Written by: Brandon Barzola
Issue number three of DC’s latest limited series, Monkey Prince, hit store shelves on April 5, and with it comes the growing pains of becoming a superhero. Monkey Prince #3 sees our hero, Marcus Sun, coming into his own as the Money Prince.
Spoilers ahead as we go through a quick rundown of this issue: Shifu Pigsy continues to teach Monkey Prince discipline by tightening the magic circlet around his head, and Monkey Prince finally receives a mask to conceal his identity in case he ever reverts back to his human form before he means to. Marcus, now concealing his identity behind a mask, daydreams about his classmate Kaya after rescuing her brother, who is Marcus’ school bully. Monkey Prince has another encounter with Robin, or Damian Wayne, and the two — despite scrapping it out — bond for a moment. As Shifu Pigsy and the Monkey Prince realize that the demon spirits infesting the city are aiming to eat specific superheroes for their powers, the possessed Golden Horn Penguin takes Marcus’ adoptive parents hostage (they’re normally freelance henchpeople for supervillains) and challenges Batman to face him or they’ll die.
We can now see that Robin and Monkey Prince — despite initially being enemies — appear to have more in common than they may realize: both are teenage superheroes with strict mentors that scrutinize their every mistake. Both of them are a bit impulsive with their actions; however, Robin is much more skilled and serious in nature, while Monkey Prince is inexperienced and jovial. The two characters are perfect foils for one another, making their interactions a comical back-and-forth of who can best the other first. Since Monkey Prince’s emotional trauma is rooted in a childhood experience with Batman, I wonder if a budding friendship with Robin could help him work through those issues.
So far, Monkey Prince is a fun, new story, and a welcome addition to DC’s catalog of heroes. Marcus’ awkward dorkiness combined with his crush on his classmate Kaya is reminiscent of Peter Parker/Spider-Man’s high school experience that many are familiar with. Not only this, but it’s nice to see more Asian representation in superhero comics, especially when it’s done so well.
Gene Luen Yang’s story continues to feel fresh, while Bernard Chang’s paneling keeps the action flowing smoothly. Sebastian Cheng’s bright colors help each scene pop on the page, and Janice Chiang’s lettering intertwines the words seamlessly with the images on the page. With this crew at the helm, the rest of this limited series is definitely in good hands.