Or – “C.S.I.: Monster Island.”
There’s a murderer at large in Monster Metropolis, and the sometime-heroes of the ragtag Legion of Monsters have to find him, her or IT before their world comes crashing down. And what’s with the monster-hunter in their midst?
Previously, in Legion of Monsters: There is a second city, hidden beneath the sewers of New York. A city populated by the monsters of the Marvel Universe and given that all those pre-Marvel monster magazines have now been declared canonical, including Taboo the living pile of fecal matter, that’s a lot of city. A group of these monsters (including Jack Russell, Werewolf; Michael Morbius, the Living Vampire; N’Kantu, the Living Mummy and the Manphibian) have joined forces with monster-hunter Elsa Bloodstone to track down a murderer in their midst, a murderer who threatens the lives of ALL monsters…
ALL THE CREATORS SOUND LIKE PSEUDONYMS…
When the Punisher got killed a couple years ago, his disassembled parts were reconstituted by Morbius and the Legion of Monsters, back together after a 35 year absence from the Marvel U. (They appeared once, back when Marvel still did black & white magazines.) Last issue brought Elsa Bloodstone to Monster Metropolis, and I’m happy to say that the writers have explicitly stated that, whether or not nextwave is actually in continuity, this character is meant to be the same one from that series. That’s a plus for me, because there’s a lot of familiarity in this issue. Morbius leading from behind the scenes reminds me of the Marvel Zombies 4 limited series (a book that also contained Jack Russell, not coincidentally), the character interactions are reminiscent of the early-2000’s ‘Nick Fury and his Howling Commandos’ series (a book that contained the Dimensional Man, a character who figures in both last issue and this one) and the basic premise is essentially a police procedural.
DAIMON’S GOT HIS RED CAPE BACK!
That’s not to say that this issue isn’t fun, with a guest-star turn from Daimon Hellstrom, wearing his old school Son of Satan costume, and Jack Russell’s flirtations with Elsa are quite good, although they feel a little bit out of left field. Juan Doe has been working mostly on Marvel covers over the last couple of years, but he’s an interesting artist, and his work on this issue is suitably weird enough for a book starring a vampire, a werewolf, a mummy, an amphibious thing and a red-haired British Sarah Michelle Gellar. There’s an elongation to his figures that reminds me both of Steve Ditko’s 50’s work and of Peter Chung’s Aeon Flux character designs, two things that SHOULDN’T fit together, but somehow successfully do. This issue is all about the plot thickening, and two of our Legionnaires seem to be quite dead at the end of the issue, but this book shares with that OTHER Legion title a tendency to bring people back from the dead. I had thought this book was solicited as written by Kieron Gillen, but Dennis Hopeless (I’m almost SURE that’s a pseudonym, by the say) does a fair job with the dialogue.
THE VERDICT: FRAMP
The biggest problems with the issue come with the plot, which is already meandering somewhat aimlessly, making me worry about how it will fill 5 issues, and the price point. It may be an arbitrary assessment in my head, but 20 pages of story for $3.99 would have to be REALLY special for me not to grouse a little, and this book’s overall entertainment value isn’t quite there. I would have gone 3 stars (possibly 3.5) if the total package wasn’t overpriced, and I say that as a long-term fan of Bloodstone, of Morbius, and as a proud owner of the original appearance of the LoM in magazine form. Legion of Monsters #2 takes a scenic route through a less-traveled bit of the Marvel Universe, earning a well-crafted 2.5 out of 5 stars overall. If Daimon and Johnny Blaze join up for a monthly ongoing, though, I’m in.
Faithful Spoilerite Question Of The Day: What criteria to the Big Two use to decide which titles are 3 bucks and which titles are 4? (I say dartboard…)