Issues 1-3 Writer Gene Luen Yang Artist Bernard Chang Publisher DC Comics
DC’S occasional habit of making blatant plays for the Chinese audience is in evidence again with its latest miniseries, an oddball escapade in which mythological characters cross paths with DC superheroes.
The centuries-old Chinese fantasy epic Journey To The West has been adapted countless times, and here it’s used as the springboard for the adventures of Marcus, a nervous, bullied Gotham teenager who suddenly discovers he’s the son of the legendary Monkey King and heir to his anarchic abilities.
Soon, he’s renaming himself the Monkey Prince, facing off against his bullies and accidentally battling Batman, while also confronting a demon-possessed Penguin in an all-ages adventure that does its best to keep the pace high and the gags numerous.
There’s an infectious level of energy and enthusiasm in the first three issues, although the storytelling is very routine once you look past the mythic weirdness. However, the comic’s bright, upbeat approach is enhanced by Bernard Chang’s art, which pulls off a bunch of striking layouts and serves to keep the comic’s tone whimsical and cartoony at all times.
The blend of superhero action and lurid Chinese fantasy is sometimes a little awkward, but otherwise this is a daft and likeable romp that should go down well with younger fans.