We Kill Monsters #1

By | Sunday, May 17, 2009 Leave a Comment
Red 5 is coming out with a new book in July called We Kill Monsters. I suspect in reaction to Diamond's new policies, though, they've started sending out review copies already to generate early buzz/interest in the book, and raise the initial order numbers. I don't know what Red 5's early sales projections might look like, but the earlier promotions and reviews certainly won't hurt.

The first thing I liked about We Kill Monsters is the title. It's obviously simple and straight-forward, and let's the reader know exactly what to expect before they even open the book. There's nothing wrong with titling a book after the main character (like Atomic Robo) or using something a little more esoteric (like Neozoic) but I can appreciate a frankly explanatory title.

"What are you reading?"

"We Kill Monsters."

"What's it about?"

"These guys who... um... kill monsters."

The story opens with brothers Jake and Drew working at their garage. They reminisce about their dad, and head down to the local bar where Drew learns why the bartender Vanessa dumped him. We learn a lot about these three characters in the early portion of the story. But, in a slightly drunken walk home, Drew encounters a three-eyed, hulking, blue monster out of nowhere, and the action sets in with car-chase-bashed-skull-nearly-eaten-arms-flying-over-the-edge-of-cliff action. Oh, yeah, and Jake's arm turns into a monster's.

I like that there's some solid characterization here in the early part of the book. We really only see three people, but all of them are clearly defined and are given ambitions and foibles and all the other stuff that makes us human. Although some may consider it slow-starting, I think it's a necessary counterpoint to all the action once the monsters start showing up.

Brian Churilla turns in some solid storytelling work here. There was never any confusion about what was happening or to whom, which can be difficult in extended action sequences. That's a talent that I think goes over-looked too often. His illustration style seems to work well, too. The monsters are very threatening-looking, but deceptively simply drawn. Not an easy feat, I'm sure.

Writers Christopher Leone and Laura Harkcom are newcomers to comicdom, both having recently come from Sci Fi's mini-series, "The Lost Room." They clearly know about plot and characterization, but what impressed me most was the smoothness and pacing they were able to work into the comic. Many new comic writers spend a lot of time working on that -- especially those coming from other media. They just haven't figured out how best to hit story beats yet. But Leone and Harkcom seemed to hit everywhere they needed to hit, right out of the gate. (Or, "right out of the lion's gate" if you prefer really bad puns.)

I've been impressed with Red 5's titles so far, and We Kill Monsters is no exception. All of Red 5's books are just really well done, I think, and they're a great example of a comic book publisher doing things right. You bring in good talent, and let them be talented. Great works are generally the result.

We Kill Monsters #1 can be ordered through your LCS now, and is scheduled to ship July 8.
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