MonkeyBrain Roundtable Review Round 2

This weekend, Luke, Niel, Arielle and Jon sat down to discuss the second round of MonkeyBrain Books.

Luke: Welcome to Nerdcenaries MonkeyBrain Comics Round 2. On the panel we have Jon, Niel and Arielle. How are you guys doing?

Niel: I’m alright.

Arielle: Hungry.

Jon: 5×5

Wander: Olive Hopkins and the Ninth Kingdom #1 Cover by Grace Allison

L: So let’s start with Wander then by friend of Nerdcenaries, Kevin Church.

N: I really liked that one.

A: Well, there you go.

L: Hahaha

J: It was nice.

A: I think the pacing was a little awkward, but the characters were enough to keep it going.

L: I didn’t have an issue with the pacing personally.

A: I just felt a little flip flopped with the flashbacks. The exposition was probably a small part of that too.

N: It was pretty much everything I wanted out of that Guilded Age thing I reviewed a while back, and I really liked the little glitches that made it more vague what exactly that Ninth Kingdom thing was. Also liked that ad at the end.

L: Yeah. It was a lot funnier, it moved faster and – yeah I agree with you Niel, though Guilded Age moves into some other territory later on.

J: I liked the premise, but the continued complaining about not having coffee may turn me off eventually.

A: A+ with all of Olive’s reactions to everything. I like that they made her a brat.

L: I think it was more realistic complaining than some of the other comics.

N: What was that thing her boss found in her backpack? I kind of thought it was a pen, but it wasn’t really clear.

L: It was a pen.

A: A pen, her boss is a jerk.

N: Yeah, I thought so.

J: That was hilarious. Because it’s real.

A: That was a good scene, it really showed why Olive is the way that she is.

L: I had a boss who did the same thing.

A: That’s actually terrible.

L: Yeah. And then the went out of business!

A: Small wonder.

J: Did everyone have a panel that was wonk?

A: In what way?

J: Patches missing, kind of scrambled

L: Oh yeah, that was on purpose.

N: Oh, the glitched out one, that was one of my favorite parts.

L: Also I really liked the side characters.

N: Yeah, those side characters.

A: I liked the interaction with the lizard guy probably the best.

L: I’d eat his babies. I finally had frog and it was pretty good.

A: I dunno, seems like it’d be scaly.

J: Is Pendant Publishing where Elaine used to work on Seinfeld?

L: It apparently is.

A: Is that where Olive works or something?

L: Nah, it is the company that made the book advertised at the end that is in universe.

A: Well, I totally missed that.

J: I’m wondering how they’re going to go with this. Is it going to be a mystery or is it a finite series?

L: No idea.

A: So far it’s asking some pretty straightforward plot questions, like, where is Olive and what.

L: But it is more enjoyable that the other ones we had to deal with. So on a scale of Aquaman to Batman, where does Wander stand?

A: Wonder Woman?

J: That scale makes no sense.

L: Aztek

A: I wouldn’t compare it to most of the other ones we’re dealing with.


L: Jon, this is like Who’s Line. The points don’t mean a thing.

J: Now they’re points?

Consensus: Martian Manhunter

L: Slowing us down man. Onto Masks and Mobsters!

J: I’m into noir stuff and 40’s superheroes, so this was one of my favorites.

N: I liked it, but didn’t love it all that much. I did like that their hero is so very Golden Age, like I could see him hanging with the Justice Society.

J: The art could be better.

A: Main character was pretty much a jackass though.

N:  Yeah, the art isn’t perfect.

L: I liked the art all right but I am interested in seeing how the anthology aspect works. After reading Zenith I think the black and white in M&M was really clear which I appreciated.

A: I liked the art a lot.

J: Main problem I have, though, is if it was that easy to kill a superhero, how are they a problem?

A: Maybe that guy just really sucked? But it’s a valid point.

L: What happens if you kill a superhero – you get all of the other ones after you. That was always my reasoning for not killing them. Otherwise the Justice League would be dead.

J: But you can just shoot them too.

A: Presumably the other ones are more threatening. And bulletproof.

L: Or it might be just the razzle dazzle of using a bright stick for distractions.

N: I kind of assumed that he was just a guy with some technology, like Ted Knight.

L: Yeah – he reminded me of the Golden Age Starman.

J: It’ll be interesting to see where it goes, but if it’s just an exercise in killing mystery men, I’m dropping it.

L: It is an anthology so I think it will be better than just killing a hero each issue.

A: By anthology, does that mean we won’t see more of the doof main character? I thought he was pretty entertaining. Didn’t quite make the gritty mark, but he was a good idiot.

J: You’re way more optimistic than I am.

L: I am always the optimistic one – unless I am not. So on the scale of A to Z, where does Masks and Mobsters stand for you?

J: M

A: G

N: W

L: 8

Consensus: U

Aesop's Ark #2 Cover
L: And now onto the issue two stuff – Aesop’s Ark!

A: Oh dear.

J: Nope!

N: Eh.

A: I just wish they’d get a letterer.

L: The message was horrible.

A: The message wasn’t even clear!

L: “If someone is a dick, don’t trust or help them!”

A: “If someone is potentially a dick, definitely treat them like a dick”?

N: I actually like the lettering, but yeah, that message. Oof.

L: Superman would have issues.

A: There are actual fables like that.

L: I found it easier to read though.

A: Like the scorpion and the frog, who work together to cross the river, then kill each other because it’s “their nature.”

J: Are they using real fables or just making them up?

A: Or was it a fish… I think they’re drawing from real fables.

L: I still think they are making it up.

A: But they’re rehashes.

J: The scorpion kills the frog.

A: That’s it.

L: Still, they totally castigate the owl for no reason.

J: They both die because he does it before they make it across.

A: I sided with the owl. Those small woodland creatures are dicks.

L: Yeah And if God chose the animals, would he let on dicks?

N: The art was nice, but yeah, all the animals on this boat are dicks. But there were some hints that the owl may have eaten the chickadee’s mate.

A: Yeah, but that was gossip from the dick animals.

N: Good point.

A: They proved themselves untrustworthy with their catty, passive aggressive story.

J: Some of those fables seem to think people can’t make wildly different choices for their own reasons.

L: Aesop’s Ark 3: The Owl Kills Everyone – The Lesson: Don’t Mess With Owls.

A: I would read that.

L: Owl Spinoff.

A: And well, they are fables. Super simplified.

L: Still, this didn’t sit well with me.

A: It muddled its message.

N: Yeah, I gotta agree.

A: It can look as pretty as it wants, but it has one mission statement, FABLES, and it screwed that up.

L: On the scale of Sinister Six from Vulture to Doc Ock, where does this sit for you guys?

J: Cardiac

L: Chameleon.

A: Riddler

N: Vulture, I guess.

Consensus: Mysterio

Amelia Cole #2 Cover

L: And the final one is Amelia Cole #2. I liked this one a bit more but it is still slower than I’d like.

A: Yeah, I hear that.

J: I should’ve picked it up.

A: Also Amelia could stand to talk to herself less, out loud and in thought boxes.
That said, I love how self-righteous she is.

N: Yeah, it was alright, but in a boring kind of way.

L: She doesn’t think things out but I liked the golem.

A: The golem was cute!!

N: Yeah, the golem was cool.

A: I look forward to more golem.

L: The helicopter scene was also well done.
And they had Han Solo in a background panel.

N: I hadn’t noticed that.

A: I like Amelia’s audacity– she wanders into an unfamiliar world and basically tells the law to go fuck itself.

L: I’d paused reading and when I came back I was like – Oh dang, Han Solo.
I had issues with Amelia doing that but I am a very white dude.

A: I thought it was sorta funny.
And it cast her in a new light. More than just vigilante, she’s kind of reckless.
Granted, her aunt(?) just died and she lost everything she ever had.

L: and she is in a different world and is unsure of what to do.
I liked it more than #1 though so it is getting better.

A: With the magic and non-magic people, is anyone else sensing a class difference?

N: Yeah, kind of.

L: I’m not sensing an overly stereotypical one.

N: I’d like to see them go into that more.

A: I think that’s where they’re going.
Types of magic seem important to Amelia’s new world.

L: And Amelia’s amplified magic ability is interesting.

A: She’s trouble, that girl.

L: So on the scale of Chakras, where is Amelia Cole for you?

J: Chakras?

L: Solar Plexus Chakras for me.

J: That one Xena used.

A: I’ll take that one too, I guess

L: Haha.

J: Honestly, the first one didn’t interest me all that much, so I didn’t feel like getting the second.

N: I give it a 4.5 out of 7.

Consensus: Nobody wanted to Wikipedia Chakras.

L: Well, there are more series and out of the three comics I got this week, Aesop and Amelia cost less than the third comic – the quite enjoyable Godzilla: The Half Century War.

N: That one was pretty great.

J: So they really don’t have a set schedule?
It just comes out whenever?

L: As they get done.

A: That’s pretty relaxed.

J: I will lose interest fast.

L: Well then Jon, I guess this roundtable is done.


Luke Herr

Luke is a writer and an aspiring professional comic writer who is also the editor in chief of Nerdcenaries. He currently is working on a graphic novel called Prison Spaceship.