Thursday, March 16, 2023

Comics Review: Betcha By Golly, Wow: "MONARCH #2" Feels Like Its Building a Classic


STORY: Rodney Barnes
ART: Alex Lins
COLORS: Luis Nct with Mar Silvestre Galotto
LETTERS: Marshall Dillon
EDITOR: Greg Tumbarello
COVER: Alex Lins with Luis Nct
28pp, Colors, 3.99 U.S. (March 2023)

Rated “T/ Teen”

“Stranger from Above” Part II: “Home Sweet Home”

Monarch is a new young adult science fiction graphic novel from writer Rodney Barnes.  It is being serialized as a comic book series by Image Comics.  The rest of Monarch's creative team includes artist Alex Lins, colorist Luis Nct; and letterer Marshall Dillon.  The series focuses on Travon, a boy from Compton, CA who leads the resistance to an alien invasion.

Monarch #2 (“Home Sweet Home”) opens in Compton, and like everywhere else, it is under attack by strange beings from another world.  Travon finds himself captured and at the mercy of these strange beings, but what do they want with him?  Why are they attacking Earth?  Will he ever see his beloved Daysha again, or is he as doomed as the rest of the world?

Or will the answers to some of these questions blow Travon's mind?

THE LOWDOWN:  I think that Rodney Barnes has previously stated that the science fiction alien invasion films, Independence Day (1996) and Attack the Block (2011), are influences in the creation of Monarch.  The two films are vastly different, but both remain popular long after their respective theatrical releases.

I would say that Monarch is more like Attack the Block, a film that is full of surprises.  Monarch certainly is a box of surprises, as this second issue reveals.  This chapter, “Home Sweet Home,” is about embracing the mystery, and the best science fiction isn't just about technology and strange scenarios.  It is also about exploration and discovery and a sense of mystery to go with a sense of wonder.

Artist Alex Lins perfectly captures the real qualities of Miss Wilamae's fairy-like tale and the surreal qualities of Travon's haunting new reality.  Lins' graphical storytelling soars with imagination, as it must for a narrative that seems like one determined to break walls.  Luis Nct's color and Marshall Dillon's letters make Monarch feel like an old-fashioned rollicking adventure comic book full of strange beings and stranger things.

Monarch #2 is also heartfelt.  Barnes really takes time to consider the struggles of young minds with difficult matters, unbelievable truths, and harsh realities.  I can't wait to read more, and I want you to read it now, dear readers.

I READS YOU RECOMMENDS:  Fans of YA science fiction and of alien invasions will want to read Monarch.


Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"

The text is copyright © 2023 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog or site for reprint and syndication rights and fees.


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