Phantom Eagle

Where Monsters Dwell 5 (December 2015)

Where Monsters Dwell #5So 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.

CREDITS

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.

Where Monsters Dwell 4 (October 2015)

Where Monsters Dwell #4It’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.

CREDITS

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.

Where Monsters Dwell 3 (September 2015)

Where Monsters Dwell #3Garth Ennis is being a silly guy. There’s no other way to describe Where Monsters Dwell; it’s silly. It’s well-written and Braun’s art is great, but it’s silly. There’s not so much a story as a series of good jokes, ending in a funny hard cliffhanger. It’s not even a dangerous one because Ennis doesn’t care about his characters and he doesn’t ask the reader to care. He’s just having a good time telling this story.

Maybe if it weren’t a Marvel comic, maybe if Ennis were doing something serious (or even hinting at something serious), it wouldn’t be as amusing. But Ennis still takes the time to get in strong characterizations and the way he paces out the humor is excellent. It’s a beautifully executed, completely unambitious amusement.

I guess it’s something of a bridging issue, with the humor disguising the lack of plot momentum. Regardless, real fun.

CREDITS

Tipping the Velvet; writer, Garth Ennis; artist, Russ Braun; colorist, Dono Sanchez Almara; letterer, Rob Steen; editors, Jake Thomas and Nick Lowe; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Where Monsters Dwell 2 (August 2015)

Where Monsters Dwell #2Ennis is a funny guy. He’s so funny, in fact, I wonder if sometimes he isn’t funny just because he doesn’t want to get the reputation for being another funny comic book writer. Or maybe he just has actual ambitions outside writing a funny and exciting, if disposable, comic book.

Where Monsters Dwell continues the tale of the chauvinist pig male flier and the independent British lady in the Savage Land. The sad part is its a Secret Wars crossover, which means it probably can’t have a sequel continuing their misadventures together. Ennis gives them all the banter of a screwball romantic comedy–in fact, the comic sort of plays like one–but none of the romance. There’s no chemistry. And it’s hilarious.

As always, Braun is just as good at dinosaurs as mega-sharks and people. The whole thing is a slightly filling, elegantly designed, incredibly tasty little treat.

CREDITS

Meet the King; writer, Garth Ennis; artist, Russ Braun; colorist, Dono Sanchez Almara; letterer, Rob Steen; editors, Jake Thomas and Nick Lowe; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Where Monsters Dwell 1 (July 2015)

Where Monsters Dwell #1Thank goodness for Secret Wars, otherwise Garth Ennis and Russ Braun wouldn’t be doing a riff on pulp heroes. It’s got that Ennis attention to period detail, which Braun goes along with, but it’s far more irreverent than expected. Given Ennis’s concentration on historical war fiction, Where Monsters Dwell–set sometime post-WWI–works out beautifully. Ennis can put the serious attention into setting while still just having a good time.

And that good time is what puts Monsters immediately apart. The story seems to have the hero–The Phantom Eagle–ending up in the Savage Land because of the end of the world. Only the hero, nor anyone else Ennis introduces this issue, knows the world has ended. Instead, they’re just 1920s people ending up in the Savage Land.

And it works out. Braun doesn’t get a variety of dinosaurs to draw here, but his period work’s beautiful stuff.

CREDITS

Let’s Fly, Let’s Fly Away; writer, Garth Ennis; artist, Russ Braun; colorist, Dono Sanchez Almara; letterer, Rob Steen; editors, Jake Thomas and Nick Lowe; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Scroll to Top