As readers flock to the newsstands and snatch up the latest paper comics, Monkeybrain continues to churn out some high-quality, fun digital comics each and every week: comics, like “Prime-8s” #2 from the writing tandem of Michael Moreci and Steve Seeley, with art from Kyle Latino, colors by Jordan Gibson and lettering from Ryan Ferrier. Dialing in on a world with super-powered anthropomorphic characters, “Prime-8s” features a collection of eight super-powered simians: Ba-Boom, Monkey Lee and Monkey Lou, Howler, Power Mandrill, Chimp Chan Z, Fourilla and Apex.
These apes and monkeys are fairly well identified by their codenames and over the course of the previous issue and this issue; Moreci and Seeley have done a solid job of defining most of the personalities. Power sets have not been strictly described, but some of the characters, like Howler and Fourilla have pretty obvious assets to lend to their battles in the name of justice. “Prime-8s” #2 is relatively low-key as far as action goes, but the writing duo use this space to investigate the history of the team, establish the mindset for Power Mandrill and define the mission of the team’s most menacing foe.
Kyle Latino’s art, with Jordan Gibson providing colors, ranges from journeyman to mind-blowing. I’m not sure how much of the sequence, including the triggering event, of the Prime-8s receiving their intelligence and powers rests with Latino or Gibson, but that sequence is easily worth every one of the ninety-nine pennies required to purchase “Prime-8s” #1. Before and after that sequence, Latino packs the story with details, from the points of articulation on Power Mandrill’s action figure collection to the expressions these animals use to the scaled trunks (like those once worn by a certain boy wonder) of Puggilist, sidekick of Greatest Dane. The highest praise I can dispense on Latino’s art is that, despite the anthropomorphism, his mandrill looks like a mandrill, Fourilla looks like a gorilla and Dr. O looks like an orangutan.
The problem with Monkeybrain Comics, generally speaking, is that they fly under the radar. Had I known this book was coming out; I would have been looking for it, instead of tripping across it. The upside to Monkeybrain, however, is that once I tripped across this comic, it was a minimal investment to sample the adventure. As a product of “Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew,” I am familiar with, and truly appreciate, anthropomorphic comic book action. The puns intended and included in “Prime-8s” #2 don’t detract from the story as Moreci, Seeley, Latino and crew continue to build a world around the titular anthropoidal octet. How much of that world is peopled with anthropomorphs and how those other critter characters received their powers remains to be seen, but “Prime-8s” #2 does a fine job focusing on action and development as opposed to allowing minds to wander unchecked.