Hero vs. Hero battles are behind Marvel for the time being, as the publisher's next big event, Monsters Unleashed, debuted this week from Cullen Bunn and Steve McNiven. And it's more than just classic Marvel monsters in the fray, as newly-created monsters and a new super-powere.d hero - Kid Kaiju - are in it as well.
According to Bunn, Monsters Unleashed is fully intended to stand apart from recent comic book events like Civil War II and Justice League vs. Suicide Squad with clearly defined heroes and villains
With Monsters Unleashed #1 on stands now, Newsarama spoke with writer about the debut, discovering Elsa Bloodstone's strange legacy, the history of Kid Kaiju, and which of the monsters are more human than you'd expect.
Newsarama: Cullen, Monsters Unleashed #1 reads like a big departure from some of the major themes the Marvel Universe has been exploring lately. Where does Monsters Unleashed fall in the continuum of Civil War II, IvX, and so forth?
Cullen Bunn: I wanted this series to stand apart from those other events in a way that a new reader could pick this book up and enjoy a fun story and understand who the heroes were and what threat they were united against without having to read a lot of material in preparation. I guess this book takes place between Civil War II and IvX. Keep in mind, the events in Monsters Unleashed play out over the course of a few frantic days.
Nrama: The Bloodstone family plays a big role in Monsters Unleashed, with Elsa Bloodstone serving as an expert on monsters. Will her brother, Cullen Bloodstone appear, considering his unique relationship with giant monsters?
Bunn: Cullen Bloodstone doesn’t show up in the miniseries. If you were to look at my original outline, there were dozens and dozens of characters - such as Cullen Bloodstone and Annabelle Riggs - who I eventually, painfully, had to pull from the book. Even though these are oversized issues, there’s only so much room for characters without the series getting too confusing. But I still have plans for those characters! Stay tuned!
Nrama: You’ve got Steve McNiven on this issue, and a series of other A-list artistic talent on the upcoming issues. Why was that the right approach for Monsters Unleashed?
Bunn: First of all, I think it is absolutely awesome to see these artistic powerhouses each giving us their take on the giant monster world. Also, since each issue is huge and the schedule for release is pretty rapid, we needed to have a group of folks working on the series. I can’t stress enough how beautiful each issue is, how surprising and dynamic these pages are, and how well it all flows together.
Nrama: Given some of the monsters have their origin in the pre-Marvel Atlas days, could we see any other characters or concepts from that era pop up in this series?
Bunn: We’re pretty focused on the monsters in this series, so we’re not really pulling any other concepts from the Atlas days into the book. All that stuff is great, of course, and the nostalgia architect in me wants to dig into all of that. It was more important, though, to make these giant monsters a force to be reckoned with again and to build more layers into the Marvel Universe monster mythology.
Nrama: Monster Unleashed #1 revealed that the Bloodstone line has known this moment was coming for possibly thousands of years. How is the rest of the Marvel Universe going to feel when they find out Elsa knew monsters were coming and didn’t warn them?
Bunn: Well, the Bloodstones definitely had access to information that hinted at the coming of these monsters. But they had access to a lot of prophecies and predictions. As we’ll see as the series progresses, it frustrates Elsa to no end that when it comes to monsters, the heroes don’t really pay attention to a monster expert. She has to seek proof about what’s going on, and that will make her contributions to the story vital. Once the dust settles, though, there will be a few more questions asked about Elsa’s library of information.
Nrama: This issue only just introduced the monsters, including the classic Marvel monsters like Fin Fang Foom. Which of them have you connected with? How have you begin developing the personalities of the monsters?
Bunn: There are a few of those classic monsters that I dearly love. Fin Fang Foom is a favorite, of course. CM Punk and I wrote quite a bit about him in our run on Drax, and having him show up here was just a glorious continuation of that. I also really dig Goom and his son Googam. I love their father-and-son dynamic. It’s really a lot of fun to see these creatures interact. They all have these wonderful, over-the-top personalities that are just a joy to write.
Nrama: Kid Kaiju appeared prior to Monsters Unleashed in Totally Awesome Hulk. Did you seize that character as an opportunity, or were the seeds for Monsters Unleashed already being sown?
Bunn: There are have been discussions about this series at Marvel for years, and the character appearing in Totally Awesome Hulk was an extension of that. Definitely a jumping on point for me, although I’d say the plans for the character have changed pretty drastically even from the time of that cameo appearance. I was given a pretty blank slate when developing him into the character you’ll see in this series.
Nrama: Aside from a whole host of brand new monsters, and some big superhero throwdowns, what can readers expect as Monsters Unleashed moves forward?
Bunn: We’re going to be introducing a new threat that has ties to the destruction of dozens of worlds. This threat will also have deep ties to the Marvel Universe. In order to combat this force of cataclysm, our heroes will have to rely on something new and unexpected, and will see that Kid Kaiju may be a key to saving the world - a key that has been in play for centuries.