Review: Escape From Monster Island #1

In Escape From Monster Island, the US government is sorting out a cryptozoological prison riot. By "sorting out" I, of course, mean throwing mercenaries at a secret prison in advance of a devastating bombardment that will wipe away all evidence of the facility's existence. This secret prison/research site holds an item important to the future of humanity. And to collect this item before Monster Island‘s destruction, our protagonists will need to fight through an island of presumably deadly obstacles. Escape-from-Monster-Island-#1-1In its haste to get to the titular island, the book fails to generate any interest in its characters. They're all archetypes. And, beat for beat, our intro to each character's personality is familiar to the point of being perfunctory. I really can't even recall most of the character names. In group shots, they all visually blend together in the same way they meld into a uniform personality mush. It's a real detriment to the book's attempt at setting itself up. Most of the issue is comprised of our royal smart persons rushing through what seems to be a simple premise. Our largely unlikable collection of thrill-seeking hired guns responds by chuckling at the idea of battling real life monsters. There's a difference between skepticism and willful ignorance. And these protagonists just come across as dullards for ignoring the evidence presented to them.

The dialogue progresses in a remarkably predictable fashion, with little concern for the gravity of the mission. The clichés and tropes fly by so rapidly and casually, it's easy to hope Escape From Monster Island is attempting to satirize action cinema. But, by the final page, it becomes clear that the book is only really interested in monster fights. And to the comic's credit, the monsters are excellently illustrated. However, issue one doesn't leave a lot of room for those monster fights because of the necessary exposition. Nor does the comic build tension or drama in anticipation of future monster encounters. So despite spending nearly every page on our characters and their perils, Escape From Monster Island fails to generate any real interest in their well-being or collective ultimate fate. Worse, what few pages are spent on monsters is bereft of excitement, wonder, or curiosity.

Score: 2/5

Escape From Monster Island #1 Writer: Ralph Tedesco, Joe Brusha, and Joe Tyler Artist: Carlos Granda Colorist: Jorge Cortes Publisher: Zenescope Entertainment Price: $3.99 Release Date: 2/3/16 Format: Mini-Series; Print/Digital