Monsters Unleashed #1: Judging a Book by its Cover

Before I picked up this issue, I knew very little about Monsters Unleashed and Kid Kaiju. When the event was announced last year I must admit I was a little curious (I was going through what I would describe as a ‘Monster Appreciation’ stage in my life). However, for reasons that now escape me, I decided against it. However, one trip to a comic book shop months after and I now own the first issue of the ongoing volume of this title.

This issue follows Kei Kawade and his family moving onto the new island of Mu. With Kei being able to summon creatures capable of levelling cities, he is a the top of every organisation’s list, good and bad alike. SHIELD have thankfully gotten to him first, assigning H.E.R.B.I.E and Elsa Bloodstone to watch over him. The trio and Kaiju quickly go to intercept a Leviathon only to come up against a whole group of them under the command of: MOLE MAN!

I had best talk about why I picked this issue up because it wasn’t without reason. I’m not overly fussed about variant covers, especially hip hop variants (I know very little about Hip Hop so they are mostly lost on me) and I don’t tend to pick them up unless I have to or I like them. On this occasion, it was the latter. When I saw this cover online and felt inexplicably drawn to it. I’m hardly an expert on art but something about the way Kei is portrayed in this image felt incredibly powerful. The monsters in the background add to the overall power immensely, reminding me of the likes of Godzilla and King Kong. Truth be told, I can’t really explain the appeal of Greene’s cover to me, it just does.

Despite the fact that I only really bought this issue for the cover, the stuff inside was rather good. The addressing of just how much power young Kei wields is a great starting point because he is a very dangerous individual to be left to roam without supervision. In some respects this promises to provide intriguing story arcs down the line but one can’t help but feel sympathetic towards Kei. That’s an awful lot of responsibility for anyone to handle. Perhaps it sits well on the shoulders of an innocent child. His child state is utilised well with his power set, he’s got one heck of an imagination.

I was pleasantly surprised at the individuality of each monster, both in design and personality. Scragg was surprisingly more gentle than I thought he would be, despite the fact that he shouts his concerns. Mekara’s thesaurus-like way of speaking was entertaining. The fact that she can’t help it makes for an interesting twist. As a whole, they feel like a quirky little family who care for each other and for Kei.

Elsa Bloodstone and H.E.R.B.I.E provide a diverse cast of supporting characters. Again, I don’t know loads about them but they definitely suit this title well, one being a monster hunter and the other a faithful companion to Marvel’s oldest (currently absent) family of heroes.

The plot is as intriguing as the characters. Bunn clearly has something very exciting planned for Kid Kaiju and co with some rather big villains set to step up their game in terms of trying to get a hold of him and his monsters.

Baldeon and Menyz provide fun art for a fun story. The style is more cartoony but it suits the tone of the book well. With monsters there is an option to move towards more graphic, terrifying art but that really wouldn’t have suited Kid Kaiju’s cohort of creatures at all. They are effectively like him, young and somewhat innocent in a world where people seek to exploit them. The vibrant, cartoony style keeps things light.

I did enjoy the issue but I’m not too fussed about exploring it further. I wouldn’t mind knowing where he fits into Secret Empire actually. When you command creatures like his you could help a whole lot of people. He’s an Inhuman so he might be in a prison camp but I imagine he’s a tough one to imprison. Probably best that he isn’t involved, he’s got enough on his plate as it is.

  • Story – 7/10
  • Art – 8/10
  • Accessibility – Very Friendly – #1, need I say more?
  • Overall – 7.5/10

Overall, a solid first issue. If you are into monster fights and an overwhelming sense of responsibility, this title might be worth checking out. If you have any thoughts or questions please feel free to leave them in the comments. Thank you.

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