Tuesday, 4 March 2014

'Monster Massacre Vol.2' - Dave Elliott (Titan)

It takes a lot for me to cover up what I’m reading on the train; you’re talking to a passionate fan of all things genre related who thinks that the morning commute would be a lot more eye catching if people were honest about what they like to read. I know there are people out there who like reading ‘Roman Gladiator’ books but I’m pretty sure that most of the middle aged guys I see reading them want to read about men with swords but don’t want a dragon on the cover… I’m not like that and will happily read whatever the hell I want on the train, until today.

It wasn’t just the front cover either, when the stern looking elderly lady sat next to me I found myself automatically hiding the pages involving the scantily clad bounty hunter facing off against the even more scantily clad Yakuza lady (‘Queen’s Pet’, a very funny tale where things build up to a violent climax and then you can’t help but laugh at what comes next…). Maybe I’m just not as brazen about my ‘train reading’ as I thought I was. It’s safe to say that ‘Monster Massacre 2’ is a book that you should think twice about opening on a crowded train ;o)

As was the case with its predecessor though, ‘Monster Massacre 2’ is a lot of fun to read; basically a whole bunch of comic book creators going ‘no holds barred’ nuts on the page. This time round there is more of an emphasis on ‘gallery work’ over stories and visually stunning though it all was, I couldn’t help but wish that they’d used the space for more stories instead. There is some good stuff going on here and the collection as a whole could have really benefitted from more stories along the same lines. Well, that’s what I thought anyway; somewhere, another reviewer is probably bemoaning the number of stories crowding out all the really cool gallery stuff ;o) There’s probably enough of each to suit all tastes.

In terms of the stories on offer; when they work it’s incredible but when they don’t it swiftly becomes a bit of a mess. ‘Amplified’ looked promising but needed a couple more pages (that it didn’t have) so that we could actually see what the point of it was. ‘Bounty Journal’ spent a lot of the time looking good but with no discernible plot whatsoever.
When ‘Monster Massacre’ was good though, it was amazing. Highlights for me included Jennyson Robero’s ‘Turn Me On’ was chilling and very effectively drawn at the same time. ‘The Weirding Willows’ was clearly one for longer term fans (who would get a lot more out of it) but had enough of the surreal about it (a dinosaur that loves honey!) to engage me and I wouldn’t mind reading more. Reza Ilyasa’s ‘Hell-O-Kitty’ looked amazing with a hint of tragedy that nicely balanced out the action (as well as making the concept of gun toting cats taking down mechanoids seem totally plausible). The real highlight for me though was Basri and Gho’s ‘Rule My World’, absolutely beautifully drawn and a real lesson that you don’t need a lot of words to tell a story. The look on the lady’s face, right at the very end, meant there was no need for any words. Glorious stuff.

‘Monster Massacre 2’ is very definitely a mixed bag then but, for me, the good in it outweighed the bad. I wouldn’t mind seeing more stories next time though; there’s clearly a lot of good shorter work out there so why not include it?


  1. As long as you don't mind me reading over your shoulder, I think it's perfectly suitable train material. LOL

  2. Yeah, I should probably get over myself a little bit... ;o) It was a lot of fun to read.