I know who Greg Pak is. Not personally, but I am currently reading his ongoing Batman/Superman series. Today I had the opportunity to read and review his first issue of Code Monkey Save World from MonkeyBrain Comics. For those who may not know, CMSW is based on of the geek culture songs by Jonathan Coulton that have made him an internet success. The great thing about this story is that the songs are not a prerequisite to the comic. So I give you five reasons to buy, read and like Code Monkey Save World.
1. It’s Fun! One of the great things about comic books is that they are eclectic. You can read hero comics, horror comics, action comics, funny comics, and serious comics. The end experience that the audience should take after reading a good story is that they had fun in doing so, and that they want to come back for more. Code Monkey delivers FUN in a huge way. Its mix of action and humor works well. First you have our protagonist, Charles who happens to be a programming simian. We also have Skullcrusher, who apparently is the man behind SCM Industries who Charles is contracted with. This man in red may or may not know how to drive, immediately begins insulting Charles after they meet, and seems to have the resources but not the knowledge needed to rule the world. He tasks Charles with tracking down the Robo Queen who we get a glimpse of (she knocks out Charles), but our would be hero hopes to find Matilde, the object of his affections who was abducted by robots. Not to spoil too much, but this issue is as convivial as it gets!
2. It’s Funny! Not to be confused with fun (which it is), but CMSW is chock full of scenes that cracked me up. From the “Lumberg like boss” Rob that micro manages Charles, to the big bad clueless Skullcrusher and his failed half donkey half monkey Punkey experiment, and the cruel verbal and physical abuse that Charles must deal with, you sympathize with him but can’t help but chuckle. If the next three issues deliver more moments like this, I think it’s fair to expect an ongoing CMSW!
3. The Art is Bananas! Takeshi Miyazawa kills it. Miyazawa who is known for his Manga influenced style has worked for both Marvel and DC. His work can be found in Spider-man Loves Mary Jane, Uncanny X-men, and Robotech: Invasion. Between him and Jessica Kholinne on Colors and Simon Bowland on Letters, this comic is a visual o….well let’s put it this way, if the art was a massage it would be one of those massages with a happy ending.
4. Robots and Zombies! The Writing and the story……it just works. I was worried that I was going to struggle in choosing my words to describe this reading experience, but after completing issue one, it was rather easy. I mean come on, you take a robust writer like Pak and give him something fun to write, and your end product is going to be a success. As mentioned before, the humor in this issue works well with the characters we are following. Add in mysterious corporations and agencies, a zombie infestation(not yet seen), robots abducting humans, likeable characters in Charles and Skullcrusher (yes I do like him despite his cruel behavior), and finally a love interest for Charles in Matilde, and you get Code Monkey Save World, a funny action packed romp that has us rooting for an underdog monkey as he proceeds to try to save Matilde from the slave colonies of Chiron Beta Prime, and help Skullcrusher find the Robo Queen along the way. What more can you ask for?
5. It’s Geek Culture dude! The stories are inspired and based off of Coulton’s geek culture songs and what better medium to capture all that than a comic book One of the first scenes we see is Charles working at his cube at the SCM offices. I have worked in the Info Tech industry for many years now working with several code monkeys myself and am very familiar with the office world environment. Rob the boss hovering over and micro managing Charles was all too familiar. I could not help but think of Bill Lumbergh from Office Space as I read this. The goings on in an office, especially working in IT and dealing with the rest of the departments who don’t know the difference between their monitor and their actual computer is hilarious. I would seriously read a comic book that covered that day-to-day office life. CMSW gives us a tease of this, and adds so much more.
I’ve been collecting comics since I was a kid. Along the way I have collected all types of books, from popular titles such as Spider-Man to indie favorites like Saga. Code Monkey Save World is exactly the type of comic I would pull. I wish there would have been more comics like this when I first started reading them. Maybe there was and I just didn’t look hard enough. Greg Pak and crew have introduced a comic that is both unique and familiar to me, and I couldn’t be more pumped for the next three issues. It is the perfect blend of great story telling, action, and fun! I cannot wait to see where this CMSW universe takes us next! My words here cannot possibly do this story any justice. Go read it!