Monarch #2 Review

Writer: Rodney Barnes

Artist: Alex Lins

Colorists: Luis Nct & Mar Silvestre Galotto

Letterer: Marshall Dillon

Cover Artists: Alex Lins; Chris Visions

Publisher: Image

Price: 3.99

Release Date: March 15, 2023

While Travon and Miss Wilamae sit in the backyard of their Compton, California home, little Marli studies the night sky with a telescope. The two watch her as they sip their hot drinks, and Travon raises the possibility that others live on one of the planets orbiting one of those bright lights. Wait a minute! Didn’t one of the alien spaceships capture Travon in the last issue? What’s going on here? Let’s dive into Monarch #2 and find out!

If you’re interested in this comic, series, related trades, or any of the others mentioned, then simply click on the title/link to snag a copy through Amazon as you read the Monarch #2 Review.


Travon lies on an operating table. Ameoba-like tech crawls over his skin. Hovering surgical machines attend to him. He remembers a night three years ago when his former guardian, Miss Wilamae, told him about seeing an alien spaceship. She saw it plant something in the ground. Witnessing something so unique made her feel special, even privileged. Now she, and his adopted sister Marli, are likely dead.

The machines covering him show him how humanity’s militaries throw their might against the invading spaceships. We share Travon’s sadness over losing his family, friends, and the only home he ever knew. The only mystery in Monarch #2 is why he cares so much for others.


Alex Lins drew with his heart in the first issue. He helped us share Travon’s life and feel his love for his family and friends. He imbues Monarch #2 with a cold, mechanical sense of the invaders. While some of these automated machines operate on the boy, others kill humanity’s defenders. The walking giants that travel our planet shoot lasers that incinerate soldiers and tanks like in producer George Pal’s War of the Worlds classic. The fighter jets that scream toward the alien mothership and battle the flying saucers remind us of Independence Day‘s climactic battle. Yet he lovingly shows how a seed planted by the U.F.O. sprouts and grows. If only the 2005 War Of The Worlds remake had proved as sensitive!

Luis Nct, assisted by Mar Silvestre Galotto, colors his characters warmly. While Alex Lins tends to ink in shadows, Luis highlights and shades faces, clothing, and everything surrounding our characters. He paints in pastels, yet his panels avoid looking too bright. He paints night scenes without graying his colors. His blues and purples night skies contrast with the luminous U.F.O.’s. Half of the reason his battle scenes prove so electrifying—and reminiscent of film classics like the 1953 War of the Worlds and The Day The Earth Stood Still are due to him. He makes the operating theater scene look clinically cold—and yet also warm—at the same time.

Big block letters tell us when flashbacks occur. Narrative boxes filled with background colors relate to Miss Wilamae’s experience and Trevon’s technology-boosted awareness of current events. Black dialogue boxes contrast with white balloons when the machines speak to Trevon. Rodney Barnes may give us plenty to read in Monarch #2, but Marshall Dillion’s uppercase letters are easy on the eyes.

Final Thoughts

This issue builds on a familiar premise to enhance our understanding of Barnes’ vision. New ideas reveal how he takes simple plot devices—from movies like Invasion of the Body Snatchers and Invaders From Mars—to craft a rich and sensitive story. A continuing plot thread following Trevon’s friends suggests the story will continue to grow and evolve. Oozing with warmth and ideas, Monarch #2 is a love letter to classic B-movie sci-fi. While proving a unique story, it remains grounded in caring for others and the realities of inner-city life. That, to me, seems a triumph indeed.


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