Monsters Unleashed

The only thing you really need to know about Marvel’s latest mini-event is that Steve McNiven is drawing giant monsters fighting superheroes.

No socio-political commentary centered on government regulatory efforts; no overt attempt at redefining heroic archetypes for the twenty-first century. We’re not going to philosophize about space travel, or the multiverse, or the disenfranchisement of mutants. We don’t give a shit about evil corporations. There are giant, extraterrestrial monsters pounding on every supergroup in Marvel’s catalog, from the Avengers to the X-Men. In Monsters Unleashed #1, by Cullen Bunn and McNiven, the earth is under attack by a variety of giant beasties, raining down on the planet from space. Underused B-lister Elsa Bloodstone (see the recent A-Force series) is investigating the apocalyptic origins of this disaster, while somewhere in Missouri, there is a teenager with an active imagination and a sketchbook, somehow caught up in the middle of everything.

1963, two issues before Amazing Fantasy debuts Spider-Man
1963, two issues before Amazing Fantasy introduces the world to Spider-Man

Again, while it’s great to just pick up a comic book wherein Steve McNiven is drawing monsters battling superheroes, there is something wonderfully poetic about the event. During comicdom’s Golden Age, in the time while DC was developing a super-pantheon, Marvel’s bread and butter was still monster books. Whether in the pages of Astonishing Tales or Amazing Fantasy, creatures reigned. Indeed, when the Marvel Age began with Fantastic Four #1, Jack Kirby’s iconic cover features the First Family battling a subterranean behemoth. The superheroes were officially here, and they had vanquished the monsters. It’s taken more than fifty years, but looks like payback has arrived.

Marvel NOW! Week 16
There’s a movie in the works. Time to start making Carol Danvers likable again. Mighty Captain Marvel #1, by Margaret Stohl and Ramon Rosanas, is a great start. Stohl’s plot, seeded with an imminent Chitauri invasion and an influx of alien refugees flooding both Earth and the Alpha Flight station (see the zero issue from three weeks back) is compelling. Throw in intergalactic shapeshifting bounty hunters and the sensational artwork of Ramon Rosanas (the most recent Ant-Man series), and I’m onboard. Also, it’s worth pointing out that, as much as she might have been painted as the villain in Civil War II, the public opinion of Captain Marvel, both in the fictional Marvel universe as well as the real world of comic book fans, might not be any better than it is right now. #CarolCorps is a force!

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