April 24, 2015

reviews by Tania J! "Mono: Pacific" #1 Brian Wood; Sergio Sandoval

It's understandable if you overlooked last year's "Mono: The Old Curiosity Shop" (Sharp and Wolstenholme); it didn't seem to have gotten as much buzz as other independent titles. But trust me: it was special. The juxtoposition of this incredibly strong, hairy human/non-human/superhuman ape born of military experiments with his introspective, gothic narration was just gorgeous to behold; not to mention the fantastic dynamic and cinematic art.
I digress. This latest installation of Mono's story paints him as more of an action film star...a human film star. Yeah he's hairy but he's like, "viking" hairy, not "non-human" hairy. And he doesn't have a tail! (Personal tidbit: non-human apes are some of my favorite creatures; specifically gorillas and chimpanzees; which are the two apes the previous incarnation of Mono looked most like. Except for the long prehensile tail....) Fine, I can deal with a more human-like Mono; the art is still good. The spy thriller story set in the Pacific war theater of the 40's is pretty consistently engaging. There is never a dull moment and we get to see how military ape experiments fare in other armies. I think this was my favorite thing about this book. Mono is faced with these apes who are more like him than any other creature on earth. It's an interesting opportunity to see what that stirs within him. Also, GORILLAS!! Or are they?! Not really. But they look like gorillas and they are so cute and Sandoval does not fail to do these magnificent creatures justice. Whether naked, in kimonos, shooting rifles, screaming in Japanese, mouths agape with incisors gleaming, Sandoval renders these creatures as every bit the regal beings they are. I FREAKIN LOVE APES.
This issue is more of a straight spy story than the gothic monster/traghic hero one of the previous run, but I liked it. Brian Wood and Sergio Sandoval make a great team and I will be picking up the conclusion to this short run.

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