REVIEW: 'Monarch' #2 by Rodney Barnes, Alex Lins, and Luis NCT



Writer: Rodney Barnes
Artist: Alex Lins, Luis NCT, Mar Silvestre Galotto
Letters: Marshall Dillon
Publisher: Image Comics
Release Date: March 15, 2023
Cover Price: $3.99

It's Earth vs. Aliens-with one teenage boy standing between them-in this tale of terror and high-stakes science fiction! From RODNEY BARNES, the star comics writer behind the Eisner-nominated series KILLADELPHIA and the writer/executive producer of HBO's Winning Time, and up-and-coming Marvel artist ALEX LINS comes a new tale of love, triumph, disaster, and defeat!

Young Travon has ventured beyond the makeshift shelter of his high school's walls in a desperate search for food and rations for the surviving students-but no heroic act goes unpunished. Travon finds himself captured and at the mercy of these strange beings from another world, but what do they want with him? Why are they attacking Earth? And will he ever see his beloved Daysha again, or is he as doomed as the rest of the world?


★★★★1/2 (4.5/5)

The follow-up to the exciting debut of 'Monarch' by Rodney Barnes, Alex Lins, and Luis NCT offers a  clever twist that subverts the details of the first issue and changes the way we look at Travon. I initially described the series as 'Boyz n the Hood' meets 'War of the Worlds' but it's proven to be deeper than that with more going on than readers were privy to in the first issue. It's always great reading stories that find ways to surprise readers and issue two does exactly that. 

Barnes continues to impress by showing his versatility in storytelling. As adept as he is with the supernatural thriller, "Killadelphia," he brings that same energy with this smartly written sci-fi story that is thoroughly compelling and infinitely intriguing. Readers are kept off-kilter by the alternating time jumps pre- and post-invasion. There are new wrinkles to the relationship between Miss Willamae and Travon that are explored while also providing coverage of the devastating effects of the invasion. Barnes is basically peeling back a layer of the overall plot with precision offering new insight while posing new questions. The story ever evolving just drawing the reader in and hooking them for good. 

Alex Lins and Luis NCT continue to excel with art that is emotive, beautifully composed, and even surreal at times. The versatility of the creative team shines as Lins' designs and composition have to manifest in totally different situations. From tender familial moments to destructive images of warfare to the clinical interiors of an alien spaceship, there isn't anything Lins can't do and NCT keeps it all grounded and realistic with darker hues that give everything warmth, depth, and balance. You couldn't ask more of an art team. 

'Monarch' is an exciting sci-fi series that is evolving with surprises and rich storytelling that represents comics at its best. In two issues, 'Monarch' has established itself as a transcendent piece of science fiction that bridges classic alien invasion tropes with modern insight and commentary. This is a must-buy.