I got the 3rd season of 30 Rock tonight and I’m strongly tempted to watch all 22 episodes, and wake up late tomorrow for work. However, I have a copy of Red 5’s great series We Kill Monsters and I’m choosing to read and review that instead. That should tell you how good it is.
Simple, well-written tales are a rarity in these days of multi-character epics that require many months (and dollars) of commitment. That’s where Red 5 come along. Series like their Atomic Robo and Neozoic are brilliant, because they’re entertaining and accessible.
WKM’s writing partners Christopher Leone and Laura Harkcom have taken a simple premise (two brothers fight aliens in their hometown) and put enough familial drama, action and alien mystery to create an intriguing narrative. Penciller Brian Churilla has really been getting a lot of attention lately, thanks to BOOM!’s new The Anchor series (also good) and he does magic with the few lines he uses here.
This penultimate issue starts with the continuation of last month’s discovery of the creatures’ origins. This leads to Vanessa, long-time friend of the heroic Basher brothers of the title, to question not only herself but someone very close to her, and that kind of doubt is never a good thing when you’re armed with a loaded rifle. Jake and Drew Basher then head off to the source of the monsters – a cereal factory that’s manufacturing living mascots. Yep, it’s one of those ideas that could almost be a “shark jumping” moment, but throughout this series Leone and Harkcom have proved adept at balancing humour with danger. And there are a few genuine laughs in this issue, aided greatly by Churilla’s perfect timing and expressive emotions, but there are also thrills and spills. It’s never an easy thing to make readers genuinely concerned about the welfare of a bunch of new characters, in a new series (and from new comic writers no less) but I’m certainly not the only one who’s noticed the fine work in this humble title.
I hope Leone and Harkcom continue to write sequential art once this series wraps. We Kill Monsters is the kind of series that I’d happily read again in Trade form, and is a great entry level tale for anyone new to the medium, or for veteran fanboys who want a refreshing reminder that simplicity doesn’t have to mean lack of creativity.