Civil War II doesn’t seem that far behind us, but we’re already starting a new phase of Marvel with the debut of Monsters Unleashed #1. With recent teaser images, we can already start to infer that the publisher is now trying to bring these frayed heroes together despite the tension surrounding the heroes in the aftermath of the most recent event. Let’s brush aside the current state of Marvel to dig directly into quality of the publisher’s most recent offerings!

The Mighty Captain Marvel #1

Writer: Margaret Stohl
Artist: Ramon Rosanas
Colors: Michael Garland
Letters: VC’s Joe Caramagna

Captain Marvel is a tough character for most writers to get a handle on. Placing Carol Danvers back with Alpha Flight gives the character something to do, but it has the comic treading a bit of water as seen before in previous volumes. Without a clear or present twist of the premise, there isn’t enough here to emotionally invest in. Novelist Margaret Stohl’s opening sequence in this issue stumbles and fails to properly pace the story. Even though not every gear in Captain Marvel’s life is perfectly aligned, the issue doesn’t give her enough of a vulnerability or ego to keep readers invested in her from a post-Civil War II Tony Stark angle.

Some of the dialogue in this issue is a bit on-the-nose as well in how it restates ideas or themes that are already shown in earlier panels. Also, Danvers’ character doesn’t quite get the opportunity in this comic to really shown with a unique personality. Her anger at some of the aspects in her life that aren’t going quite her way doesn’t come across as charming, but stiff and boring. Worse still, there were more than a few jokes in this issue that didn’t land for me with a groan-inducing Alpha Flight interaction later on in the story. The few times that this comic does have ties to Civil War II are referenced in a weird, throw-away manner that doesn’t exactly prove meaningful for this story.

The comic keeps the audience more alienated when the series introduces more of Carol Danvers ties to the Kree and continues to reference the lackluster beginning of the comic. Fortunately the very last moment in this comic does start to show a little more potential with a slightly unexpected twist.

The art in the issue is sufficient with Ramon Rosanas drawing a more reserved and stiff Captain Marvel than I might have been used to. The artist is particularly light on some of the backgrounds of the issue as well. Fortunately, the artist has solid, dynamic facial expressions and a smooth level of technical proficiency as artists Michael Garland and VC’s Joe Caramagna provide a helpful assist to the art direction in this comic.

This new volume of Captain Marvel glides right by Civil War II, attempting to move Carol Danvers’ life in a more classic direction but not introducing anything noteworthy about the character.

Verdict: Pass.

Monsters Unleashed #1

Writer: Cullen Bunn
Penciler: Steve McNiven
Inker: Jay Leisten
Colors: David Curiel
Letters: VC’s Travis Lanham

Monsters Unleashed is finally upon us! The series, promising hero vs. monster action with an all-star lineup of artists is finally here, but how in-depth is the comic? Taken at face value, is this the debut that will simply feature a big, dumb popcorn fight? Or can readers expect something more substantial in this oversized comic book?

Writer Cullen Bunn and artist Steve McNiven don’t hesitate in giving readers what they want in this debut issue. Within the pages of opening this title, readers will be treated to a glorious monsterific double-page spread. The opening sequence of the comic will make some readers happy as well with how connected the Marvel Universe feels within this issue. The Avengers are hanging out with each other fighting monsters regardless of how divided they were in their previous battle. However, with the recent fallout of Civil War II, why isn’t there more conflict among some of these characters acting in concert? Even though much of the characters in this issue are aligned within individual groups, I’m confused as to why the Marvel Universe does seem so segmented and disconnected from the previous Marvel event.

McNiven’s intensely detailed pencils are an incredibly important factor of this series that is teasing a storyline with less plot and more action. Thankfully, the art delivers with lots of detailed shown through on most panels. Inker Jay Leisten and colorist David Curiel add a nice amount of detail with different superhero costumes and effects coming from the battle. VC’s Travis Lanham has a lot of effects to add to this series as well, with lettering making this comic feel nice and cohesive.

As established above, there’s a lot to like about this issue! This comic book is filled with beautifully rendered Steve McNiven artwork, more monsters than I could ever hope to name, and tons of heroes working in concert with each other. However, the fun stops there. The comic established what we already know about the series (heroes fighting monsters) and then inches past the premise slightly with magic. Worse still, this issue is priced at a premium $4.99 for only a small amount of additional content. You could leaf through this comic at a store and get all the information you need to know about this series.

While this first issue certainly isn’t bad, the package feels unsubstantial and sort of meaningless for the high volume of cash this comic is priced at.

Verdict: Browse.

Next week Monsters Unleashed continues and we’ll have our quick thoughts on Avengers #1.MU and Spider-Man Deadpool #1.MU. Then I’ll segway into an in-depth analysis on Civil War II: The Oath, hoping that the publisher will sort out the confusing final status quo of Captain Marvel and Iron Man after the big event.


  1. I liked the last incarnation of Captain Marvel. The space-diplomacy + punching things really worked for me, and the old school Alpha Flight members actually got some nice moments — especially under the Gages. This new version does nothing for me at all, so I’ll be putting my $4 a month toward something else.

  2. I was expecting a bit more story in Monsters Unleashed for the price/page count and not just a bunch of pin-ups that scream “you need to read all those “.1 MU” issues for the full story.

    I’m not sure I’ll be back for #2…

  3. Regardless of quality, Its hard to care about Captain Marvel at all anymore given that we know the book will limp on to issue 12 and be re-launched… the cycle will repeat itself again and again., with the so called Carol Corps fandom still no-where to be seen.

    Monsters Unleashed had great art but lacked a strong hook to justify buying the next issue. the premise wasn’t exactly the most exciting to begin with so the failure to really provide any story meat to the reader is really bad.

  4. I am a big fan of Cullen Bunn and will absolutely read anything he writes. That being said, I will not be reading Monsters Unleashed #2. It is everything I hate in a super-hero book. It is nothing but senseless battle scenes featuring groups of Marvel heroes fighting big monsters while they exchange witty banter. So typical and predictable and utterly boring. Pass.

    I don’t blame Bunn, because I know what he is capable of. He is probably just writing what his corporate masters expect him to write and just cashing his check. Typical work for hire fare.

    I just wish that he and other writers and artists would focus more on their creator owned comics which is where they produce amazing things and quit wasting their talents on super hero comics for the big 2. Such a waste.

    I’ll just wait for Harrow County Vol 4 TPB which comes out next week, you know, Cullen’s good stuff…..

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