Just over a week ago Greg Pak was looking for people to take a look at his newest book, Code Monkey Save World, via Twitter. Dumb luck would have it I actually managed to catch that and seeing as the book is based off the songs of Jonathan Coulton, which is fantastic, and written by an author I’ve been following around Marvel for a few years now, I jumped at the opportunity. Life got in the way a bit, but your Major Spoilers review of Code Monkey Save World #1 finally shows up after the jump.
Fun references make for what looks to be an interesting world
Characters become instantly recognizable
Should have read this sooner
CODE MONKEY SAVE WORLD #1
Writer: Greg Pak
Artist: Takeshi Miyazawa
Colorist: Jessica Kholinne
Letterer: Simon Bowland
Cover Artist: Takeshi Miyazawa
Publisher: Pak Man Productions, 10 Print JoCo, Monkeybrain Comics
Based on the songs of Jonathan Coulton, Code Monkey Save World follows coding monkey (both figurative and literal) Charles as he teams up with Skullcrusher to save the world and the woman he loves from the slave camps on Chiron Beta Prime.
I’m going to just get this out of the way first, the book is chock full of references to different JoCo songs even outside the general premise of the book. There are enough references here that I don’t know if I caught them all, from the blatantly obvious, “Code Monkey” and “Skullcrusher Mountain”, to the more subtle, “Re: Your Brains” and “The Future Soon”. Some of the more obvious ones are necessary as they are the premise of the book, but the more the references showed up the better it all became. Now, let’s look at the story itself.
The title character destined to save the world is a literal monkey named Charles with a boring coding job and a crush on the office secretary, exactly like the song. We follow him through a typical morning (again straight from the song, which just works) past his meeting with his manager Rob and through to the point of him offering Soda to the secretary, Matilde. That’s when the story kicks into gear, as she doesn’t straight up dismiss him and a robot proceeds to bust through the wall to take her away. While robot one fails, robot two succeeds and we see a lot of other people taken as well, but not Charles. Charles does see the woman in charge though, thus prompting his boss and supervillain Skullcrusher to take him for the saving of the world, setting off the whole story.
Pak has done a great job of turning the songs of Jonathan Coulton into a realized world. Charles speech patterns were not fully English, but were perfectly understandable and make for a great character quirk. Skullcrusher’s motivations are downright entertaining, and though they get revealed here, I’ll let you see for yourself so as not to ruin the impact. I have to say what I enjoyed most though is Matilde. She’s no damsel in distress and is already showing that she may be capable of freeing herself, though odds would be against that.
HE USED TOO MANY MONKEYS
Miyazawa, I found out moments ago, is another Marvel veteran I’ve enjoyed for a while, having helped Pak in creating Amadeus Cho. Well, he does an even better job here than I’ve seen before. It’s a simple, fairly cartoony style that fits the tone of the book and the music it’s based on. The characters are fairly simple but recognizable and nothing leaps out to bother me. The world itself is meticulously detailed, down to a wall crumbling in the break room right before the robot attack. Serious credit also needs to be given to Kholinne as her colors make the most of each image, providing the proper look for a California sunset, a dank cavern, and the eeriness of Chiron Beta Prime.
BOTTOM LINE: Should got last week
I have only one disappointment with this series so far, that it took me far longer to read than it should have. Pak is utilizing Coulton’s music to great effect, creating a ridiculous but believable world and setting what promises to be a fun story there. Code Monkey Save World #1 easily earns itself a perfect 5 of 5 stars in my book and I suggest you all hit Comixology to pick it up immediately.