Fighter pilots vs. Dinosaurs?  Sure, why not?  Marvel brings back one of their older series under the umbrella of Secret Wars, but does it work?  Only one way find out!

In Where Monsters Dwell #1, writer Garth Ennis and artist Russ Braun tell the story of World War I era fighter pilot, Karl Kaufmann (also apparently known as “Phantom Eagle,” although, I don’t think that’s ever mentioned in the issue), who seemingly flies from place to place looking for odd jobs that will get him a little cash.  That’s really all the setup you need for this first issue, the rest is just a really fun ride.

The basic premise for this Garth Ennis story is one that’s slightly well worn, but the writer injects significant amounts of comedy into what could have been a very hackneyed plot, and fortunately it works to perfection.  This was certainly one of the more entertaining tie-in books to read.  The story flowed quite smoothly, and there were many moments where I caught myself smiling at the events on the page.  My only fault with the overall story is that at no point, aside from a last minute map included on the final page of the issue, does this story seem to fit into the larger idea of Battleworld.  I think this is actually the first of the tie-ins that I’ve read that makes no mention of the planet, or the iron will of it’s ruler at all.  Granted, this in no way takes away from the greatness of the story, I just found it kind of odd to include the book under the Secret Wars banner.  My only guess is that it will connect in a more solid manner in future issues.

I think Russ Braun’s art is a perfect companion to the comedic writing here.  It’s slightly cartoony, but not too much.  Were it not for some more adult oriented story elements early on in the issue, I could easily see this being a Saturday Morning Cartoon… do they even have those anymore?  Either way, it’s pretty clear that Braun and Ennis have a close working relationship, as the two of them are able to create a wonderfully cohesive story in this issue.  The reveals and background details are definitely some of the high points here, and should get a chuckle out of most people.

I honestly didn’t know what to expect coming into this issue, but after I was finished reading it, I found myself pleasantly surprised.  I think, of the tie-ins that I’ve read so far, this and Old Man Logan are probably the best of the bunch.  If money is tight and you can only pick up a couple issues a week, at this point I would say go for the main story, and those two books.

The Verdict for Where Monsters Dwell #1:
Must Have Moar!!!

Until next time,
Stay nerdy, my friends.

Upcoming reviews:
East of West, Volume 3: There Is No Us TPB
Secret Wars Journal #1
Secret Wars #3
Secret Wars: Battleworld #2
Wytches #1-#6
March of the Crabs, Volume 1: The Crabby Condition


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