Review: Monsters Unleashed #1

monsters_unleashed__1It’s all hands on deck with the Avengers, Champions, Guardians, X-Men and the Inhumans as they clash with monstrous threats that threaten to destroy every corner of the Marvel Universe. Who are the Leviathons? Who controls them? How can they be stopped before Earth becomes another tragic, barren world in their wake?

Marvel has a great history with monsters in their comics with some classics gracing the comics page. Recently though, the attempt to reboot, relaunch, rework, some of these classic characters into the modern Marvel Universe has resulted in mixed results, but mostly negative.

Enter, Monsters Unleashed #1, a comic that feels like it’d have been more at home being launched during Halloween.

Written by Cullen Bunn, the first issue feels like a modern tail of kaiju as comets come crashing from the sky bringing with it giant monsters for the worlds’ heroes to battle. While there’s something generally fun watching folks fight giant monsters, this issue feels like it misses exactly what. It’s not Pacific Rim where we saw giant robots grappling giant behemoths. Instead, we’re given quick cuts as teams around the world deal with the monster invasion each part given just a few pages and mostly consisting of “What’s going on? Who knows, just punch it.” This is a big, turn your brain off, monster budget monster movie, on the comic page.

There’s a bigger mystery going on as it’s hinted someone is controlling, and maybe creating, the monsters that are attacking. It’s a twist I feel like I’ve seen before in a comic/tv/movie though can’t remember exactly where and when. The comic is also hampered by the fact that Inhumans vs. X-Men is currently going on and last we’ve seen the X-Men were threatened with not being able to step on Earth and they’re at war with the Inhumans, but everything is hunky dory here.

But, there’s a lot going for the comic too with Steve McNiven on art rendering the battles in the masterful way he does. For as thin as the story is to start, the art is superb. The monsters look huge and even though there’s tons going on the battles are fairly easy to follow and the art doesn’t look jumbled at all. This is big action that’s easy to follow.

Monsters Unleashed #1 is a big summer popcorn film. Visually amazing and only paper thin when it comes to the actual story. I realize this is just the first issue, but it’s also supposed to be what hooks us to read the rest. The first issue teases a lot, but doesn’t deliver quite enough. While the first issue was turn your brain off fun, it didn’t deliver enough story to justify the price and investment. Like a summer blockbuster, it might be best on a big screen but after it’s over you wonder why you spent the money. This is one to wait and read down the road.

Story: Cullen Bunn Art: Steve McNiven
Story: 5 Art: 8.15 Overall: 5.45 Recommendation: Read

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review