Where Monsters Dwell 5 (December 2015)

Where Monsters Dwell #5

So light. It’s so light. And it’s a sequel to War Is Hell, which I’ve read at least twice and I can’t remember any of it. Not even when there’s a flashback–got to love the Marvel Ennis-verse.

But, even though it’s light, it’s really funny. Ennis is able to run with a joke until it’s funny. He doesn’t wear the reader down by relentlessly hammering it in, he just molds the joke until it’s ready. There’s a maturity to the humor. Even if the joke isn’t particularly high brow.

This issue wraps up the Phantom Eagle’s adventures in the Savage Land. Does it have anything to do with Secret Wars? No. In fact, it’s just Phantom Eagle in the Savage Land. And the Savage Land part isn’t even particularly important. Ennis and Braun show they can get an issue out of almost any material and they do. It’s good material, sure, but it’s not the most compelling. Most of it is a narrated flashback.

Where Monsters Dwell probably reads better in a sitting, just for how Ennis paces out the jokes. But well done, disposable, excellent amusement.


What Comes of Empire-Building; writer, Garth Ennis; artist, Russ Braun; colorist, Dono Sanchez Almara; letterer, Rob Steen; editors, Jake Thomas and Nick Lowe; publisher, Marvel Comics.

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl 1 (December 2015)

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #1

I didn’t finish the last Squirrel Girl series, which is getting a very soft reboot here. I think there was a Secret Wars crossover. I’m not sure why I didn’t finish it. No good reason.

Doreen, Tippy and the whole gang are back. Including a couple new people who must’ve come into the comic after I stopped reading it.

The first third of the comic is setting up the new ground situation. Doreen is a sophomore, she’s living with Nancy in an apartment. She has a crimefighting partner who controls chipmunks or something. It’s cute. Ryan North writes some gently funny, amiable dialogue for the characters and it’s fine. Erica Henderson’s art’s good.

But it feels very perfunctory. Until the third act, after Doreen’s mom shows up and there’s a superhero fight scene. Not between Doreen and her mom, but between Squirrel Girl and a Hellboy villain. The fight scene isn’t even the good part. It’s after the fight scene, when North shows why Squirrel Girl is a different kind of book.

North and Henderson are fully aware of where they can go for the joke, but they don’t want to go for the low-hanging gags. They work until they get somewhere with the comic. There’s an infectious, precious sincerity to Squirrel Girl.


Writer, Ryan North; artist, Erica Henderson; colorist, Rico Renzi; letterer, Clayton Cowles; editors, Chris Robinson and Wil Moss; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Where Monsters Dwell 4 (October 2015)

Where Monsters Dwell #4

It’s not deep, it’s not in good taste, it has nothing to do with Marvel Comics, it has nothing to do with Secret Wars, but it’s funny. Where Monsters Dwell is funny. Ennis has a good time–not a great time, because he’s clearly just spinning his wheels to make some smoke and not actually trying anything–and Braun’s art is excellent. Amazons, pygmies, giant sharks, dinosaurs–is Disney aware of this title?

Maybe the only reason Marvel brought Ennis on for Secret Wars was to show they still had some autonomy.

But Monsters Dwell is, four issues in, something of a strange book. The protagonist is a complete jackass, which is Ennis’s point of the character. Only, he’s the protagonist. The comic follows him around, being a jackass. Ennis doesn’t spend any real time with the female lead. She’s joined the Amazons and is off panel most issue.

Seeing how Ennis handles the battle–there’s a battle–one does wish he’d have taken it a little more seriously. I’m sure he would’ve had some great details for the prehistoric warfare.

Instead, it’s just fun.


See, the Conqu’ring Hero Comes; writer, Garth Ennis; artist, Russ Braun; colorist, Dono Sanchez Almara; letterer, Rob Steen; editors, Jake Thomas and Nick Lowe; publisher, Marvel Comics.

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