In Review: Escape From Monster Island #5

The penultimate issue has all the action you want before the concluding chapter.

The covers: A foursome to find, showing very different scenes on each. Sami Kivela and Ivan Nunes have the Elf Queen leaping in the air with her sword to bring down upon Kelsey, who’s busy trying to take out some of the monsters that have surrounded her. I like the two characters in the foreground on this A cover, but I wish the monsters surrounding them had been shown, rather than silhouettes. The coloring is really good, with incredible work on the costumes and the characters’ skin tones. The B is quite a moment, if not the calm before the storm. Kelsey and Xorn are back to back in the jungle, their weapons drawn, waiting for something they’ve heard to attack them. Alfredo Reyes and Mohan Sivakami did a great job on this. The C cover is the one to track down and the image I used to accompany this review. It’s a stunning piece by Cris Delara showing an absolutely gorgeous Elf Queen. This is a “Wow!” cover. The final cover, the D, is by Caio Cacau showing some of the mercenaries encountering a giant minotaur rushing after them on one of the abandoned streets. Great action poses on all the characters and excellent coloring. There’s a lot to like here. Overall grades: A B+, B A-, C A, and D A

The story: Charles has revealed he’s working for the Elf Queen. How so? He’s had Kelsey imprisoned. He wants her to kill Xorn with the remote to the bomb that’s been implanted within the ally. She refuses. Gerald is then brought forward and shoved into the cell next to her; the Queen has had experiments conducted on him. When Charles and the guard leave, she and Gerald talk. He reaches through the bars so that he may take her hands. He says, “Did you know you had a reputation among the creatures of this island? That you were different. That you cared. Even the monsters that never met you heard about your bond with the cyclops. That gives you power here. Like Xorn has power here, you could use that to save the island.” Their hands begin to glow. “Unfortunately I can’t allow that to happen.” Gerald is actually the Elf Queen, who’s now changed her appearance to resemble Kelsey. She plans to get the Cyclops’s cooperation to further her plans to leave the island and take revenge on the human race for using her people as test subjects. The story, written by Joe Tyler, but created and crafted by Ralph Tedesco and Joe Brusha, then moves to Xorn and the mercenaries trying to make a decision on what to do next. They come to a consensus and the scene returns to Kelsey who’s in a very bad situation. The countdown to the destruction of the island is brought up again, and formalized, and then it’s back to the rescue mission. There are a lot of monsters, there’s a lot of action, and it’s a lot of fun. There’s also a major death, which is a surprise, and the book ends with a terrific cliffhanger. All that’s missing is the kitchen sink. Overall grade: A

The art: Carlos Granda gets much to draw in this issue and he succeeds on every page and in every panel. The characters look good. He’s able to get a lot of emotion out of his characters, with Charles looking appropriately cheesed with Kelsey, Kelsey looks distraught, evil (when the Elf Queen morphs into her), and lost (when tortured), the Elf Queen looks magnificently evil, and Xorn gets some good moments, even though he’s got a mouth of teeth. The action scenes are outstanding. When Xorn and the mercs go into action on Page 14 it looks terrific. There’s a terrific scene that’s a full paged splash where the protagonists look up a stairwell and see all the creatures they have to battle looking down on them. The highlight of the book are Pages 18 and 19. These comprise 15 panels and the panels are supposed to be read down, rather than left to right, and this would normally be a mess for a reader to follow, but Granda has set them up in the easiest possible way to read: the first four read vertically are typical panels, while the next row are all askew. This separates them from the panels on the far left and mentally allow the reader to realize that he or she is looking at action in a different location. The same can be said of the 19, though the first row are larger panels, with the final four focused on someone else. A simple way to have a reader follow the story easily. Much of this book is set within buildings, and Granda makes them great: the hallways of the general and Xorn and mercs’ journey are terrific. This book looks great. Overall grade: A

The colors: The work by Jorge Cortes really brings this book to life. The first page is set within the testing center; it’s a silver and grey environment. Note how Cortes makes the fourth panel have an incredibly bright orange-red background to highlight an important device in the story. The bottom two panels on Page 3 look like a scene from a film due to the terrific colors. I’m always in love with the way Cortes colors the forest settings and he gets two pages to show off his skills in this locale. And another standout are the golden colors of the Elf Queen’s armor. Cortes brings the goods to this book. Overall grade: A

The letters: Dialogue, Xorn speak, screams, Elf dialogue, sounds, and the tease for next issue are provided by Fabio Amelia. I’m also loving how two races have their own unique fonts when they speak. The sounds are also really good, which are showcased when Xorn and the mercenaries go into action. Overall grade: A

The final line: The penultimate issue has all the action you want before the concluding chapter. This is a fun read with some good surprises. Overall grade: A

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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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