Image: Marvel Comics

After the disaster of Civil War II, it’s totally understandable if readers want to sit out Marvel’s next crossover. But Monsters Unleashed has actually proven to be quite an entertaining superhero event. At this early point, it’s basically just superheroes teaming up to hit monsters really hard, and the first issue of the miniseries was a refreshingly traditional story with some stunning artwork. The tie-in one-shots released this week are a lot of fun, and next week the All-New X-Men get in on the action with their own one-shot written by Jeremy Whitley with art by Carlos Barberi and Ron Lim.

Whitley has done some remarkable work with Marvel event tie-ins in the past few years: His Iron Fist/Misty Knight story in Secret Love was heartwarming and his Civil War II: Choosing Sides tale exploring the fallout of James Rhodes’ death was one of the few good things to come out of that crossover. He’s been getting more work at Marvel (a new issue of Whitley’s delightful The Unstoppable Wasp also hits stands next week), and this preview of next week’s All New X-Men #1.MU shows why. He has a strong handle on the voices of these characters, and always brings a sense of fun to his superhero stories.

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Next week’s one-shot takes the All-New X-Men to New Orleans for some Mardi Gras hijinks, but Wolverine breaks off from the group to track down her old friend Gambit, who played a major part in the X-23 ongoing series. Carlo Barberi captures Gambit’s signature studliness in the splash page that ends this preview, and his experience drawing Marvel’s younger characters makes him a good fit for this one-shot following the teenage X-Men. Inker Walden Wong and colorist Cris Peter bring extra dimension to Barberi’s pencils, and the shift in the color palette reinforces the stinky swampy atmosphere from which Gambit emerges, ready to make readers swoon.

Image: Marvel Comics; cover by Adam Kubert and Frank Martin
Image: Marvel Comics; variant by Richard Isanove

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Image: Marvel Comics
Image: Marvel Comics
Image: Marvel Comics

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Image: Marvel Comics
Image: Marvel Comics