Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Monkey Prince #4 Review

Technically, It Gets The Job Done

Written by: Gene Luen Yang 
Art by: Bernard Chang 
Colors by: Chris Sotomayor
Letters by: Wes Abbott
Cover art by: Bernard Chang 
Cover price: $3.99
Release date: May 4, 2022
Monkey Prince #4 pits Monkey Prince against Penguin as Marcus's parents' lives hang in the balance. Meanwhile, Monkey Prince is offered a deal he can't refuse.

Was It Good?
Well, okay. Monkey Prince #4 isn't the end of the series, but it could adequately be described as the end of the current arc. Marcus, aka Monkey Prince, establishes a tentative truce with Robin to find Marcus's kidnapped parents, held hostage by an overpowered Penguin whose been possessed by a demon. The teen duo tracks Uber-Penguin down, captures and de-possess Penguin, and rescues Marcus's parents.

It all wraps up in a nice, neat bow, with Marcus finding some confidence in his new life. Unfortunately, the positive of this issue is also a negative. Yang wraps up the story too neatly, too quickly, and with just enough threads tied up to feel complete but enough left open to resonate with annoying convenience. In other words, the issue rushed to get to a simplified ending that's complete without being fully satisfying.

You may wonder why getting to the end is a big deal without sweating the small stuff. It's a big deal because it lessens the characters, and when DC is going through the trouble of building up a new character, the last thing you want is to reduce their journey. But, if you do, the result is what you have here - a quickly becoming forgettable character.

Let's take an example. Penguin holds Marcus's parents hostage. Batman makes it clear the hostages are not to be released during the rescue because they're likely part of Penguin's gang. Marcus not only can't believe it, but he also doesn't think to question his parents or wonder why his parents are associated with Penguin in any way. In short, Marcus is an idiot.

Rather than letting Marcus experience the conflict of his parent's criminality, Yang ignores the situation, packs their bags, and sends the family off to the following location (Amnesty Bay for a potential Aquaman team-up). Again, there's an opportunity for drama and emotional hurt to force Marcus into the hero he could be, but Yang rushes past it to move on to the next thing. So again, it's complete but unsatisfying... and certainly not memorable.

Chang's art is excellent in this issue. The story may be forgettable but Chang's designs are not. The linework is clean, the facial expressions are mostly good, and the action is entertaining. Sotomayor's coloring is good, and Abbott's lettering is excellent.

Bits and Pieces:
Monkey Prince #4 concludes this first leg of the arc to build confidence in the main character and set his family on a new path. Again, the writing is complete but too rushed and too convenient to be satisfying. The art, however, is excellent overall.


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