This thread is for discussion of one of DC newest superheroes - The Monkey Prince. We’re going to talk about each issue as it comes out, his villains, his sidekicks, his adventures and the people who write and draw the issues as well. I hope this becomes the ongoing home for Monkey Prince discussion here on the DC Community forums.
If you’re reading this but are unsure who the Monkey Price is here are links to get you caught up and familiar with him:
Writer - Gene Luen Yang
Pencils/Inks - Bernard Chang
Main cover of Issue #1:
Obviously I am a big fan of this character and am excited to talk about him more with all of you. I hope you check out this character if you haven’t already and that you join me below for discussions of each issue and guesses on where he’ll go from here.
Thank you to DC for giving this character a chance, to Gene Luen Yang and Bernard Chang for creating it and bringing it to life and to DC again for having this community where I can come to share my love of all things Monkey Prince with other DC fans.
Let’s start at the beginning and the 12-page story that Monkey Prince had in DC Festival of Heroes: The Asian Superhero Celebration #1 (Phew! That’s a mouthful!). Spoilers will be blurred because that option exists for a reason and I don’t want to ruin the surprise for anyone if I can avoid it.
Our heroes story begins on page 82 of the 103 page anthology and starts with another young superhero in the DC universe - Shazam! who has been captured by Dr. Sivana. Or has he? Turns out it’s not Shazam! at all but rather the Monkey Prince who has shape-shifting abilities!
In these 12 pages we learn:
- Monkey Prince can shapeshift
- Monkey Prince has a legendary staff named Jingu Bang that he can use to deflect projectiles, including ray guns
- Monkey Prince is cocky and arrogant on a level not seen since Guy Gardner
- Monkey Prince has a sidekick named Shifu Pigsy
- Monkey Price has a father that raised him and, apparently, another father of ancient origins known as the Monkey King
- Monkey Prince, as the title suggests, does not like superheroes
- Monkey Prince changes back into human form when his fear overcomes him
- Shifu Pigsy can discipline Monkey Prince with a chant that tightens the band around his head
- Monkey Prince is actually named Marcus Sun, his parents are the henchman and henchwoman for Dr. Sivana AND his best friend in high school is Billy Batson…who he does not know is actually Shazam!
I love how fun this story was. It had action, humor, twists, reveals and was an absolute blast to read while being gorgeous to look at. The artwork that Bernard Chang did made every character come to life and the colors were so vibrant and bright. The writing was absolutely fantastic. Gene Luen Yang incorporated characters we’re already familiar with in a very unique and creative way, he established who Monkey Prince is enough that we are intrigued, he gave Monkey Price a personality, he gave us reveals that were surprising and he made you want to learn more. To do all that in 12 pages is really impressive.
I’m not usually one who notices artwork unless I don’t like it but the work by Bernard Chang really does catch the eye. The colors are what get me. So much of DC is Batman/Gotham based these days and that’s a dark palette so seeing something like this that is so vibrant and so colorful really pops and gets your attention. Reading it panel-by-panel here on DCUI allows you to see all the details that Chang included and you can tell he took his time on this book.
Yang brings humor to this story as well. I actually laughed out loud when Dr. Sivana tells Shazam! “Unhand me!” and then when Shazam! lets him go because he has been attacked by a demon that Sivana can’t see Sivana follows it up in the next panel with, “I can’t believe he actually unhanded me!” That’s both a throwback to something the villain would say in the Golden Age of comics and a great line for today’s audience. I loved that.
This was a great debut story for a new character and it made me want more. I was so pleased when Candice Patton announced in DC FanDome 2021 that Monkey Prince was going to return with his own series in 2022. She also announced that Issue #0 of that series was already posted to DCUI which brings us to…
…Monkey Prince #0 which was posted to DCUI during DC FanDome 2021 in what was one of my favorite parts of the entire day. It was, to my knowledge, the only part of DC FanDome that was specifically for DC Universe Infinite and it gave us a new story from one of the newest characters in the universe!
This is even shorter than the 12 page introduction story from DC Festival of Heroes: The Asian Superhero Celebration #1 as this story is only 10 pages long. But, as was the case the first time, Yang and Chang don’t waste a panel and pack this story with goodies, backstory and more.
Again we are thrown right into action as we see Monkey Prince , again as a shape-shifter, destroying a nest of parademons in Philadelphia. Once that’s done we get the backstory and in issue #0 we learn:
- Long ago Shifu Pigsy and Monkey King, who may or may not be Monkey Prince’s father, fought against Darkseid, Granny Goodness, Steppenwolf, Big Barda and more to protect the Heavenly Realm.
- Shifu Pigsy is a reformed demon!
- Monkey King is the ruler of Flower-Fruit Mountain
- Monkey King can turn strands of his hair into clones of himself!
- Monkey King defeats Darkseid but Darkseid vows revenge and kills off allies of Monkey King leaving their son, Red Boy, orphaned
- Monkey Prince asks Shifu-Pigsy what became of Red Boy and Pigsy just replies, “May you never find out, my dear Monkey Prince.”
Once again Yang has written a story that gives characters depth, involves characters we’re already very familiar with, reveals a lot of surprises, teases to things to come and leaves you on a cliffhanger of sorts. It’s pretty obvious that Monkey Prince is going to fight a legendary villain at some point, it’s pretty obvious that the perceived sins of his father(?) are going to haunt him at some point but we don’t know how just yet.
The artwork for this one wasn’t as strong from Chang and I wonder if he had the time he wanted to finish it. This may have been rushed to DCUI in time for DC FanDome but even though it wasn’t the caliber we saw in the Festival of Asian Superheroes it’s still got the vibrant colors and fun feel to it. I like a comic book that looks like a comic book, if that makes sense, and this does that well.
This did it’s job, though. It gave us more Monkey Prince content, gave us more information on who he is and where he came from, gave more depth to Shifu Pigsy (what a fun character he is already) and it teased us for what’s to come in 2022 which brings us to…
…Monkey Prince #1. This was a surprise addition to DCUI on the same day it was released in comic shops - yet another perk of being a subscriber here at DC Universe Infinite!
‘Enter the Monkey’ is the name of the story and first of all let me say how much I love that the credits in the book include the names in Chinese. That’s a part of this that I haven’t touched on yet but in the Festival of Asian Superheroes book the Monkey Prince said something in Chinese that they didn’t translate for us. They just put it in there and if you can read Chinese then you know what it said but if not, figure out another way. It’s a great Easter Egg for Chinese people and culture and I love that they’re including that in these books and in this character.
In Issue #1 we learn…
- Monkey Prince/Marcus Sun and his parents are in Gotham and this happens before the events of Festival of Asian Superheroes so he does not yet know of his powers nor is he best friends with Billy Batson
- His parents are once again henchman and henchwoman (see Festival of Asian Superheroes for why I phrased it that way) for a villain - this time the Penguin!
- This is a true origin story for more than just Marcus Sun/Monkey Prince as we meet Mr. Zhu, the high school janitor who is also Shigfu Pigsy
- Why fear plays such a big part of the character (referenced in Festival of Asian Superheroes)
- Monkey King is, in fact, Monkey Prince’s real father
- Damian Wayne is an absolute bully in high school - what a shock, eh?
- Michael Jordan exists in the DC Universe!
This is a true origin story and once again Yang knocks it out of the park. The humor, the depth to the story and the density to the dialogue is fantastic. He doesn’t waste a panel and there are so many things to learn and enjoy in this book. This is the third story for Monkey Prince and again we get numerous DC icons included in the story as characters in a unique and fun way. The ending page/panel is one of the biggest cliffhangers/surprises I’ve ever seen in a comic book!
The art is back on point in this one and boy does this book look good. Chang’s attention to detail is fantastic and its as much fun to look at as it is to read. I appreciate the consistency for each character as well. They look the same in each panel, page and issue so far and it’s a nice touch.
I can’t wait to see where this goes from here, how this gets resolved and which DC icon shows up next. I love the way the DC icons have all reacted to Monkey Prince so far and I appreciate getting to see how it all began for DC’s newest superhero.
Looking forward to hearing what y’all think of Monkey Prince so far and what you think is in store for us as this limited series continues.