Reviews: Necessary Monsters

Necessary Monsters

Necessary Monsters is a rollicking adventure concocted from the junction of super-spy tropes and the world of eldritch horror. It reads like one of the good experimental pieces in golden-age 2000 A.D.. Not surprisingly, you'll have a hard time finding a character who's morals bear the light of day here.

The central team of the story are both indentured agents of a MIB-like covert agency tasked with policing supernatural monsters that walk a present-day world. The team are monsters themselves — and the work does anything by shy away from the implications. The protagonists are killers. As good guys they are the good guys of last resort: they are there to prevent the wholesale slaughter of the human sheep they prey on.

The morality of the work comes to a head in the climatic scene where the supposedly omnicidal Big Bad of the work is revealed to be a suicidal hero: he's about to wipe all monster-nature from the face of the Earth, restoring the protagonists' humanity. He loses: an uncommon example of evil winning. It is also an interesting — scary — case of viewpoint characters becoming sympathetic no matter what their actions. It is similar to the way Deckard becomes the hero in Blade Runner despite being a state-sponsored murderer of escaped slaves.

The more successful drama of Necessary Monsters comes from Creeping Thursday: it is she who undergoes the most change in moving from (mostly) normal world to the fantastic world of the monsters. Like Zebra Girl she ultimately has to embrace her underlying nature.

Possibly the least successful character is Cowboy 13 — the mute, unkillable Jason-like character has been done to death and there's nothing new here. Charlotte Hatred wouldn't be out of place in a Sandman graphic novel. Jonathon Gravehouse is mostly successful as a character, oozing the confidence that comes from being something titanic and ghastly in a smiling shell of a man.

All in all well worth the trip.