Monday, October 31, 2011

Legion of Monsters #1 (of 4)

Dennis Hopeless & Juan Doe

Happy Halloween!!  And what better book to review for Halloween than Marvel's Legion of Monsters?  This is a four issue mini-series that follows monster hunter Elsa Bloodstone, a character who headed her own mini-series Bloodstone years ago, and more recently, was a kick-ass member (and my favorite member) of Warren Ellis and Stuart Immonen's Nextwave: Agents of H.A.T.E., which had quite a loyal following at the time.  And it seems like Marvel is trying to recapture some of those fans, as Juan Doe's art is very reminiscent of Immonen's artwork on Nextwave.  Doe's pencils do end up being second best, but they're really rather nice when not unfairly comparing them to what's come before, especially his designs of the cool monsters in this issue.  Elsa Bloodstone is basically tracking a monster that's eating teenagers in a small town, and follows the culprit through a portal to Monster Metropolis, under New York City.  Here she is arrested for murder, as monsters are really quite civilized, it seems, and there is an organized police force called the Legion of Monsters in place to sustain order and justice.  But that misunderstanding is set aside soon enough as the monsters realize that someone is making monsters like the one that Elsa killed into your typical bloodlusting monsters.  A pact is then formed, and Elsa hunts alongside the Legion of Monsters to find the culprit.  The Legion of Monsters in Monster Metropolis is headed by Morbius, the vampire, with other officers including a werewolf, a mummy, and some sort of sea creature.  They're for the most part kind of a joke, but they somehow manage to get the job done.  I think I would have enjoyed this more had I not been recently so enamored by Jeff Lemire's Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E.  This book has the same flavor as Frankenstein, with a cool team up of monsters injected with a good amount of humor and oddness, and Frankenstein is just written sharper and better illustrated.  If not for that title, Hopeless and Doe's book would have probably seemed fresher to me and excited me more, but Lemire has no problem demonstrating his superior crafting skills, and Legion of Monsters just looks like a watered-down version in comparison.

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