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Monkey Prince #12 cover: Monkey Prince sitting on a rock while his cast looks on
DC Comics

Comic Books

‘Monkey Prince’ #12 is a thrilling issue, but not an ending

The true beginning of Monkey Prince’s ascent in DC Comics.

While Monkey Prince may have been temporarily thrown off by its inclusion in the Lazarus Planet event, writer Gene Luen Yang and artist Bernard Chang have brought a noteworthy end to the beginning of Monkey Prince’s story.

Though it was far from a self-contained story, Monkey Prince #12 easily wraps up some of its arcs and brings Marcus’ story full circle. Of course, there are still many elements that will need to be explored in future issues, and much of Monkey Prince’s story still remains to be mined in future appearances.

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SPOILERS AHEAD for Monkey Prince #12!

After the events of Lazarus PlanetMonkey Prince #12 sees the monstrous King Fire Bull freed from captivity. With Metropolis still recovering from the Lazarus Storm, Monkey Prince and Supergirl are working together to repair the city. To Monkey Prince’s chagrin, they are approached by Shellestriah, the daughter of the Trench King, who seeks training from Shifu Pigsy.

Post-Lazarus Planet, Shifu Pigsy eats from a hot dog cart while Supergirl and Monkey Prince fix Metropolis

DC Comics

Unfortunately for Shellestriah, Monkey Prince’s suspicions are piqued when they are attacked by King Fire Bull’s skeleton demons. Thanks to his previous lessons from his father, Monkey Prince manages to make perfect replicas of himself to fight off the demons. While they manage to make a difference in the fight, Monkey Prince’s confidence is dashed after King Fire Bull reveals his origins.

Instead of being the son of Sun Wukong, Monkey Prince #12 reveals that Marcus Sun is instead a hair clone that refused to return to his previous form. Afraid of being nothing more than a strand of hair, Monkey Prince is again overcome by fear and can no longer remember which of his clones is the real Marcus Sun.

While Monkey Prince panics, Supergirl is captured, and King Fire Bull intends to consume her flesh and qi. After a long talk with Shifu Pigsy, Monkey Prince manages to come to terms with his existence, identifies his true self, and returns to his quest to free his friend.

With Shellestriah’s help, Pigsy and Monkey Prince manage to find Supergirl as she wards off King Fire Bull. After a short fight, they manage to return him to the gem, while new threats look on. Supergirl, Shellestriah, and Monkey Prince celebrate their newfound friendships, before going their separate ways.

Toothy Girl talks to Shifu Pigsy about becoming his student

DC Comics

Back home, Marcus sits down for dinner with his grandfather, the Ultra-Humanite. While facing down veiled threats from the villain, Marcus is informed that his family will be moving cities once again, meaning that their family won’t be able to settle down anytime soon.

While attempting to serve as a conclusion to the Monkey Prince limited series, Monkey Prince #12 hardly feels like an ending until its final moments — something only buoyed by the issue noting that it is only the beginning of his story. Still, it is somewhat disappointing to see Monkey Prince still imprisoned by his fears in the last pages, considering everything he has already been through.

The lack of any notable resolution of the nanobot plotline from issue #11 also feels like a missed opportunity. Marcus barely considers his nanobot infection in Monkey Prince #12, despite it being the hard-hitting cliffhanger of the last issue.

The art and coloring of Monkey Prince continue to set the story apart. The bright colors dim during Monkey Prince’s crisis of confidence, creating a dreary atmosphere that only makes Supergirl’s plight more nerve-wracking. There is an extraordinary spread during the final fight with King Fire Bull that perfectly complements Monkey Prince’s story, as he comes to terms with his identity.

Monkey Prince, Supergirl, and Toothy Girl face off against skeleton demons

DC Comics

Yang’s writing also manages to retain its humor even through the darkest parts of the issue. Yet, even in spite of the light-hearted tone, the humor still never takes away from the message of the story. The balance between fights, laughter, and the story’s themes of family, identity, and pushing past fear helps to elevate Monkey Prince #12 to another level.

It isn’t difficult to see where Monkey Prince can go from here, though it will be interesting to see which book picks up his story now that Monkey Prince has come to an end. That, in itself, may be the biggest flaw in the story. With so many open opportunities for future exploration, Monkey Prince #12 doesn’t provide a conclusion for a character who may not enjoy another solo run.

Considering how much of Monkey Prince’s story came full circle to Monkey Prince #1, it simply fails to provide a proper resolution to his origin story, while leaving too much open to future interpretation. It remains to be seen if Monkey Prince will appear again, and how he does will likely play a significant role in determining how Monkey Prince‘s run will be viewed in the future.

Monkey Prince #12 cover: Monkey Prince sitting on a rock while his cast looks on
‘Monkey Prince’ #12 is a thrilling issue, but not an ending
Monkey Prince #12
An excellent issue that helps wrap up the Lazarus Planet story arc, while also helping Monkey Prince come to terms with his identity. Unfortunately, with so many open opportunities for future exploration, Monkey Prince #12 doesn't provide a conclusion for a character who may not enjoy another solo run.
Reader Rating1 Votes
8.9
Incredible art and coloring
Retains an excellent sense of humor
Interesting themes and fun storytelling
Hardly serves as much of a conclusion for the series
8
Good

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