Friday 5 October 2012

Monsters Unleashed #11.

Monsters Unleashed #11, Gabriel the exorcist confronts the waking dead in a graveyard, Frank Brunner cover
As we all know, only a complete and total imbecile would try to review a comic they haven't read for decades.

Fortunately, I'm the man who put the, "Me," into, "Meat-head," and, so, such petty trifles as common sense and wisdom shall never stand in my way.

Like Neptune in Jason and the Argonauts, I shall push those twin pillars of reason aside to let my boat of ignorance bob its way between their clashing rocks. Reader, I will not be stealing a sheep's skin nor fighting an army of skeletons. I have my limits as to what I'll do, even for comic books.

But Sunday was clearly my dad's day for buying not-normal comics. It was on a Sunday that he bought the first issue of Savage Sword of Conan I ever encountered - likewise the first issues of Savage Tales and Vampirella I ever saw.

So, one Sunday morning, he came home from the shops with Monsters Unleashed #11.

Well, I was never going to not be glad to see a black and white Marvel mag - especially one within which dwelt supernatural terror.

The first thing that hit me upon opening it was a one-page feature by Dave Cockrum dedicated to the Creature From The Black Lagoon. As a fan of B-movies and of Dave Cockrum, I was always going to like that one - but it does raise a question:

I seem to remember reading a one-page feature, in a black and white Marvel mag, that was about gorillas and their discovery. If you happen to know what issue of what mag that was in, I'd be glad to hear from you. I'd always assumed it was this one but, checking with the GCD, it would appear not to be.

We also got a letters page that featured a picture of a tiger and some letters about the Man-Thing. Sadly, I can't recall what they said.

But, of course, this was all just the warm-up. The issue's main story was about Gabriel, an exorcist who seemed to have a few problems.

For a one thing, he only had one eye.

For another, he was at war with the forces of darkness.

Fortunately, it all ended happily in a graveyard and may have involved a stone angel. Clearly the spirit of Steven Moffat was strong with this one.

I sort of liked the story but I did have a problem that Gabriel's eye-patch made him look like Nick Fury. Plus, if I remember right, he had a pentacle on his chest which made him a non-super-powered version of the Son of Satan. It was hard to see why I'd want to read about a non-super-powered Son of Satan, given that we already had a super-powered one to call on.

I think Gabriel had a girlfriend who was only his girlfriend because she looked like his dead wife. Clearly he'd been taking advice on how to be a normal person from Hank Pym.

Also, there was a Rico Rival tale about a publisher who'd annoyed a writer and, as a consequence, ended up crushed by a giant book. I always liked Rico Rival, even though I'd sometimes get him mixed up with Alex Nino.

Finally, there was a tale about an escaped giant Komodo dragon on the loose in the city. It was by Don McGregor, which meant it had a certain air of pretention about it. I think he explained in a prose piece that it was a story he'd written years earlier that had been rejected but, with the dreaded deadline doom looming, it had been dusted off and revived.

I also seem to recall it was told in some sort of split-screen type manner. What happened in it and why, I couldn't tell you but we were clearly meant to side with the Komodo dragon.

So, there you had it. It didn't change my life like those early issues of Savage Sword of Conan did - in fact, it was quite disappointing - but it had the forces of evil in it, so I appreciated it.

I now look forward to everyone telling me I've got it completely wrong and the contents of it bore no resemblance to what I remember.


Comicsfan said...

I don't know what it is about horror mags, but they all have such cool, eye-catching mastheads. That probably begs a post of its own sometime. :)

Terence Stewart said...

I have only ever owned/read one issue of Monsters Unleashed, and that was the one with the Tigra story. If I recall correctly, it had some very nice Tony DeZuniga art.
Like Comicsfan above, though, I'm always attracted to the eye-catching mastheads on Marvel's horror mags and tempted to bid on them on eBay.