Can the world be saved … when allies only wish to kill each other?
Writer: Joe Brusha
Artwork: Marcelo Mueller
Colors: Maxflan Araujo
Letters: Taylor Esposito
What They Say:
Having formed an uneasy alliance with the vampire lord, Xavier Drake, and the monsters that follow him, Blair Spencer and her human team prepares to escort them to their base where they can use Drake’s blood to create a cure for the virus. But an unexpected attack by Blood Hunters destroys their transport leaving them stranded in Chicago and hundreds of miles from their destination. With the clock ticking Blair and Xavier must figure out a way to bring their teams together in order to survive both the blood thirsty creatures created by the virus, and a new enemy that may be even more deadly.
Content (please note that portions of review may contain spoilers):
Sergeant Spencer had a bad feeling this mission would be an impossible endeavor, but now that she and her men face off against their supposed allies, this chance of success appears to be dwindling ever closer to zero. The monsters wasted no opportunity to protect their home and now that lowly humans had dared to invade, they have no excuse not to unleash the fury pent up for discrimination against their kind. After all what can these weaklings do against those who are superior, and it did not take much time to pacify their guests so that they were once again in control, with Blaire continuing her plea they were there in peace. Even with a promise they came with a cure for the plague, there were little time for discussions as the ferocious werewolf named Karl began sniffing the air, causing vampire Eva to ask what was wrong. However it did not take long for the reason to make its presence known, as sinister pairs of eyes began glowing in the darkness, they having been lured to this place by the humans. The incessant hisses made it seem all had descended into a pit of vipers, but the result was much worse as a horde of lizardmen rushed forward and attacked with no difference made to human or fellow monster.
Blaire fired frenziedly as reptilian movement was hard to track, and it did not take long until the humans were overwhelmed, with their leader witnessing first hand the viscous venom that dripped from their fangs, source of the virus. And with this encounter she soon found herself on the loosing end of close combat, until the soldier was quickly rescued by a hail of bullets from a goblin who called himself Grub, questioning if he might later regret this decision. But as the sergeant watched one of her own men die by the invaders’ claws, so too did their respective allies come under attack until Drake called for a retreat. However this cessation of hostilities did not stop the swarm, as the lycanthrope became the center of attention, with numerous saurian attackers ripping into his fur covered flesh causing blood to be drawn and allowing transmission of the pathogen. Even monsters are not immune to the plague and Eva knew this, causing her rage to erupt and allowing twin blades to make quick work of the remaining hostiles and finally bringing quiet to the room. As they quickly cleaned up and the troll Glog barricaded the door, it did not take long before the monsters ceased the chance to rid themselves of the ones who caused this pain, only to have Spencer remind them if they die, so does any chance for saving Karl.
Writer Joe Brusha wastes little time in hurling the reader into the midst of this feral confrontation, with little regard for us understanding the basis of the story but instead sparking interest with excitement in hope to forget a familiar foundation: enemies coming together for a common goal. And while this twist of incorporating monsters as the opposing cooperative force for a classic literary trope is interesting, it still makes us wonder where the virus came from since this key point seems to be ignored for the time being and instead leap to conveniently needing vampire blood as a catalyst to the cure. Although this selective omission allows for a cooperative alliance to drive the story forward, one cannot wonder how much hatred will also play a role in holding back conducive opportunities which will allow success to come sooner rather than later. However it is this growing friction that creates an intriguing concept behind the narrative, each minute they spend together past crimes against monsters sow distrust and they blossom into toxic growths, which threaten to rip the group apart. It will be interesting to see how Blaire and Drake can manage their respective forces to look past grievances for a brighter future, and yet with malice buried so deeply into their races’ history one cannot but wonder if forgiveness will ever be possible. It is this tenuous relationship which will be the basis for the story, and while needing to survive until they reach their goal may be the main purpose, one cannot but question how many will fall at the hands of their own immediate comrades or which side will betray the other first.
Even within such a tension filled environment, one cannot deny it is the kinetic and frightfully detailed illustrations of Marcelo Mueller, which makes this title such a pleasure to visually, absorb, and made all the more memorable thanks to Maxflan Araujo’s selective manipulation of light and shadow amplifying every nuance and making them all the more explosive even amidst such horrific images. Every panel smoothly transitions the story, allowing for this graphic telling to communicate the story magnificently if it were lacking words and propels the reader forward into a tumult of chaos which they attempt to suppress in vain within a two dimensional medium. And while the audience is acquainted with the underlying hostility, it is the phenomenal double page layout displaying the actors in a menacing portrayal according to their strength with the monsters attempting to restrain themselves versus humans who barely able to contain their fear and disgust which underlies this series and its foundation of mistrust. You can almost hear knuckles cracking, teeth gnashing and nervous coughs as sheer power faces off against the weakness of humanity, and yet it is this singular display which shows us how much a single picture can define the hatred contained within the series. This carefully crafted panorama of two forces facing off on the battle field is monumental, allowing for both sides to show off before the first of many battle is to commence and permits us to take count before the bodies begin to pile up. You cannot but think the bright close-up Blaire is dwarfed and almost seems to as if she is pleading before these nightmarish beings before the dam of restraint breaks lose. It is this gritty display of spontaneity and a wondrous palette of darkness speckled by light, which reflects the tenuous situation contained within … and all of the potency that we expect in the near future.
Monster Planet may attempt to retell a classic tale of foes allying to fight a greater evil, and yet this definition becomes transient once you consider the hatred pent up within monsters over the centuries. One cannot blame them for the mistrust of this cooperative mission, but thanks to a mutual cause the foundation is set, but one wonders how long it will survive. But thanks to a spectacular display of unvarnished illustrations and inspiring colors, this series will be something to look forward to due to the emotion tension which they prompt from each memorable page.
Age Rating: T (for Teens)
Released By: Zenescope
Release Date: November 27, 2019