Thursday, 3 September 2015

Where Monsters Dwell #4 - Marvel Comics

WHERE MONSTERS DWELL No. 4, October 2015
Disappointingly for fans of the original “House of Ideas” Phantom Eagle there’s little similarity with this twenty-page periodical’s interpretation of the flying ace and the legendary combat pilot who first appeared way back in September 1968 within the pages of “Marvel Super-Heroes”. Indeed apart from the Great War aviator bearing the name Karl Kauffman, Garth Ennis would appear to have completely turned his back upon the valiant character created by Gary Friedrich and Herb Trimpe and instead replaced him with a petty, sadistic, and frankly evil murderously-minded schemer, who having been “cast out” from the village of his Amazonian captors, merrily sacrifices dozens of pygmies in order to steal a functioning set of propeller blades.

Admittedly the self-centred machinations of 'co-star' Clementine Franklin-Cox are a far cry from being honourable, especially when she clearly takes such delight in the prospect of the “general jerk” literally losing his manhood on the chopping block. But at worst the “English socialite” is little more than a selfishly mischievous rich girl who simply wishes to ‘go native’. The Eisner Award-winner’s so-called protagonist on the other hand, despite his woes being predominantly due to his own ego and “stupidity”, genuinely seems to take great delight in his plans for revenge upon his former jailors. Despite the fact he clearly understands that in order to achieve his goal numerous numbers of his allies will undoubtedly die; an especially chilling trait considering the heartless fiend merrily whistles as his cannibal comrades are swallowed whole by a Megalodon.

Fortunately despite the majority of the Northern Irish-born American author’s narrative focusing upon the vindictive unlikeable anti-hero, there is still plenty of dinosaur-based action for readers to enjoy within this fourth instalment of the five-issue mini-series. In fact Ennis would appear to have populated this “dangerous region of Battleworld” with as many different breeds of prehistoric predator as the comic’s page-count would allow. For having escaped the wooden stockade of the warrior women tribe, the writer’s naked “grubby little oik” not only survives the attention of a territorial “Big Tooth” but encounters with long-necked sauropods, a hungry infant Tyrannosaurus Rex and the sharp claws of a pack of vicious Velociraptors; “What did I do to deserve this--?”

All of this drama, whether it be Kauffman’s manically gunning down a pack of dromaeosaurid theropods with his downed airplane’s still functioning Lewis guns or hundreds of grim-faced natives determinedly rowing towards the Amazon’s island, is fantastically illustrated by Russ Braun. And it it abundantly clear from the penciller’s drawing of Megalodon bursting from the depths open-mouthed in order swallow an entire canoe full of pygmies, as to why the New Yorker’s artwork has been described by Ennis as being simply “superb”.
Writer: Garth Ennis, Artist: Russ Braun and Color Artist: Dono Sanchez Almara

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