By Cullen Bunn, Steve McNiven, Jay Leisten, David Curiel, and Travis Lanham.
The newest Marvel event takes us down some familiar paths with Monsters Unleashed #1. From page one, the readers are thrown right into an all-out attack on Earth from London to Wakanda to New York City. We watch as every nation and all of our favorite Marvel heroes attempt to ward off the advances of what appears to be monsters that are unleashed! See what I did there?
Yes, this issue features a lot of Marvel heroes; The Avengers, X-Men, and the Inhumans all battling some cool looking monsters, but it is the distinct non-monster pages that capture the most attention in this premiere issue written by Cullen Bunn. In the middle of the action, we are shown Devil Dinosaur and Moon Girl (also known as the smartest person in the Marvel Universe) in New York City in her science lab contemplating the monster epidemic. Then, we get to see the return of Elsa Bloodstone to relevancy (Nextwave anyone?!), as she journeys from Boston, Massachusetts to Peru as she works out a way to magic these monsters back to where they came from. The most interesting cutaway is the introduction of Kei Kawade, a young boy who is fascinated with drawing monsters in Springfield, Missouri.
Bunn is definitely weaving an interesting story, letting the heroes fight the monster, while we are also witnessing another set of heroes attempt to fight the monsters on other fronts with science and magic behind the scenes. All of this action builds toward a really climatic last page that leaves the reader fulfilled with one question answered, but with many more not. That is the trait of a good first issue, especially for this huge crossover event, to give the readers enough information and validation to get their trust and concern for the characters and story, but also lay enough foundation so there are more surprises and bumps ahead.
Art in this issue features pencils from Steve McNiven, inks from Jay Leisten, colors from David Curiel, and letters from Travis Lanham. Each page shows tremendous line work and detail, and is jammed packed with action from top to bottom. Every page is filled with enough details that it can take your eyes a minute to take in the full scope of a page before you dive in to reading, which does not happen nearly enough in comics. Finding a book with the love and care this book has in every page is a true delight. The perspective and colors are also not to be overlooked in this book. The use of perspective and shadowing to direct the reader amidst the chaos of the action is beautifully down. The colors literally jump off the page, and the bright colors of monster blood to the pinkish glow of Jean Grey’s telekinetic powers, there are a lot of colors to help distinguish the players among the craziness.
Monsters Unleashed #1 was a massive undertaking, from character design of hideous monsters to creating a cohesive story to span across different heroes in the Marvel Universe. Bunn and the art team of McNiven, Leisten, Curiel, and Lanham certainly seem up to the challenge to bring a little good old fashioned fun monster fighting back in style. This book is a fun read that really reminds Marvel fans why we love Marvel crossovers, they are not just a ploy from an evil company to sell more comics; they serve a purpose to bring teams together, heal old wounds between heroes, and push character development. This book has the promise to do all of those things and much more.