Monarchy #10

Posted: Thursday, January 24
By: Bruce Tartaglia
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Writer: Doselle Young
Artists: John McCrea (P/I) and Garry Leach (C)

Publisher: DC/Wildstorm

Issue ten was great.

I am a big fan of the Monarchy as anyone that has read my pieces would know. Don't expect anything less than adamant support for this title, but my hope throughout this review would be to explain WHY I find the title to be so refreshing and worthwhile. This issue aggressively starts tying many threads together as The Monarchy meets the Chimeran threat head on. The pace of this issue is faster than its predecessors and the fate of many characters remains unknown.

The most obvious aspect of this issue is its intensity. The story, the satire, the amount of information provided are all brought to higher levels. In short, the book is more evisercal and a bit less contemplative.

Christine visits the young boy from issue one and explains a desperate bedtime story. One gets the sense that something cataclysmic has happened, and she needs to educate this young man. We then flash back to when the Monarchy, as they are discussing what next to do without King, is attacked by the Chimerans who have brutally destroyed many parts of Kansas. Graphic images of bodies torn apart contrast a more traditional view of a distant city shot of smoking buildings. Instead, we see raw human carnage. Also, the bleed starts to fracture its way into the Crown as The Monarchy and the Chimerans square off. Again, the issue is intense.

The satirical bits are strong. For example, the title is "The Idiot's Guide to the End of the World". This seems to indicate the writer's impatience at needing to spell things out. Nevertheless, spelling things out should make everything much clearer to anyone wondering about any particular plotline. Other satirical bits include the young boy from issue one reading a comic called the "Ass Kickers" with a back advertisement of a penile enlargementment device. This of course is a crack at hyperactive machismo found in some comics. Lastly, as one character in that same comic proceeds to mindlessly pummel his opponent, he makes the suggestive remark, "There's more where that came from" as if to indicate that there are many more mindless brawls than anything else found in comicdom.

The comical bits aside, many of the elements that we have seen in previous issues start to come together. The "puppy" from issue three literally rears his head in a cameo profile. Where the dream engine from issue two has been hidden is revealed. What Agent Morro is up to is explained (to him). The role Maloclm (King's brother) plays starts to be explained. To some extent, the significance of the kid in issue one starts to become evident. Farmer's character arc advances dramatically. Also, the mythic significance of the Chimerans and their heroic opponent Bellorophone is explained. All in all, many, many elements are explained or come together. The pace of the book is dramatic and the payoffs that people have been anticipating start to bear fruit.

My favorite moment of this issue involved the cancerous version of Midnighter saying to Jon Farmer, "I don't think we are in Kansas anymore". This was a very beautiful moment that suggested a great deal. Monarchy has consistently suggested that Kansas is a land of sun gods found "over the rainbow". In other words, Kansas holds its own kind of mythological significance as being a hold out of a certain kind of values, wonder and earthy fortitude. Jon's very name, Jon Farmer, suggests a simple but strong individual, but still, an everyman or perhaps, and everysuperman. He follows in Superman's footsteps in both his look but more significantly, in his style. For the Chimeran to say that she does not think they are in Kansas anymore is to suggest that there is a new order of the day, and Farmer has no place in it.

Simply put, "Farmer, you're old news, out of your league and get out of the way." Given the satirical elements of this title, this suggests a cultural shift and conflict within the comics industry and perhaps the world in general. The simplicity, certainty and morality of other generations were manifested in Superman. The disappointments, frustrations and impatience of modern generations are likewise reflected in the Authority. The Authority "kick ass", but Superman was a hero in great and small ways. This moment in The Monarchy provides a great juxtaposition. I won't say which "side" is right or wrong, though I can guess the author's thoughts, but the moment has a heightened drama as a result.

Another great moment, though less evident includes the young boy. The boy has posters of the Authority in his room. These are the people he looks up to and wants to be like, as seen in issue one. They help define his view and expectations of the world. The young man represents the audience for modern culture. The Monarchy have been trying to heighten his expectations and restore a different and older idea of who is worth looking up to. They might be failing. As such, there is a desperation to them in this issue.

Lastly, Jon Farmer's character arc comes full circle as he finally stops running from things (as we had seen in issue one). With King out of the picture, he knows that he is the next best suited to confront the Chimerans and with his faith regained, he confronts them first. It is a great moment.

There are many themes of this sort found throughout the issue, but these are some of the highlights. Again, I love the title and do highly recommend it. As always, I 'd love to hear what other people think, see me on the message boards.

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