competent Movie Studio.
For some reason this book decided to give the spotlight to a new Inhuman child named Kei Kawade, a normal child with the convenient power of being able to conjure monsters by drawing them. Marvel could have very easily placed Lunella Lafayette (Moon Girl) in that spotlight, an established Hyper-Intelliegent Inhuman child with a telepathic link to a giant Red T-Rex from another dimension (that even sounds better). Unsurprisingly, when Luna and Kei are sharing the stage, Moon Girl is so much more interesting. She has a very distinct voice and is always the smartest person in the room. Kei is the kid that constantly needs to be saved by more competent heroes, he’s Jonny Quest.
In addition to Kei and Luna, Elsa Bloodstone is a POV character at points during the first book, she seems to be there to shoot things and…..shoot more things, look….I’m not sure why she was in the book. She just kinda appeared and I just assumed she was important because she was narrating the story.
Cullen Bunn is a very capable writer and handles a writing for a who’s who of the Marvel Universe very well. Each character retains their personalities and I didn’t pick up on any inconsistencies with the voices that tend to happen in large crossover books. The main characters held the main stage and propelled the narrative forward and allowed the bigger names to handle the grunt work of fighting the menagerie of monsters.
I was disappointed with the use of Marvel’s classic monsters. I was looking forward to seeing Fin Fang Foom to show the world why he used to be a legitimate threat to Thor and the FF. None of Marvel’s classic monsters had an opportunity to make an impression on the reader. After the first issue, they are never allowed to be the grandiose, scenery chewing, spectacles they were in the 60’s and 70s. I know the appearance of the Monsters was supposed to signify something important but, like Colossus in most X-Men books, their presence inspires feelings of “Why are you even here?”. The Classic Monsters only serve as fodder for the Big Bad of the series. Without giving too much away, I will say that the Big Bad in this story has no replay value. In terms of a Crossover villain she, ranks somewhere below The Taker.
Never heard of the Taker? Exactly. The main villain in Monsters Unleashed is teetering over a pool of lukewarm apathy.
So we have a book with a dull protagonist and an uninspired antagonist, you may be asking “Why would I even read this?” Because…majestic splash pages crammed full of SUPERHEROES punching MONSTERS. I don’t know about you, but if I can’t see heroes, heroing, I’m getting out of the comic book game. This was a throwback. Unburdened with plot and character development, Bunn was able to focus on draping a slim narrative over a rich artwork. The story was flimsy, but a complex story would have detracted from such an over-the-top concept. If you miss the old school books where heroes launch themselves into battle without being burdened by logic, reasons or explanations, read this series. If you are looking for something a bit more cerebral, feel free to skip this one.