Wednesday, March 8, 2023

Review: Monkey Prince #12

Monkey Prince #12 came out this week, the end of this series which I discovered on the back end. I came for the Supergirl guest star but I stayed for the good story.

Writer Gene Luen Yang and artist Bernard Chang continue to bring a tremendous story to life here. I have really been entertained by this young hero learning the ropes, guided by a mentor, finding his place in the DCU. Add to it a super-villain family and a mysterious origin and  you have a great mix of character pieces to build on. 

But there also was a sense of joy here. And a solid sense of humor. Monkey Prince talks the way I would talk if I was a teenager who suddenly had powers and was rubbing elbows with Supergirl. He relishes his powers with a sense of wonder and fun. 

I guess I would say this reads like classic Spider-Man to me. Quips and kicks flying!

I have always been a fan of Bernard Chang's art and he really shines here. I love the mythic aspects and the action. And his Supergirl is just glittering. I loved him when he was on the Supergirl book back in the day so it is great to see his take on Kara again.

In fact, if there is one thing to complain about here, it is the treatment of Supergirl in this last issue. She is taken out ... albeit by magic ... and needs rescuing. She never gives up. She keeps fighting. But it would have been great if she wasn't the weak link.

On to the book ... and then onto the back issue boxes for me to get the first eight issues.

What do you do the day after doomsday ... or Lazarus Planet? You help clean up the cities that were ravaged. And you celebrate.

While Shifu Piggy downs vegan hot dogs, Supergirl and Monkey Prince team up to start cleaning the mess.

Love this scene. Piggy's grin as he downs the goodies is awesome. But Supergirl sticking around to help Marcus is a nice touch.

Oh how I miss editor notes or obvious exposition in comics.

Because someone named Kaya, who seems to have powers and skirmished with Monkey Prince, shows up to help. 

Have I said that I love Bernard Chang drawing Supergirl? I love how she looks. And I love how she is just helping with the property damage. It is what a hero would do.

But there is a big bad brewing. King Fire Bull, imprisoned in a mystic globe at the end of Lazarus Planet is sprung from the bauble by some sorceress with a skeleton army. Who is she??? I miss the days when somewhere that info would be relayed.

This woman sends her undead troops out to gather 'immortal energy' to invigorate the King. Their target? Supergirl.

Since they are magic troops, they are able to swarm her.

The Monkey King has perfected his cloning. The army of Princes make short work of the skeletons.

I love the 'Axe Body Spray' comment. Especially Supergirl's matter-of-fact 'he sure does'. 

I like the silliness. 

Alas, the skeletons are able to recover. They drop some big news too. Monkey Prince isn't even real. He is simply a clone of the Monkey King, not an independent being. The news shakes him enough that, unfortunately, Kara gets recaptured and taken away.

Like I said, Supergirl is a bit of a plot point here. She is captured and drained.

Kind of a bummer that she is taken out and need rescuing. 

I must admit, even weakened, she keeps fighting. 

It is left to Shifu Piggy to spill the beans. (To get Marcus' attention, he becomes more boar-like and angry, a nice touch.)

The Monkey King lost his battle to Darkseid and was thrust into the Phantom Zone. He breathed Marcus into existence. That clone, of its own accord, didn't reintegrate. It became a human baby embedded in that rock. He isn't a clone ... he is something more. He is a son.

And all that Marcus has lived through has brought him here, as an individual, as himself.

Suddenly believing in himself and that he even has a true self, the Monkey Prince is ready.

I loved this. As a kid, I was unsure of who I was. I was unclear if I was meant for anything. Seeing Marcus suddenly feel confident and sure was a great touch.

Kaya traces Supergirl to the island where King Fire Bull and the woman are hiding. In a show of true power, the Monkey Prince shows who he really is and trashes the bad guys.

For a second he is tempted to kill King Fire Bull. But Piggy reminds him that he doesn't want murder on his conscience.

Throughout the issues I have read, Chang has really done a spectacular job with page layouts. Here the action unfolding around the Monkey Prince really works well. I love the frenetic action. 

He doesn't kill King Fire Bull. Instead he re-imprisons him, keeping the ending of Lazarus Planet intact.

I appreciated this Supergirl moment. She started out snarky and superior to the Monkey Prince when they first met. But now, she really appreciates him as a hero, colleague, and friend. 

I don't want my Supergirl cold and unfriendly. Her warming up to Marcus and being thankful for his help works well. And I like how he is stunned and shocked.

Real nice moment.

Nothing left but the 'not the ending' page.

Marcus goes home and knows he needs to deal with his super-villain grandfather at some point. 

But for now, he'll be happy as the Monkey Prince, a new hero.

Very solid ending. I worry that like Kenan Kong, the Prince will be forgotten or pushed so far on the sidelines as to be unimportant. I have really liked this series, the perfect mix of action and fun you would expect with a new teenage hero.

Maybe DC can give us a Monkey Prince and Supergirl special in the summer?

Overall grade: B+


Maxo said...

I'm glad you mentioned Kong Kenan because it sounds like this shares a lot of what I liked about New Super-Man. Like you, I hope this character sticks around!

Anonymous said...

Proof Positive That From the Silver Age to Today, Supergirl Can Successfully Team Up with Anyone and Make Everyone Shine!