In Review: Escape From Monster Island #3

More survivors, more troubles. The escape has gone into overdrive. Recommended.

The covers: A foursome to place into a collector’s pen. Paolo Pantalena and Arif Prianto have a nice action shot of, whom I’m assuming to be, Kelsey Bennett and Xorn beginning their attack on the ruler of Monster Island, the Elf Queen. Lots of detail in this image from Pantalena, with the rocky setting being very impressive. The colors by Prianto are also solid, with those rocks and the elf sensational. The B by Anthony Spay and Jorge Cortes is humorous, if you’re not human: a gigantic cyclops is making dinner, roasting a living human, on a spit. The art and colors are good, with some really nice lighting effects done from the flames. The cover used to accompany this review is the C cover by Pasquale Qualano and Mohan Sivakami. This shows Bennett captured by monster, possible a Gorgon, given the shadow on the wall, and she’s held by manacles. The look of simmering fury on her face is excellent, as the creature cups her face in its hand. This tells a story without words being necessary. The final cover, the D, is by Alfredo Reyes and Stephen Schaffer. This has what appears to be a sasquatch lifting a car above its head, ready to hurl it at the humans that have angered it. A good image, but the design of the beast is too similar to one that appears in television commercials hocking beef jerky. All I can hear in my head when I look at this is “Messing with Sasquatch…” Overall grades: A A, B B+, C A, and D B

The story: Glowing green eyes emerging from a bunker put our heroes on alert last issue and they reveal themselves to be humans wearing goggles to see in the dark. The first person out of the hole is a labcoat wearing, bushy haired scientist named Gerald, followed by a handsome brunette named Charles — this is the boyfriend of Kelsey Bennett whom she thought died ten years ago when she escaped the island. Reunited, the two kiss. The pair of men reveal that there are other humans who’ve survived on the island, and they take Kelsey and the mercenaries to them. But before they get there, writer Joe Tyler, working from a story from Ralph Tedesco and Joe Brusha, moves the story to the ruler of Monster Island, the Elf Queen. She rallies her men, stating that one of their own has been killed by the humans and if they survive they’ll be rounded up and experimented on once again. With them gone on their mission of vengeance, the queen reveals that she will make all humanity pay for what was done to her kind and all the others trapped on the island. With the villains’ motivations now established, the story returns to the humans and what they’re going to do. Tyler rightfully shows that Charles isn’t exactly the same person he was when Kelsey left the island, and this is bound to become an obstacle before this series ends. With the elves on the attack, the humans face their biggest threat yet, and this issue begins its run to its conclusion. Things will definitely heat up, but what this issue delivers is very enjoyable. Overall grade: A

The art: The visuals on this book remain excellent, with Carlos Granda making every element look good. The opening page shows his attention for details with the uniforms of all the mercenaries looking great, and each character is an individual and not a cookie cutter person. Gerald’s first appearance instantly pegs him as a scientist, given his white coat and Einsteinian hair. If the reader has forgotten who Charles was, and I was one of them, the full paged splash on Page 2 will create a recall as to his importance to Kelsey. The elves in this book look terrific, with them looking as elegant as one could wish, and equally horrible when worked into a frenzy, as their queen does on Page 4. The Queen is beautiful and the ornate armor and jewelry she wears makes her absolutely royal. The number of characters in this book have increased substantially, with many of them sharing the same panels. It’s impressive to see Granda keeping each fully rendered and unique, a talent to be welcomed by any comic book fan. He also is able to get a good amount of emotion out of each, as shown on Pages 6 – 13. The villains engage the humans starting on 13 and the creatures out for vengeance are a nice mix of different beasts. Again, Granda makes each highly detailed and unique. Another impressive element Granda brings to this book is the layout of the pages: boxes are the expected squares and rectangles, but when the action kicks in the layout becomes skewed parallelograms that heighten the excitement. I love all the creatures that populate this book, but Gerald stole every scene he was in because I’m a sucker for a wacky scientist. Overall grade: A 

The colors: Jorge Cortes’s coloring is extremely well done. Due to all the details that Granda is putting into his artwork, it falls upon Cortes to color it appropriately, and his work is every inch as outstanding as the art. Look at all the work that has to be done on the first page with the costumes and shiny accoutrements of the mercs, plus all the folds and wrinkles in Gerald’s clothes. Pages 2 shows this even more. The work done on the elves’ skin is just as impressive. Add to this all the backgrounds that Granda inserts in a panel, Cortes has got his work cut out for him and he rises to the occasion like the fearsome roc. Overall grade: A

The letters: Fabio Amelia’s lettering on this book is also top notch. He’s responsible for creating dialogue, Xorn’s unique dialogue, the elves unique speech, scene settings, and sounds. I enjoy seeing non-human characters having their own special font for when they speak, reminding the reader that the speakers are not the same species as the humnans. The sounds are also sweet, with one SNAP echoing through me long after I had finished reading. Overall grade: A

The final line: More survivors, more troubles. The escape has gone into overdrive. A highly enjoyable read that will bring out every reader’s inner ten-year-old. Recommended. 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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