Tuesday, June 7, 2022

Monkey Prince #5 Review

Better Art, Same Story

Written by: Gene Luen Yang
Art by: Bernard Chang
Colors by: Marcelo Maiolo
Letters by: Janice Chiang
Cover art by: Bernard Chang, Sebastian Cheng
Cover price: $3.99
Release date: June 7, 2022

Monkey Prince #5 brings the Shugel-Shen family to Amnesty Bay where Marcus is forced to fit into a new school (again), his parents are asked to unlock an ancient artifact by another DC villain (again), and Marcus is accosted by a supernatural force (again).

Was It Good?

Monkey Prince #5 has the formidable task of following up an uneven first arc that ended too quickly with a new arc to get the titular character on solid footing. Luen Yang evens out the pace to get rid of the rushed feeling from the first issue, but the entire setup feels like a replay of issue #1.

The issue's highlights are the art by Chang, Maiolo, and Chiang and the action moments when Marcus encounters an evil force. Chang creates a selection of monsters with ties to the Trench that have a sufficiently horrific sea monster feel. Toothy maws and spiny claws are in full effect, and these designs rank up top with the best (worst?) sea monster movies of the 70s and 80s. Top marks go to Maiolo for fantastic coloring that looks better than anything presented in the series.

Listen to us talk about Monkey Prince & more on Ep 429 of our DC Comics Podcast

Another positive in this issue is the improvement in Luen Yang's pacing. This issue appears to have toned down the rapid-fire sequence of events as readers are forced to keep up with the Monkey Prince running here, there, and everywhere with no time to let the scenes breathe and take on weight.

The premise, however, is the issue's main down point because it reads too much like a repeat of the first arc. Marcus and his family move into a new town where his Scientist-Henchmen-for-Hire parents take up a contract with a familiar DC villain. Their efforts involve unleashing an ancient demon of unknown origin but tied to Asian culture. Meanwhile, Marcus struggles to fit in at a new school when the supernatural catches up with him.

Sound familiar? It sounds familiar because it's an almost identical plot to the first arc, but swap out Gotham City for Amnesty Bay and Penguin for Black Manta. Changing locations and villains wouldn't be a problem f there was some significant change to Marcus's life story that made the repeat feel like it's accomplishing some worthwhile progress. So far, however, it reads like the same story with a new coat of paint. 

About The Reviewer: Gabriel Hernandez is the Publisher & EIC of ComicalOpinions.com, a comics review site dedicated to indie, small, and mid-sized publishers.  Follow ComicalOpinions on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter

Bits and Pieces:

Monkey Prince #5 moves Marcus and his family to a new town for a new arc in the Monkey Prince's early days. The art is great with improved coloring, and the pacing is more palatable, but the story feels like a replay of the first arc without much reason for it.


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