After a so-so third issue that had the difficult job of moving the plot along while keeping up the excitement, Monsters Unleashed gets back to doing what it does best this week: lots of all-out heroes vs. monsters action. As with the rest of Marvel’s latest company-wide crossover, if you like comics that are full of plot and character development, this one probably isn’t for you. But if you love nothing more than reading about colourful-costumed vigilantes punching kaiju creatures in the face, then you’ll be in heaven.
The battle on the streets of New York (and across the globe) is bigger than ever this issue, now that the Leviathan Queen is readying her final assault. Thankfully, Earth’s Mightiest Heroes have back-up, in the form of traditional Marvel monsters who aren’t happy about the Leviathans stealing their thunder. Plus, there’s Kei Kawade – an Inhuman boy who could be the reincarnation of the ancient warrior who defeated the Leviathans centuries ago.
The previous issue suffered from the slowing things down, but writer Cullen Bunn finds his footing again here, as he has a firm grip on the pacing. Monsters Unleashed #4 is a tightly-structured thrill-ride of a comic. The action shifts between the various battlefronts in NYC – with occasional trips elsewhere – but it doesn’t feel overstuffed, just epic and exciting. It helps that Bunn squeezes in just enough downtime amongst the fights, which allows us to catch our breath, as the Inhumans and Elsa Bloodstone plot from within Parker Industries.
It’s impressive that a small bunch of heroes also get the chance to shine despite all that’s going on. First of all, it’s nice to see Spider-Man (both Spider-Men, actually) and Deadpool returning to this main book after they were sidelined a couple of issues ago – the Merc even nabs the last word. Their constant quippery in the face of ridiculous odds is always a highlight. Furthermore, another nice addition was Luke Cage and Iron Fist teaming up to protect Hell’s Kitchen, as their very different reactions to the monsterpocalypse provide a lot of laughs. Luke is all “Sweet Christmas!” while Danny Rand takes it in his stride: “Meh, I punched a dragon once.”
Issue #4 also sees a new artist join the comic in the form of Salvador Larroca. Immediately, Larroca’s style is a better fit for the comic than Leinel Francis Yu’s pencils from last issue (though Yu offered some fine work). The action-packed double-paged splash panels that are the bread and butter of this book are all present and correct and Larroca excels at selling the magnitude of threat that our heroes face, as well as giving the prominent monsters their own visual personality. Larroca really gets to let loose in the issue’s final page, as the biggest, baddest monster of them all arrives on Earth…
Monsters Unleashed really found its feet again this week, which bodes well for the final fifth issue coming soon. With a solid balance of action, humour and spectacle, Bunn, Larocca and their team deliver a strong penultimate issue to this ultra-silly but still very enjoyable crossover. If this level of quality can be kept up for part five, it should be a terrific final chapter.
Monsters Unleashed really finds its feet again in this issue with a solid balance of action, humour and spectacle that promises an exciting final chapter.