Sunday, May 13, 2018

Howling Commandos of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Monster Squad – review

Writer: Frank Barbiere*

Illustrator: Brent Schoonover*

First Published: 2016 (TPB)

Contains spoilers

*Barbiere And Schooinover were primary writer and illustrator but the collection contains one issue of S.H.I.E.L.D. written by Al Ewing and illustrated by Stefano Casell.

The Blurb: Hidden deep beneath Area 13 lies the clandestine headquarters of S.T.A.K.E. - a top secret division of S.H.I.E.L.D. that houses aliens, mythical beasts and all manner of extra-normals. Now, under the command of legendary soldier - and newly resurrected Life Model Decoy - Dum Dum Dugan, these monsters step out of the shadows and defend the world against threats too dangerous for normal men as the All-New, All-Different, all-too-literal Howling Commandos of S.H.I.E.L.D.!

The review: The Howling Commandos are the supernatural side of Marvel’s S.H.I.E.L.D. and in this graphic are made up of Dum Dum Duggan, Warwolf, zombie Jasper Sitwell, Vampire by Night, Man-Thing, Manphibian, Orrgo, Teen Abomination, and Hit-Monkey. Later in the run Glyph also joins the squad.

Clearly, from a TMtV point of view Vampire by Night is our main draw but also, we discover, that unbeknown to S.T.A.K.E., Dracula is being held below Area 13 and is being experimented on – the Dracula story does not come into this volume and we see his incarceration in passing only.

Vampire by Night is the niece of Jack Russell – aka Werewolf by Night. In Marvel comic cannon she has the option of becoming a vampire or werewolf between dusk and dawn – though she is human/powerless during the day and can walk in daylight. We do see her take on wolf form but it is as a wolf and not as a bipedal werewolf.

Actually, the joy of this edition is Dum Dum, the original Duggan died but his consciousness was digitized and is beamed into a supply of robotic bodies, being sent to the next when one is destroyed or very damaged. Stillwell’s zombie form is less articulate than some versions of him.

The story mainly sees the Commandos trying to gel as a team and take on Sphinx – an Egyptian myth orientated villain. It is rip roaring fun and worth a read. 6 out of 10

No comments: