Friday, 5 August 2016

Howling Commandos of SHIELD: Monster Squad Review (Frank Barbiere, Brent Schoonover)


Marvel have a buncha weird oddball characters sitting around not doing much so why not lump them together into a team and pretend they’re important to have around? That’s basically the idea behind Howling Commandos of SHIELD, a “spooky” Marvel team book comprising: Dum Dum Dugan (a Life Model Decoy that is), zombie Jasper Sitwell, Hit-Monkey, Man-Thing, Warwolf, Teen Abomination, Orrgo, Vampire By Night, and Manphibian.

They wish they were half as decent as Dark Horse’s BPRD or DC’s Suicide Squad - this first (and last - the title was rightfully cancelled after issue 6) volume is garbage! 

Al Ewing’s SHIELD #9 opens this book and it’s the best part of this trainwreck. Ewing sets up the series, introducing Dugan, zombie Sitwell, Warwolf, and Teen Abomination and establishes their motivations which are weak but there anyway. Then the reins are handed to Frank Barbiere who tosses in the rest of the gang and it’s never clear why any of them are doing what they’re doing. Like what’s Man-Thing getting out of going on these missions?! 

The main storyline is piss-awful: a random kid can summon Ancient Egyptian ghosts and some guy called Sphinx wants to yadda yadda yadda - it’s not even worth discussing, it’s that forgettable. Ewing also set up a more interesting subplot about Dracula that went absolutely nowhere in Barbiere’s hands. 

Monster Squad looks like a fun Marvel book on paper but it’s not - it’s the usual superhero team nonsense with a generic goodies vs baddies structure. Poorly written and told in a pedestrian, uninspired fashion, Howling Commandos of SHIELD is one big yawner throughout - don’t bother!

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