Review: Battle Beasts Volume 1 / Author: Bobby Curnow / Art: Valerio Schiti / Publisher: IDW Publishing / Release Date: December 25th
If you grew up in the ‘80s, there’s a chance that you may remember the Battle Beasts. They were person shaped, animal themed action figures with a heat sensitive badge on their bellies. You got two in a pack, and you rubbed the badge in order to play an element themed version of ‘paper, scissors, rock’. Sadly, they looked like a slightly more violent version of My Little Pony, and sank without a trace. That is, until the trend for comic book companies to cash in on nostalgia by re-launching toy themed story lines. We’ve already seen Transformers, G.I. Joe and The Masters of The Universe return to the graphic novel shelves, so why not Battle Beasts?
It turns out that the idea of people shaped animals beating the hell out of each other is actually quite entertaining, especially as the first volume introduces these monsters to Earth. What we have is the classic sort of set-up we got in classic Saturday morning cartoons; good guy Battle Beasts come to Earth, team up with some unlikely humans who are caught up in events that are beyond them, and together they face bad guy Battle Beasts. Whilst the US Military does its best to shoot everyone involved, causing the sort of chaos you’d expect.
It’s the sort of thing that would have delighted me when I was twelve-years-old, and it still does so today, though it doesn’t really hold any surprises for my jaded geek palette. The artwork is nicely cartoony without being too stylistic, and much like the story, seems designed to avoid challenging the reader. I could point out that the lead characters aren’t that sympathetic or well realised, but who cares, one of them is a huge Walrus person carrying an axe, how much more character development do you need?
This is junk-food for the soul, and like the right sort of burger at the right time, just what you need to bring a smile to your face. It’s perfect for a Saturday morning when you can’t get your brain to work, but don’t expect this to be anything beyond the comic book equivalent of candy floss.