Monster World is an interesting beast. I know that sounds like a setup for a pun, but it’s not. Monster World is full of tropes. But the tropes are from different genres so they’re merging to create something that’s kind of new… but then well-worn. It also takes place in a bygone era aka the golden age of Hollywood. It both feels dated and fresh making this story… well an interesting beast. In the first issue we see a young woman killed by something on the set of a horror film after shooting has wrapped for the day. After that we meet a Private Eye that’s just gotten worked over by the mob he owes money to. Shortly afterwards he’s approached by a new client. An attractive woman in red that of course can’t rely on anyone else and needs someone to find her husband. Genre trope alert. After the usual back and forth is out of the way our P.I. takes on the case to discover that monsters are real and our dead girl in the beginning has come back to life as a werewolf.
In the second issue, out this week, the story reveals a lot more. Our P.I. is pissed that his client of course lied to him and sent him into the mix knowing that he was going up against monsters. To which she points out that he A) wouldn’t have taken the case and B) would have had her committed. One thing leads to another and they end up sleeping together. The P.I. gets back to work though and starts to get answers about the client’s husband and how exactly he saved his studio with monster movies.
The story isn’t perfect. But it is rather entertaining. The P.I. tropes are heavy-handed, but they surprisingly work with the horror setting that’s going on. This feels like classic pulp which is both good and bad. That means that a lot of the dialogue is dated feeling, but not terrible. It also means that if you love classic comics that you’re sure to love the hell out of Monster World. For me personally I could see all its faults, I could see the excess of dialogue used in order to fit the pulp/P.I. mold and yet I still really enjoyed it. I found the mixture of the two genres to be an interesting fit and I want to know about the world and see the mystery of the story unfold.
The art is good. There’s some inconsistencies, but it too captures both genres quite well. It’s walking a fine line between P.I. and horror, but it does so well. It also ends up looking and feeling like an old Hollywood film which I’m sure was intentional due to the setting. The coloring is kept earthy with only a few stand out colors. Overall the art is successful for the story.
Like I said, this comic isn’t perfect, but there is just something about it that I really enjoyed. I was glad to be able to read two issues back-to-back and would definitely encourage others to do the same. I’m in it for the long run as I’d really like to see which other tropes will be used and how everything will play out in the end.
Score: 3/5 (Both Issues)
Monster World #1 & #2 Writers: Steve Niles, Philip Kim Artist: Piotr Kowalski Publisher: American Gothic Press Price: $3.99 Release Date: 1/20/16 Format: Mini-Series; Print/Digital