In Review: Where Monsters Dwell #3

A completely deviant tale for fans of high adventure that is NOT for children. I loved this.

The cover: Karl doesn’t seem to be having any luck with the natives he and Clemmie encountered at the end of last issue. He’s tied to a post, with a woman shoving her knife threateningly in his face, as other — unseen — women have their spears pointed at him. Clemmie is being restrained by one of the women to keep from interfering, but the look on her voice shows her to be a bit bored with the proceedings. This cover is by Frank Cho and Jason Keith and it brings a reader exactly up to speed with what the characters’ situations are in just one image. Well done. It should also be noted, this is the first Marvel Comic I’ve ever encountered in my life with the following above the barcode: in bright red it says — “Parental Advisory! Not For Kids!” Usually books by the big two publishers will have in tiny print “Parental Advisory” on the cover, but this is bright red and impossible to miss, located just above the price. That proclamation has got me curious…Overall grade: A 

The story: The overly wasteful page of credits contains the following summation that is useful: “After avoiding rampaging dinosaurs and berserk monsters, Karl and Clemmie were captured by a tribe of beautiful women…and neither of them seems too upset.” Clemmie gives her the backstory for her formative years as she and Karl are marched to the women’s encampment. She reveals her sexual orientation, which has Karl saying, “So that’s why the old Kaufmann charm didn’t work on you, right?” “Yes,” she answers, “that’s the sole reason.” He responds with a grin, “Your loss, sister.” What an ass! They arrive at the fort-like structure where women are bathing, showering, and getting massaged in plain view. Clemmie believes that it looks liberating, while one-track mind Karl realizes he’s the only man and “I could be king…!” After receiving some food, Karl notices a F.E.Z. (a forerunner to his own plane) hanging from a tree in the center of camp. Karl wonders if there’s gas in tanks, but why on earth would he ever want to leave this slice of heaven? Garth Ennis gives Karl plenty of reasons to leave, some are funny and some are cringe worthy. The first sign of danger for Karl should be Clemmie’s admission that the women think he’s her slave, as most men who arrive don’t do well — they’re either kept for their seed or put down. Page 7 shows the condition that Karl has been reduced to and 8 shows how Clemmie is handling things. Pages 12 – 15 introduce new characters that set Karl on a path that ends unexpectedly. I’d like to call the ending of this issue a cliffhanger, but I don’t think Karl would appreciate the pun. Now I understand why parents were warned on the cover — This is definitely not children, but is wonderfully deviant for fans of high adventure. Overall grade: A+ 

The art: There are no dinosaurs in this issue, which was one of the reasons I initially began this series, but as the story has taken a sudden turn to the left, I’m really enjoying this character oriented issue drawn by Russ Braun. The reactions characters give to others or as they’re saying dialogue are really funny. On the first page Karl’s personality is made plain by his dialogue and his full-of-himself smile. In two panels, readers know that he’s piece of work. The double-paged spread of 2 and 3 shows an expected “primitive” fort, but it’s populated by blonde half-dressed women engaged in practically every form of relaxation. The stunned look on both the leads’ faces is terrific, with Karl’s “King” panel being the modern equivalent of Daffy Duck in paradise. Page 7 has Karl wearing a new accessory that begins to change readers’ opinions of him. His last panel on that page is great, as he sees something that readers cannot. Pages 10 and 11 feature the natives’ previous encounters with men, and the panels on these pages look great. I’d be more than willing to see one of these tales told for an entire issue just to see how Braun can expand on them. The final page has the most perfectly placed piece of setting every seen in a book. This is great work. Overall grade: A

The colors: Blonde haired white women wearing jungle bikinis in their wooden fort are the new features for this issue, and they don’t exactly lend themselves to wide array of coloring choices for Dono Sanchez Almara. The march into the compound provides opportunities for a variety of greens as they leave the jungle, but pale colors soon dominate. Thankfully, the blue sky creates a good backdrop to make things pop with the coloring, and there are some interior scenes, scenes at night, and the flashbacks to give Almara more to do, and he does so well. The brown ground of the compound also allows the characters to jump out at the reader, though I’m glad nothing jumped out on the final page. Overall grade: A

The letters: Dialogue, story title, flashback narration, and yells are Rob Steen’s contributions to this book. There’s no need for sound effects in this issue, though that may change in the first panel of next issue. What Steen does is good, but I’m hoping he’s allowed to stretch a little more next issue. Overall grade: A

The final line: A completely deviant tale for fans of high adventure that is NOT for children. I loved this. Overall grade: A

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer’s Guide for several years with “It’s Bound to Happen!” and he’s reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He’s taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.

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