When I first saw the cover image for “Johnny Monster,” I remember thinking it was really cool. I made a mental note to give this book a look, especially since the monster movies of yesteryear were my Saturday afternoon mental floss growing up.
I had to flip the cover open quite a few times when I began reading this book, as the story starts on the inside front cover. Nice start, I thought. Wasting no time, whatsoever, we’re thrown into the middle of a scrap between two gigantic monsters. A good start, indeed. The story then falls into prototypical patterning as Johnny Monster swoops in to save the day. Of course, Johnny is a mysterious hero who bounces in and bounces out as needed, much like all heroes do. Except Johnny leads his defeated foes away in nets and has them climb into a delivery van! The same monsters that were just trashing the city are now obediently walking in line to be driven away in a truck! Suspending disbelief is normally not a challenge for me, but no one questions why these critters are put in their places by nets.
The art is inconsistent, with moments of sheer brilliance and moments that flat out scream, “This wouldn’t have happened with an inker!” Grande has the tools and the skill, but he just needs to hone them a little more.
This story has moments of extreme cliche, but I suppose, to some extent, every comic on the market today does carry some cliche with it, as we readers want it and expect it. That’s what makes the earth-shattering, seemingly cliche-free books all the better. That said, the book also suffers a bit from under-exposition, if you can believe that in this day and age. There are some characters that just seem to appear for no other reason than that Johnny needed to talk to someone to add in a character bit.
This book has some charm and a more than a little bit of potential but, for the most part, it is largely forgettable. Unless the second issue has as memorable a cover as this issue (I just checked and Firebreather is on the next cover) then this book might be overlooked. It is nice to see Image reaching out, however, and trying to do some more all-ages-friendly books, between this and “Amber Atoms.” If they would just realize “all-ages” doesn’t have to rely on predictability.