Monkey Prince #2 – Gene Luen Yang, Writer; Bernard Chang, Artist; Sebastian Cheng, Colorist
Ray – 8/10
Ray: The new DC teen hero adventure by the writer of New Super-man and Superman Smashes the Klan continues to be a refreshing change of pace, swapping out any serious issues for a teen superhero adventure with some surreal mythological vibes. Last issue Marcus Sun, the adopted son of two secret mad scientists, started at a new school, dealt with bullies, and became a mythological Monkey warrior with the help of the school janitor, who is actually a talking pig who flies around on clouds. Yeah. It was hilariously strange, and became only more so when Batman and Robin showed up—and accidentally cut Marcus’ head off. The two Gotham heroes seem oddly unperturbed by this, essentially playing a game of keep-away with the talking head as the issue opens. It feels like a PG-rated version of a certain Hill House book.
Some of the plot in this book feels a little over the top and silly, like Penguin being transformed into a giant golden penguin who hungers for souls as the main villain of the first arc. Fortunately, it manages to keep itself grounded with a strong main character. Marcus is likable, if a bit more flawed than many other teen heroes. He feels genuinely intimidated by this legacy, trying to reject it and making some questionable choices. His eccentric mentor has shades of Iroh from Avatar, and continues teaching him even when Marcus rejects him. The tension between Marcus’ parents secret life and the face they put on at home is great, although Marcus’ school life seems a bit of a weak point so far. Too much of it, like the presence of a comically obnoxious bully, feels oddly retro, and Damian (undercover as an oddly short student) seems to be characterized several years out of date. Still, a likable lead and some great visuals are more than enough to keep me engaged.
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.