Review: Monsters Unleashed #1

Spinning out of the recent event, Marvel‘s Monsters Unleashed is a high-action sci-fi series centered on a team of monstrous and monstrously massive do-gooders including Kid Kaiju, Aegis, Slizzik, Scragg, Hi-Vo, and Mekara. Now teaming up with vampire-hunter Elsa Bloodstone, the series unfolds as the team takes on gargantuan creatures and protects the planet from ruin and disaster. However, can they be accepted by the rest of the Marvel Universe and allowed to help, or will they be deemed dangerous as well?

Since the event series has ended, I’ve wondered how writer Cullen Bunn would spin out the concept of Monsters Unleashed into its own ongoing series. While I wasn’t a fan of the first few issues of the mini-series/event, by the end, Bunn’s vision was much clearer and while the series could be described as a “team book,” it resembled more of the 90s Japanese shows that came to American shores. Monsters Unleashed has more in common with Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and Digimon than it does the Avengers or X-Men. And, the series is stronger for it.

Bunn gives us a first issue that’s full of humor (hello Scragg!) and eventually some action, but what the series really has going for it is heart. At its core it doesn’t forget that Kid Kaiju is exactly that, a kid. His actions and reactions are that of a kid. He runs away when adults are arguing over him and he exudes a loneliness about him that you can feel emanating from the page.

Beyond the humor and the heart, Bunn intelligently includes Damage Control, S.H.I.E.L.D., and even a H.e.r.b.i.e. There’s tons packed in this first issue that but a grin on my face. I was never a fan of those Japanese shows, but Bunn has made me a fan of this concept.

The art by David Baldeon is fantastic. The sense of scale of the monsters is there and he’s able to somehow keep everything in a panel no matter the scale we’re talking about. Monsters and humans mix effortlessly and the detail is where it needs to be. There’s also lots of small details that help enhance Bunn’s humor. The art, including colors by Marcio Menyz, just pop on the page and create a fresh and youthful feel to it all. Travis Lanham‘s lettering also stands out as it helps give each monster their own personality as they talk.

I enjoyed the previous event that led to this more as it went along but this first issue has so much energy and fun about it, plus there’s a mix of giant monsters to enjoy. Bunn brings action, heart, humor, and fun in a series that’s quite unexpected from Marvel. While I was really interested in this first issue, I wasn’t expecting to enjoy it as much as I did and out of everything I’ve read so far this week, it stands out from the pack.

Story: Cullen Bunn Art: David Baldeon Cover Art: Arthur Adams
Story: 8.65 Art: 8.65 Overall: 8.65 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review