Monarchy #4

Posted: Friday, June 15
By: Brandon Thomas
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Writer: Doselle Young
Artists: John McCrea (p), Garry Leach (I)

Publisher: DC Comics/Wildstorm

Jackson King pays a visit to his former boss, who is currently residing in a hospital trapped in a deep coma, an incident which King is indirectly responsible for. Meanwhile, Professor Q and Christine Trelane are in Texas facing down the terrible Fevermen and attempting to bestow upon Addie Vochs an incredible gift. In the heart of the Midwest, the Monarchy’s two most enigmatic figures, Jon Farmer and Union, are participating in a little male bonding and discussing the intricacies of parallel universes.

King, using his psychokinetic powers, shows his former superior Hoshino the face of the planet and dictates to him the fallacies in post-human behavior, and alludes to what his Monarchy will do to stop it. There is also an important revelation dropped regarding the Bleed, which is the string of parallel universes stretching into infinity. Potentials are realized and secrets laid bare.

This book was sold as a spin-off to the Authority, but that’s not entirely accurate. Some of the characters and underlying concepts are present, but to truly appreciate The Monarchy, one must forget the PR line. If one expects this title to carry the same attitude and bravado that’s contained in the pages of the Authority, they’re sorely mistaken. That doesn’t mean it isn’t entertaining in its own right of course.

That other book is about widescreen pyrotechnics while Monarchy is more subtle in its approach, thereby causing things to appear quite more insidious. Jackson King is a man unafraid to bend the rules for the greater good, and that serves to cast a slight shadow on the works of his associates, but that’s the point. The Monarchy holds more in common with a secret government agency than a band of “super-heroes” running around the world in colorful tights.

Their missions are darker and consequently, more disturbing and potentially more dangerous than the latest intergalactic threat on the block, and this forces King’s charges to employ different methods to get the job done. As the initial promos suggest, the Authority is the sledgehammer and the Monarchy is the scalpel. Only time will tell which approach is more effective. When these two organizations eventually clash, the results should prove quite interesting.

Another aspect setting this book apart from traditional super-hero fare is the creators’ unwillingness to lay all of the answers at the readers’ feet. Everything isn’t spelled out for you, making the endings slightly more ambiguous, and while this may serve to confuse readers, it’s balanced by Doselle’s ability to hook you with a story so strange, so intriguing, so dangerous, that you have to come back for more next month. It’s like the X-Files in that regard, they give you just enough to keep you hooked, but not enough to allow you to proclaim that you’ve seen everything.

Final Word:
After a thoroughly confusing introductory issue, Doselle has responded back with three solid issues, definitely worth your hard-earned comic dollar. The only question is will the traditional comic reader find this book worth their time and patience, considering that it’s something that will apparently take several months to properly develop.

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