It’s almost summer of 2015 which means Marvel comics will be dropping another event much to the delight of comics shops & corporate shareholders. But this time around feels a little different, this time we are getting something bigger, something different and something that feels like uncharted territory. Starting in May of 2015 and going throughout the summer and beyond, Marvel comics will possibly alter, stop publishing or shake up their entire universe in it’s Secret Wars initiative. Instead of Avengers comics there will be a series of titles upon titles that appear out of continuity. What is going on here? What does this all mean? Is there anything worth reading out of all this? Let’s try an extrapolate what we know below.
Artist Bert Christman co-created the comic book superhero “The Sandman” with writer Gardner Fox in 1939. The Sandman is Wesley Dodds, a wealthy costumed adventurer who uses a gas gun that, when fired, puts criminals to sleep or compels them to tell the truth. In his adventures, the Sandman is a brave hero, yet the character’s heroic exploits pale in comparison to the real-life deeds of his creator.
In Where Monsters Dwell, writer Garth Ennis returns to Marvel, the publisher of his last great series, Fury Max. Unfortunately, If the debut of Where Monsters Dwell is any indication, we won’t be seeing the same level of writing this time around. The comparison is unfair, Fury was a maxi-series used as a deep mediation on the United States military industrial complex while Monsters really isn’t meant to be anything else besides a fun romp but that is paramount to the books greatest weakness, in spite of the inherent joys of it’s premise and skills of it’s creators most of Monsters seems to fall flat. The jokes don’t hit and the characters just feel cliché. In his greatest moments, Ennis can have sidesplitting humor with deeply rich character work and insightful pathos on the human condition but more and more, it’s starting feel like by isolating the former, the writing can’t stand on itself. Artist and former The Boys collaborator gives a workmanlike effort here, it never goes above and beyond but it never hurts the story either. Much of where Monsters fails is in it’s mechanics, the core of it’s writing doesn’t resonate and that’s disappointing. So much of what’s been enjoyable about Secret Wars is how surprisingly great it’s been in spite of itself. Where Monsters Dwell should have been a layup, maybe Ennis can’t make those anymore.