Comic Review: Monsters Unleashed #1

monsters_unleashed_1_coverMonsters Unleashed #1 (of 5) (Marvel Comics)

Well, here we go, another Marvel event. While it doesn’t have the scale of Civil War II or Secret Wars, Monsters Unleashed is here, with the promotional drive one would expect from the “House of Ideas”. Each issue features a different artist (this opening one featuring art by Steve McNiven), and it’s written by Cullen Bunn, a writer who’s known for Marvel work like Magneto and Venom, as well as writing a pretty successful Godzilla run for IDW. While I have little interest in the giant monsters of the Marvel universe attacking en masse, I have to admit, Monsters Unleashed is a fun throwback to a time when Marvel didn’t have their heroes fighting one another or universe shaking events every 3 months.

Throughout the globe, giant monsters long forgotten are attacking. The Avengers are taking on a threat in Boston. The X-Men are taking on a beast in London. The Guardians of the Galaxy are fighting a monster in Seattle for some reason. Around the world, monsters are appearing, yet no one knows where the threat is coming from, or why the monsters are all attacking at once. This mystery will be the main force behind Monsters Unleashed, and it looks to be one that could be pretty fun and interesting if the final page is any indication.

Cullen Bunn’s script does a great job of bouncing between the different areas of the Marvel universe, and showcasing the multiple personalities that an event like this can have. More often than not, many characters get sidelined in major events, but so far Bunn is able to give nearly all of the heroes in this issue a moment to shine, whether it’s Spider-Man’s one liners or Thor and Hercules teaming up to take down a giant monster. Not only that, but Bunn’s able to keep the script moving at a brisk pace that doesn’t feel too fast, which is a welcome turn of events after Civil War II dragged on.

Having Steve McNiven as your opening artist for an event like this is both a good thing and a bad thing. While McNiven is arguably Marvel’s best artist and delivers some truly great action pieces in this issue, setting him as the first issue artist could fool some readers into thinking that he’s drawing the entire series. Marvel’s been pretty upfront in their advertising that this won’t be the case, but still, I won’t be surprised to hear some complaints when issue two comes.

After Civil War II, I was very reluctant to give yet another Marvel event a try, but if I’m being completely honest, Monsters Unleashed was a nice throwback to Marvel events of old. It’s refreshing to see these heroes team up against a legitimate enemy and not clash over ideologies for once, and it helps that Monsters Unleashed is a much smaller scale event than previous Marvel events. Aside from a few characters specific one-shots, this won’t be a major universe-wide story. While it remains to be seen if Cullen Bunn is able to stick the landing, so far Monsters Unleashed is a fun and easy entry point for new Marvel readers.
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