I don’t often get sucked into “event books”, usually opting to trade wait for the good stories, but when I saw the cover for Where Monsters Dwell #1, the Bristol fighter with the beautiful woman firing the Browning 30 cal machine gun into in the thick of all those pterosaurs. This was a must buy for a classic sci-fi movie guy like me.
I wasn’t disappointed. Garth Ennis gives us his usual well plotted adult oriented story right out of the gate. Yes this is a book is starring “The Phantom Eagle” who has been around the Marvel Universe since 1968 (and in Fawcett Comics back in ’52) but this isn’t your grandfathers heroic flying ace! Karl Kaufmann is an ace pilot (we assume) and a total jerk (obvious from page one), he’s a lot more Jack Colton (Romancing the Stone) than Jake Cutter (Tales of the Gold Monkey). When he runs into trouble paying for the much-needed repairs to his plane a convenient damsel in distress presents herself and hires Karl and his plane to transport her to Singapore. But any fan of the genre worth their salt knows it’s not going to be that easy. The crash landing into Battleworld’s Savage Land is pretty damn harrowing, and the dinosaurs, as well as the rest of the art, are superbly and terrifyingly rendered by Russ Braun (with Dono Alamra’s rich, vibrant colors.) From the moment they crash Ennis does what he does best and drags our heroes from one harrowing experience to another, with just enough humor, pathos, and excitement to make you cheer, sneer, hoot, and holler. Now the stories of this stripe that we’re used to are very steeped in the heroic dude/damsel in distress model. That is not this book. We are treated to a misogynistic womanizing jerk who gets owned from mid issue one. And it works. Now I’m not going to say that Clementine Franklin-Fox is a likeable character. We know she’s hiding something and by issue two I was really wondering what her motivation in torturing Karl (the jerk) Kaufman really is. There’s history here, not that Karl seems to pick up on it, and by the end of issue three you know we’ve been maneuvered into position for a big reveal.
This is a five issue limited series. I payed a few bucks for the issue two I had missed but it was well worth it. If you can find it, or if you are the type to jump in late I’m sure the last two issues won’t disappoint.