The first issue of Monster of the Week (now funding on Kickstarter) is here and certain to brighten your mood with a fun spin on the kaiju subgenre. The comic movies fast and places us right into the world of monsters but subverts expectations with its colourful vibrancy, cartoonish art, and playful tone.
Like any season where weather changes and rain or snow falls, monsters are a season and they too fall from the sky. We are introduced to a group of 5th graders who refer to the monsters with football terminology. They talk of this “season” and touch downs like it’s a fantasy league which tells the reader immediately was sort of comic they are in for. The leader of this pack, a chubby red-haired boy, is determined to get up close to the action even though his age hinders that. It’s as if confronting kaiju is a rite of passage that everyone is anxious to complete.
As we see the monsters, they are giant, big eyed creatures who look like they’d fit right in on Adventure Time. They eat trees and sit calmly while missiles fly towards them. Everyone, whether it’s scientists, military, or school kids, wants to join the attack. We see the red-haired kid with his own arsenal in his room and a giant map of where he intends to fight. The kids’ motivation fits into this type of comic, but on a greater level it feels reflective of how desensitised our culture is to everything, specifically millennials. Monsters are not something to fear but rather an excuse to grow up faster and start doing more “adult” things.
This issue is fun and moves briskly but leaves a bit to be desired. There are many questions regarding these creatures and the nature of their threat. The comic moves by almost too quickly to the point where it ends more on an abrupt note than anything. It certainly reads like a web comic in that the panels are simple and the writing is clever and direct. We don’t get much characterisation which hopefully we’ll see in future issues because there’s a lot of potential with kids in science fiction stories (looking at you, Stranger Things). Our protagonist clearly possesses charisma that the others don’t and seeing them all face to face with the kaiju will lead to some unexpected interactions. It’ll also be interesting to see how these kaiju interact with each other.
Are they going to square off in a Godzilla vs. Mothra style or are they going to be more peaceful and friendly towards one another. There are many avenues to explore and the foundation set with this first issue is strong. As a singular issue it may have left a bit more to be desired, but it has me intrigued to see where this comic goes. It’s a refreshing take on the kaiju which have become more relevant thanks to things like Pacific Rim. Even if you’re not a big monster fan, this comic is funny and full of wit that can appeal to anyone.
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