Pteranodons and biplanes. Well, singular biplane, but multiple pteranodons — that is exactly a small portion of what “The Boys” collaborators Garth Ennis and Russ Braun bring to “Where Monsters Dwell” #1. Dono Sanchez Almara joins the duo for colors and Rob Steen brings the letters to this comic book, which is branded with the “Secret Wars” logo and carries a “Parental Advisory” label.
As an abandoned island princess dreams of a feast set with spiced orangutan and crocducken (which, I’m imagining, is a more exotic take on turducken), readers learn just what type of man Karl Kaufmann (a.k.a. the Phantom Eagle) is, thanks to Ennis writing the legendary pilot an exit cue. As “Where Monsters Dwell” #1 continues, Ennis somehow builds a convincing case that, while Kaufmann may not be fit to serve as a role model, he certainly hits the spot as the type of scamp people like to be entertained by. Ennis rounds out the cast with Clementine Franklin-Cox (Clemmie), Kaufmann’s mechanic Winch, and a very-mad, physically-challenged madman named No-Balls Tong.
Russ Braun brings versatility to “Where Monsters Dwell” #1, which is required, given that this comic includes pteranodons, biplanes and jodhpurs. The artist gives Kaufmann a smirk that would sell snake oil and fits the story just fine, save for when the prolific pilot tries to use it in Winch’s direction. Braun gives the comic a dusty appearance, with thick, grainy lines for his characters. Almara brings a dusty palette for the middle of the story but packs in jungle hues on either side of the staples. There’s nothing garish to the colors or the artwork, which makes the action and direction of this story work and affords Ennis and Braun the opportunity to make the pteranodon attack as real and believable as possible.
“Where Monsters Dwell” #1 doesn’t seem to have any direct connection to the rest of Battleworld, but the next issue tease does identify where Clemmie and Karl began their voyage and where they’re left at the end of this installment. That’s a tenuous connection, to be sure, but it doesn’t make this story any less entertaining. With so many creators showing an affinity towards prehistoric beasts, Marvel is doing something wrong if a Savage Land series doesn’t spin out of “Secret Wars.” For now, however, things are as right as rain in letting Ennis and Braun have fun with the Phantom Eagle and some dinosaurs.