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'Monsters Unleashed Vol. 2: Learning Curve' review: Further develops this original cast of characters

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‘Monsters Unleashed Vol. 2: Learning Curve’ review: Further develops this original cast of characters

A good volume of a series for younger readers.

Monsters Unleashed spun out of the event by the same name and ended up being a great all-ages story that would make a fantastic cartoon. It comes to an end with volume 2 of the trade paperback, but in its last thrust of the story it aims to develop the monsters just a bit more. This final volume takes the character and his monster friends bit further in development, adding to the potential of their return in future stories.

So what’s it about?

The official summary reads:

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Kei Kawade thinks he knows what his powers can do, but he has no idea! The next chapter in Kid Kaiju’s story begins as he explores the depths of his own abilities! In a secluded realm hidden in Antarctica, a dangerous world that time has forgotten continues to thrive – one where beastly giants still roam the Earth and where the lines of man and monster blur. But when the threats of the Savage Land threaten the safety of the entire planet, can Kei and his monster army – Aegis, Slizzik, Scragg, Hi-Vo and Mekara -protect its borders? Or will he need reinforcements? And when he accidentally summons a Poison Fin Fang Foom from the fearsome Venomverse, what will that mean for his world? And as if all that wasn’t enough…here comes a swarm of giant bees!

Why does this matter?

Cullen Bunn’s creation is quite unique and perfect for younger audiences. The main character’s ability to draw monsters is a power I’m sure many kids have wished they had while they doodled. Bunn has taken this concept over the line and made it into a believable superhero.

Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?

'Monsters Unleashed Vol. 2: Learning Curve' review: Further develops this original cast of characters

Existential robot monster crisis.

The first three issues in this book throw Kid Kaiju into a precarious emotional state as he is sleep drawing monsters. This is highly dangerous seeing as not every monster is a good guy. Something is forcing him to draw when he’s asleep and also when he’s awake daydreaming, which ties into Bunn’s Poison series in an interesting way. It also brings Fin Fang Foom into the mix who is one of the most famous monsters in the Marvel universe. Andrea Broccardo draws some great fight scenes here showcasing the size and scope of the monster as well as the bravado of Fin Fang Foom.

This opening story also introduces the idea that Kid Kaiju’s monsters have personalities and aren’t weapons or tools as he sees fit. Bunn does a good job with these scenes involving the monsters talking amongst themselves as well as reflecting on their lives prior to be called by Kid Kaiju. It adds complexity to the monsters and a chance for more stories if they ever do find their way back to their worlds.

The last four chapters in this book are written by Justin Jordan and follow up on fleshing out each of the monsters personalities. Kid Kaiju actively attempts to connect to each monster by going on solo adventures with each of them. As the story progresses so do the characters, like two of the monsters finally being capable of speaking to Kid Kaiju thanks to Moon Girl, Bloodstone admitting her support is no longer needed, and a new monster added to the mix. The series may be over, but you’ll be left wanting more out of this interesting group of characters.

'Monsters Unleashed Vol. 2: Learning Curve' review: Further develops this original cast of characters

Now that they can talk how do you make them shut up?

It can’t be perfect can it?

The all-ages feel of the book can sometimes get annoying in its simplicity and overly obvious plot devices. Characters sometimes say what they’re so obviously feeling, or reiterate the whole point of bonding which broadcasts the purpose of the story in an obnoxiously obvious way. The way the parents are written is rather weak as they enter the story seemingly to remind us Kid Kaiju is a kid, but then conveniently disappear so he can go on his adventures. Do these parents do anything besides ground Kid Kaiju?

The crossing over of the Poisons into this story doesn’t quite work particularly because it’s dropped when Justin Jordan takes over. One can imagine Bunn was selling the idea of Poisons to the readers here so they’d pick up the Venomverse and Venomized series. It’s additionally forced because the Poison Fin Fang Foom who crosses over to Earth doesn’t look like a Poison-ized version of the dragon.

Is it good?

I liked portions of this second volume, but it’s not quite as focused with two story arcs split in the book. It also has an annoying way of telegraphing the point of a scene via dialogue rather than showing it in an organic way. This is a great book for younger readers, but adults might grow tired of the younger audience narrative. That said, this series makes a strong case for this team of characters to live on for years to come in the Marvel universe.

'Monsters Unleashed Vol. 2: Learning Curve' review: Further develops this original cast of characters
Monsters Unleashed Vol. 2: Learning Curve
Is it good?
A good trade paperback, but it's definitely meant for younger readers. That said, there's strong character work done to further prove this team of monsters shouldn't go anywhere any time soon.
Begins to develop the monster characters
Well drawn throughout especially the Fin Fang Foom fight sequence
Progresses the characters and their dynamics that'll make you want more from these characters
Some of the writing is way too obvious and probably meant for younger readers
The Poison's showing up is somewhat awkward since it's not picked up again in the second half of hte book

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