The previous two issues of Marvel’s latest company-wide crossover were all about the action, as the combined heroes of the Marvel universe fought off a never-ending tirade of giant extraterrestrial monsters. While there’s still a lot of biff-bang-pow for your buck this issue, Monsters Unleashed #3 also takes time to work through some plot points. Unfortunately, it also loses a bit of its momentum in the process.
The first half of the issue deals with the fun twist on the cliffhanger from last time. The second wave of monsters that have arrived on Earth are actually a bunch of classic Marvel creatures – including Fing Fang Foom and Tim Boo Ba (Google it, newbies) – who have come to protect the planet from these imposters to their throne. So, with the monster threat being dealt with by some unlikely allies, Earth’s Mightiest Heroes meet with monster hunter Elsa Bloodstone to discover the truth about this monsterpocalypse. We won’t go into spoilers here, but suffice it to say the resolution ties into a property Marvel have been obsessed about putting centre stage for a while now.
If you enjoyed the previous issues of Monsters Unleashed, you will no doubt enjoy this latest installment as well. It still has the crossover and monster invasion aspects in check and it moves the story along to boot. However, while an explanation about the invasion is welcome, the sudden info-dump of the second half of the issue does suck some of the excitement out of the comic. Ironically, issues one and two could have done with a little more plot while this time around we would have preferred some more of the all-out action that’s the MO of this crossover event.
Writer Cullen Bunn does deserve some credit for weaving the divergent subplots of the series so far together, though. For instance, Moon Girl, Devil Dinosaur and Kei Kawade are united with the heroes this issue. He also inserts some humour into the dialogue – mostly thanks to the previous issues’ MVPs Spidey, Rocket Raccoon and Groot. However, the comic mostly becomes a carousel of exposition; important information is randomly distributed among the characters, just to give them something to do. Still, at least the threat looks to be ramped up again next issue, as the cliffhanger teases the arrival of an evil queen and yet another wave of monsters attacking the earth.
Issue three also sees a shift in the artwork. Leinel Francis Yu has taken over penciller duties from #1 and #2’s Greg Land while Gerry Alanguilan and Michael Jason Paz are now on inks instead of Jay Leisten. Together, their thicker-lined, more painted approach shines in the splash panels of the monsters fighting monsters. In particular, the double page spreads at the beginning and end of the book. However, it lacks the finer details of Land’s work on the renderings of the heroes themselves. For example, the expressions of the human characters often feel quite static.
All in all, Monsters Unleashed, in terms of the core series and its associated tie-in books, has been a mixed bag of a crossover event so far. Likewise, Monsters Unleashed #3 has some good action, small moments of enjoyable humour and moves the story along. That said, it’s still a step-down from the previous two installments.
The latest issue of Marvel's current crossover event moves the story along and provided some much-needed answers. However, it loses its momentum in the process.